Shinyribs Cactus Theater 1812 Buddy Holly Avenue Thursday, June 16th 7:30 – 9:30pm, doors at 7pm Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shinyribs-rockin-swamp-pop-rb-soul-sensation-live-at-cactus-theater-tickets-343689633947 Reserved Seats: $25
1812 Buddy Holly Avenue
Thursday, June 16th
7:30 – 9:30pm, doors at 7pm
Reserved Seats: $25 in advance, $30 day of the show
Balcony Box Tickets: $50 in advance, $60 day of the show (Box ticket includes concessions; present ticket in lobby when ordering)
Please note: All sales are final. The Cactus Theater does not permit exchanges, refunds or credit for future shows in exchange for unused tickets.
Box office hours:
Monday-Friday: 3:00 – 5:30pm
Saturday: Open 1 hour before scheduled shows
Sunday: Open 1 hour before scheduled shows
Once you’ve seen Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell on-stage and heard his band’s music, it’s impossible to forget. Known for his outrageous outfits and antics, he’s a regular fashion icon, liable to turn up in anything from his lime-green sherbet leisure suit to a flashing LED cloak, which he donned for a soulful performance of “East Texas Rust” on the award-winning PBS show Austin City Limits.
Born and raised in Beaumont, East Texas, Russell’s been variously dubbed (mostly by himself), the Baryshnikov of the Big Thicket, the Pavarotti of the Pineywoods, the Shakespeare of Swamp Pop, or the Shiniest Man in Showbidniz. One of the pioneers of Americana as a member of The Gourds, Russell took his musical inspiration from the fertile Ark-La-Tex turf. In the immortal words of the title track to their most recent album, “I Got Your Medicine,” Shinyribs have the cure to whatever ails you, moving that ass until you’re a helpless member of the Kevin Russell-led “all-in” conga line which snakes through the audience at the close of every show.
“It’s the universal dance anyone can do,” he says. “Nobody feels self-conscious or out of place. It’s a great way to get everybody involved. You can’t really top that.”
As Austin royalty, Shinyribs are one of the music world’s best-kept secrets, but not for long. The eight-piece outfit was recently named Best Austin Band for 2017, while I Got Your Medicine was tapped as Album of the Year at the Chronicle’s prestigious Austin Music Awards. Balding with a scraggly beard and an unapologetic gut, the 50-year-old Russell boasts the indelible spirit and nudge-nudge, wink-wink playful quality of a man forever young, who points to the likes of Tony Joe White and the Coasters for his Shinyribs-tickling, mind-expanding, butt-shaking “is he for real” sense of humor. .
About his status as a local hero, Russell says, “The competition is pretty serious here in Austin. I don’t know how big a fish I am, but I certainly flop around a lot.”
Kevin Russell might not take himself too seriously, but he is dead-on serious about the eclectic blend of music he favors, combining Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, roots-rock, Tin Pan Alley and even punk into a raucous mix that includes such out-of-the-blue cover nods as David Bowie’s “Golden Years” (a posthumous tribute with an unlikely “On Broadway” groove) or the Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey” (interpolated into a live version of “Poor People’s Store,” his populist
“jingle” for an imaginary bargain basement outlet).
Russell’s Shinyribs have released six albums since starting out as his “solo” side project, starting with 2010’s Well After Awhile, followed by Gulf Coast Museum (2013), Okra Candy (2015), 2017’s award-winning I Got Your Medicine, the holiday project The Kringle Tingle (2018), and Fog & Bling (2019). The band’s seventh studio album, Late Night TV Gold was released in 2021.
Russell’s parents were both music lovers, his father teaching him his first guitar chords, “then pretty much letting me go my own way.” As a teenager, he went through a hard-core punk phase, attracted to west coast acts like Minutemen, Hüsker Dü and Gun Club, followed by an alternative/college fascination with R.E.M., the dBs and the Replacements.
“I was raised in an era where there were no rules, where marketing and specialization hadn’t yet become the status quo,” he says of his vast musical canvas. “I think of radio as playing all styles of music; everything is up for grabs. I never wanted to play just one kind of music. Honestly, I don’t know how to do anything else. I love mashing things together you wouldn’t expect, like a donut taco.
“My thing is to love and respect everyone, to accept everyone for who they are. You can be whoever you want to be at a Shinyribs show… that’s what I’m trying to convey with my music and the performance.”
The past flows through Russell’s aesthetic sensibility to become something, well, Shiny and new.
“It’s cool to see the old stuff still works. I’ve taken a great deal from the best showmen I’ve seen over the years. I don’t want people to hero-worship me like a celebrity. This isn’t about me… it’s about us. Making everybody feel special.” His goal remains to create music that makes us feel better about ourselves… even the sad songs.
“I feel good when I play and sing this music. I want everybody to experience that same pleasure. I just want to keep serving the music I love, and continue to evolve my art.”