CD Review: To This Point
If you detect a particularly unassuming quality to Dallas singer-songwriter Sean Russells debut CD, To This Point, you may be picking up on the quiet truth at the heart of the project. For the past few years, the 31-year-old Russell has been quietly creating music that offers moving snapshots of a life thats been anything but ordinary. The disc, recorded by brothers Todd and Toby Pipes (veterans of work with Deep Blue Something, Drowning Pool, and Hi-Fi Drowning) at Dallas Bass Propulsion Laboratories, was initially envisioned as nothing more than a simple encapsulation of Russells tunes maybe something for his family to enjoy in posterity.
Instead, buoyed by the Pipes brothers assistance, Russells ear for timeless pop hooks mix with his comfortably confessional songwriting style, producing a collection of songs that are as melodic as they are moving. Russell is not afraid to admit his love for both classic alternative acts (the Smiths, the Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen) and an affinity for contemporaries such as Pete Yorn, Johnny Rzeznik and Evan Dando; To This Point showcases a young performer whose struggles have been just as influential in own story as his many successes.
Born in Hollywood, CA but raised in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Russell married at 19, and enlisted in the army a year later to build some stability in his life. Stuck with an overseas post guarding the stultifying landscape of Koreas DMZ, Russell turned to his guitar (hed messed with music through his entire childhood) as a measure of mental self-preservation. Russell returned to the United States in 1998 and, as the father of three, found work at a mortgage firm to support his family.
Happily, those musical aspirations still simmered underneath and as he sought some contrast between the rigidity of a 9-5 job and his performing desires, he began work on the songs now contained on To This Point. Full of eclectic perspectives on love, children, religion and politics, the CD is a refreshing change from the overly obvious singer-songwriter tradition. Russell continues to build a side career as a performer in the Dallas area; To This Point serves as an admirable point of reference for a promising young artist. - Written by Jimmy Fallon of the Ft Worth Weekly