Webpages: dennyrussellband.com , stamey.org
Day job: I’m a software designer based in Grass Valley, California. I’ve been involved professionally with computers since 1983. In the early days, I wrote software for large mainframe computers. I became self-employed in 1986, and soon after, started writing software for Macintosh. In the last few years, I’ve transitioned to working on web-based software and custom programming for websites.
How I got started: I had wanted to play since about age six, probably after hearing the piano in church. My family wasn’t musical at all, so it wasn’t until I was nine that we got a piano and started taking lessons. By age 15, I was playing regularly in church, and was in the high-school jazz band.
Band: I currently play at Twin Cities Church in Grass Valley. We have about 2,000 attendees, which is amazing for our small town. In the last few years, I’ve also been playing with the Denny Russell Band, a country-rock outfit that plays mostly original music. We started out in late 2005, helping a friend record his songs, and by 2006 we had become a band. We’ve performed at casinos, county fairs, sports bars, parties, wedding receptions, retreats, and fundraisers. I’m also trying to start a Carpenters tribute band.
Why I play: Music caught my attention at an early age. I really liked hearing chords with a lot of color, even before I understood them, and the piano was the best way for me to create those sounds. I love the ability to play what I feel are the best chord voicings possible on any single instrument. I tried to learn guitar when I was 16, and got very frustrated because I couldn’t voice chords the way I could on the keys. Ed Coury
In the Denny Russell Band,” says Don, “I mostly need piano, so the Roland RD-500 is the main keyboard in front of me. A few years ago I bought a portable Yamaha PSR-282, because I wanted something small and battery powered. There are several good sounds in that keyboard, including some organs, so I use it in the band. Both keyboards are plugged in to my Roland KC-100 amp, which I use as a submixer and monitor. When playing at church, I like the same basic setup, except I have a Yamaha C7 grand in front of me, and a Roland XP-80 to my left.”
Check out these keyboard-heavy acts, on tour this month.
Squirrel Nut Zippers
Tegan and Sara