November 9th, 2022 10pm Stage 2
At barely eight years old, during a church service in Linton, Indiana, Russell Johnson discovered his voice for the first time. Soon after, Russell picked up the guitar quickly by watching his brother play. He grew up inspired by the songwriting of The Smiths and Bob Dylan. However, it was following the sudden death of his father in 2009 where Russell’s hobby transformed into a source of healing, freedom, and connection.
His passion led him to Boston where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Songwriting from Berklee College of Music in 2016. During his time there, he performed and worked with music industry luminaries Chuck Leavell, (Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones), John Oates of Hall & Oates, and jazz-pop singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum.
Since relocating to New York City, Russell met and collaborated with John Barrowman - known for his role as Dark Archer on The CW’s Arrow. He was encouraged to pursue a career as an actor, but found himself working as a stunt performer. He has performed archery and knife throwing stunts in major motion pictures, television shows, and music videos including 2019’s Robin Hood, the Amazon original series Sneaky Pete, and CBS drama Elementary.
Justin Nash Fisher
Sometimes all it takes to find your compassion is to air out your disbeliefs. “Nobody ever tells you the truth,” Boston-based singer-songwriter Justin Nash Fisher gripes on the eponymous and acronymized new single “NETYTT,” his first release from his upcoming EP due early 2022 (UNANNOUNCED). From within the bouncing, folksy strums of vagrant dreams and lacing harmonies—think Kurt Vile meets James Taylor—there’s an air of distrust, a curmudgeonly view from someone who sees the world around him as perpetually on fire. But once he peels away the layers, both musically and emotionally, he bares a message that’s been masked by his outward pessimism: “I wanna be the one that you hold,” he repeats over and over again, his fortress crumbling in a confessional wash.
As a toddler in Atlanta, Georgia, Fisher’s mother would catch him fiddling with the piano deep into the night. It’s this sense of quiet curiosity that drives his impetus today as a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a versatile and commanding musical chameleon, Fisher has performed, toured, recorded, written and produced for a number of nationally-recognized artists, including Hawthorn, Los Elk, Aubrey Haddard, Prateek, The Dead Messengers and more. And though he still tinkers well after midnight, Fisher claims it’s hard not to write something when you’re somehow too tired to sleep but the gears are still turning.
The songs that encompass his forthcoming release aim to reveal a side of himself unseen by those familiar with his work as a spirited performer. Much of this recent work is fueled by a sense of childlike wonder and curiosity, as heard in the rich complexities of his music, but there are underlying throughlines of familial tragedy and longing that serve as emotive totems within each song. From the untimely loss of his brother, to the dissolution of a longstanding romantic relationship, Fisher’s darker experiences reinforce his heavy outlook while also guiding a process of healing and understanding through the parameters of thorny compositions and cunning wordplay.
Fisher’s music isn’t short on feelings, or unanswerable, pondering thoughts for that matter. Though he approaches the world with heavy skepticism and a radiating sense of existentialism, at his core lies the sweet passion of someone trying to make sense of what’s in front of him, like a toddler tinkling piano keys deep into the night.