With his long white hair and beard, Leon Russell looks like ZZ Tops albino brother. Or maybe an American cousin to that cranky kung fu master who taught Uma Thurman to punch through boards at close range in Kill Bill.
Whatever his earthly blood ties, Russell clearly belongs to the exclusive family of pop music gods. At the height of his hairy genius in the 60s and 70s, Russell recorded under his own name and collaborated with numerous heavies, including Clapton, George Harrison, Steve Winwood, and Joe Cocker. He jammed at the Concert for Bangladesh in 71, and, later in the decade, made a record with Willie Nelson. Russell excelled at crafting songs perfect for his lazy tongued, immediately recognizable voice which is part bluesman, part okie twang, part smartass, and all soul. Classics like the striking A Song for You, the ultrahip Stranger in a Strange Land, and the wry Tight Rope are just a few of the tunes that should compel you to see Russell at The Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale) Saturday at 8 p.m. Men are encouraged not to shave, but all are welcome. Tickets cost $19.99. Call 954-564-1074, or visit www.cultureroom.net.
Sat., March 1, 2008