About Russ After many years of hard work since Russ was an eight year old boy who saw Garth Brooks on television and became overwhelmed with wanting to be him when he grew up, Russ has never given up on his dream of a country music career. Getting his first guitar as a small boy at a local Pawn shop, and after a few lessons , Russ is a self taught lead guitarist, and was a front man vocalist and songwriter having his own publishing company DPLS music for eight years in North Carolina before he moved to Nashville, Tennessee in the summer of 2004, at age 22. His first performance in front of a large crowd was at The Southeastern Old Time Threshers Reunion In Denton, North Carolina at the Threshers Queen Pageant Talent show at Twelve years old in front of over 4000 people. It was storming that day when Russ and his family left for the big event and hisMom asked what will you do if it storms at the outdoor event ?? Twelve year old Russ replied "Ill just sing and play Garth Brooks tune "Thunder Rolls". Russ was like a walking Jukebox at that age singing and playing all Garth tunes and also he loved the old country songs by George Jones , Alan Jackson, and George Strait.. He covered a heart touching version of "He Stopped Loving Her Today". He entertained senior church groups, nursing homes, fire department events, rodeos, backyard barbques and events for Racing Plus around the Charlotte/ Concord NC area in Walmart parking lots for Childrens Miracle Network, on a flatbed trailer stage with a canopy top for several years. Russ Caldwell Band performed for the grand opening of the new Walmart store in Mooresville NC in 1999. Russ performed shows for local FM radio station WFMX 105.7 and they played some of his music. Local and surrounding newspapers and magazines did many stories on the talents of Russ Caldwell as a teen country singer with his sights on Nashville at an early age. At 14 years old with his parents funding, Russ recorded an 11 song CD "A Country Song"with a local producer near his hometown Mooresville NC. Great response from this CD had Russ opening on side stage (just him and his guitar) at Blockbuster Pavilion in Charlotte NC , making $200.00 an hour side stage shows for big artists like Dwight Yoaham, Vince Gill, Kathy Matea and others. He formed his own band at age 15 and worked with the best local musicians backing him in the area as hired guns for 8 years. He opened on sidestage at Blockbuster Pavilion with his band at age sixteen for Reba and at age nineteen for Kenny Chesney and Montgomery Gentry. He was featured in a national magazine "Country", as an OUTSTANDING RURAL TEEN at age fourteen.. His CD "A Country Song" was heard by Nelson Royal in Mooresville NC and sent to Buddy Lee Attractions in Nashville. Russ received a letter back from Tony Conway of BLA saying they recognized his talent and what he was doing at the time. Tony Conway from BLA said if Russ could get signed by a major label they would be interested in talking further. How ironic years later with Bush Hawg Russ was on BLA for booking. His South Iredell High School newspaper where Russ was a member of the Jazz band playing guitar, did a story on Russ called "A Star Among Us". Local tour bus drivers who drove for stars out of Nashville, Orville and Virginia Jackson , got Russ his second connection in Nashville by sending this first CD to another bus driver who got him a connection with Mr Larry Shell. Larry met with Russ and his family and again his family had enough faith in Russ.s talent to fund an eight song demo " Midnight Special "at age sixteen , recorded at County Q Studio in Nashville . The CD was very well produced and got Russ much attention. Russ wrote The song "Takin A Ride" that is on the CD at age fourteen. Still working hard and building his fan base around North Carolina and building a website at age 16, Russ,s Mom was emailed online from a well known Publicist /musician /Mr. Dick McVey from Nashville. Dick worked with Russ and his family for several years grooming him and got him a showcase lined up at Castle Door at age seventeen, where several major label contacts came out to see his show. They raved about the songs he had written at that time. Dick produced a four song demo of songs for Russ at Love Shack studio with Garth Brooks studio musicians playing on the demo. Russ wrote three of the songs and co wrote with local songwriter Jane Schenck on one of the songs "OFF MY MIND". Russ met with Nashville Producer Barry Beckett with McVeys connection at that time who offered Russ a production deal. His family decided at that point Russ needed to be a couple years older before them signing for him for this deal after consulting with a Nashville attorney for advice.. Having Barry Becketts interest got Russ into Alabama Grill in Concord NC for twenty two acoustic shows in 2002. He and his Russ Caldwell band were house band at Shenanigans at Holiday Inn in Cornelius North Carolina for nine months in 2001. Russ continued to perform at fairs, festivals ,rodeo events, aound NC and was doing regular shows at Queens Landing on Lake Norman on their outdoor stage and inside right before he moved to Nashville. Making the move was a big step for Russ. One of his High School buddies made the move with him for the first year. Russ is proud to say he made all his new connections on his talent alone. No one asked for money up front to work with him. Working at Fed Ex and Gibson Guitar when he first moved to town, it didnt take him long before he was making connections to play music and get noticed by the best. He had the interest of Broken Bow Records while performing shows as lead guitarist and band leader with Jami Grooms and The Catfish Johnston Band at WildHorse Saloon and around town. That interest got platinum producer Michael knox interested in checking Russ out. Knox saw what a dedicated, talented ,dependable, driven, humble musician Russ is and got him to work with country artist Shalacy Griffin at the time, and connections to audition for country artist Josh Thompson, as a guitarist in his new band. Russ is in Josh Thompsons Video "Way Out Here" (song is produced by Knox. Russ also was working with Josh on the Brad Paisley H20 Tour in 2010. Shaun Ames was a Sony songwriter with Jami Grooms and got interested in Russ working with his Bush Hawg (HOG) band after seeing him play with Jami Grooms. Knox encouraged Russ that Shauns band Bush Hog would be a good direction for him to go. Russ left Josh Thompson after doing showcases with Bush Hog that got them a fast offer of a deal with Sony RCA in 2011. After losing the deal with RCA three years later Shaun Ames, Bush Hawg band leader, decided to leave the band. Bush Hawg six man group eventually couldnt come to a mutual agreement to regroup and all went separate ways. Since disbandment with Bush Hawg, Russ has been playing shows with a Buddy Lee Attractions hot new act, amazing rising future star, 21 year old country artist, Cody Purvis, as lead guitarist. He was called back by Michael Knox (Bush Hawg manager /producer) in the summer of 2014 to be band leader and lead guitarist for another amazing hot new act getting ready to hit the music scene 21 year old Country rising star Michael Tyler. Music Knox produces and also is Tylers manager.
After living in Nashville for ten years, nine months and reaching the top level on RCA very quickly with Bush Hawg, Russ hasnt given up on his music dream. Its in his heart and time will tell where the future will take his music direction. But one thing for sure, he has been blessed to have had all the opportunities he has had in the last 20 years and still young enough to reach the top again with the right deal. Its never too late. Watching Garth Brooks come back out and take everyone by storm and to think Garth is now on RCA is just phenominal after Russ (with Dick Mcvey being in the press), got to meet his hero Garth Brooks on the day he retired in Nashville in 2000. No matter what happens in the future, Russ has been blessed with an unbelievable dream come true music career, doing what he dearly loves to do, still remaining humble, a fantastic family man, and keeping God as his Pilot in life.
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