SINGER-SONGWRITER SEAN RUSSELL NEW HOLIDAY/GOSPEL ALBUM OUT TODAY ON HAND DRAWN RECORDS
"BROTHER BILL" EP AVAILABLE NOW
Originally recorded in 2012, Cut Throat Finches' lead singer/songwriter, Sean Russell, to release Gospel and Christmas-themed record in memory of pastor and friend, "Brother" Bill Russell
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Sean Russell (during recording sessions, 2012) // Photo by Honey Russell
“To me, Bill’s most important legacy was not just that he preached nearly every day of those 27 years as an unpaid volunteer,” Sean said of his mentor, “but how he ended each service by shaking each of his congregation’s hands as they waited in line for food with kind words.”
In 2012, “Brother Bill” passed away after 27 years of service to the homeless community at downtown Fort Worth’s Union Gospel Mission. With his passing, the singer-songwriter felt compelled to record the album. Described as being a “Santa Claus-like figure” by Ron Hall in his New York Times best-selling book “Same Kind of Different as Me,” “Brother Bill” was legally blind and thus delivered nightly sermons from memory. The two met volunteering at the Mission after Sean lost his job in 2007. Looking to gain perspective against the mounting fear of losing everything, the musician started playing gospel music at “Brother Bill”’s request at the beginning and end of the pastor’s passionate sermons. Some of the tracks on the “BROTHER BILL” EP were gospel classics Bill held near and dear to his heart, reworked by Sean to make his own. The two bonded over hardships, with the pastor soon becoming an integral part of helping the young singer-songwriter through troubled times.
“I wrote ‘Hallelujah, I’m Giving In’ when I was having trouble connecting to the spirit of Christmas because I was unsure if I would lose my home and family,” said Sean. “In writing it, I was given hope for the future. Those hard times are now behind me, but ‘Brother Bill’’s story is one I will always carry with me.”
Sean, those who attended Bill’s sermons at the Mission in Fort Worth and author Ron Hall weren’t the only individuals who felt touched by the dedicated pastor. Coming to theatres February 3, 2017 is Paramount Pictures’ feature film based on Ron’s book starring Greg Kinnear, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight, and Renée Zellweger. The film tells the story of international art dealer from Texas Christian University (Kinnear) who most befriend a dangerous homeless man (Hounsou) in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife (Zellweger), a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the most remarkable journey of their lives. At the shelter, “Brother Bill” cites verses of the Bible in nightly readings to the homeless from memory.
To view the movie trailer, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8MWxtpjVp8.
“This record is for him and for all of those lives he touched throughout his blessed life here on Earth,” said Sean.