Russ Roberts never meets a stranger. Whether he’s riding a New York subway, soaking up sunshine on the Gulf Coast or shaking hands after concert, he’s always making a connection with people. More often than not, those moments find their way into a song. A born songwriter with an ear for a good hook and a head constantly humming with fresh melodies, Roberts has a gift for capturing life’s pivotal moments in music.
It’s easy to see why Roberts has carved a successful niche as a modern day country troubadour, placing songs in films and contributing tunes to projects by country veterans such as Ed Bruce as well as fledgling bands. Like most independent country artists, Roberts flies somewhat under the radar and has built a grassroots following performing in select venues coast to coast and releasing critically acclaimed projects.
His songs are slice-of-life country anthems such as “Dudley’s Truck Stop,” a musical homage to a real restaurant that has kept a Virginia Mountain community and passersby fed and happy for many years. If Roberts sounds close to the subject, he is. He grew up in Rocky Mount, VA, raised on the traditional country music and small town values that still inform his artistry.
“I always wanted to make music when I was a kid, but I just didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity,” he confesses. “For some reason I had in my head that everybody that did the music thing was from a big town. I didn’t realize until later that everybody came from somewhere. There’s not a lot of Opry stars that were born and raised in Nashville. A whole lot of them come from little bitty towns.”
Russ captures the full range of human emotions in his songs and unleashes them on stage. “I’ve always liked to say things a little differently,” Roberts comments. “I love music and love performing. If you can sing a song and take people out of their circumstances—even for a little while---that’s a precious commodity.”