Leon Russell Brings Culture Room Back to Roots

Leon Russell and the Abominable Snowman appear to have a lot in common. Both are legendary, and sightings of each are relatively rare. Then too, there's that physical similarity — Russell's flowing white hair and massive beard find him a dead ringer for that reclusive creature.

Russell's low profile contrasts with a prolific career that flourished throughout the '60s and '70s: arranging for Phil Spector, providing the instrumental muscle behind the chart-toppers of the day, working with the Stones, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, and George Harrison, and eventually emerging as a reliable chart draw on his own. Locals may recall Russell's South Florida visit in the late '70s when he headlined at Miami's Gusman Hall with steep $100 tickets, which came with the honor of sharing dinner with the artist.

Despite a respite, Russell has never fully retired, given his spate of comeback recordings over the past millennium. His appearance at the Grammys last January, backing the Zac Brown Band on their hit "Chicken Fried," not only marked his first appearance at the fete but also came barely two weeks after surgery to stop a fluid leak in his brain. Now, the 67-year-old seems active as ever and has even planned a superstar summit with Elton John, featuring cameos from Neil Young and Booker T. Jones. Clearly, this Yeti is ready to rock.