Why Kevin Russell of Shinyribs Turned His Side Project to a Full-Time Job

Sometimes when you make an expensive purchase you take on a second job to pay for it. So when Kevin Russell of the Gourds bought his family a new car in 2007, he looked for a way to make about $500 a month on the side. Instead of throwing newspapers, Russell started Shinyribs, a solo project that played Houston bar Under the Volcano once a month. To help him with the long drive from Austin, he started bringing along another musician, who added percussion or a second guitar.

While recording the 2010 debut LP Well After Awhile, which brought his vocals up in the mix compared to the Gourds recordings, Russell started assembling a four-piece band. But even more importantly, he started thinking that maybe he could survive as a working musician without the talented and successful band he co-founded in 1994 with bassist/singer Jimmy Smith.

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Michael Corcoran