Troubadour ? Conquistador ? Or maybe a bit of both..Spanish songwriter/guitarist and screenwriter/director Rafa Russo's travels have taken him from his native Madrid, through the folk clubs of New York and London and finally back to his homeland.
But it's clear his spirit has only ever been in one place... Laurel Canyon. It's in the fabled California songwriter hills of the late 60s and 70s that Rafa mines his songs and new album This Strange Place is packed full of his golden treasure.
Listen to the voice break open at the minute mark on Something Like Home and you might see a glimpse of Joni and Jackson, arm in arm over by the log cabin...Rafa started his musical career in New York in the early 1980s, playing fabled Greenwich Village clubs such as The Bitter End and Folk City.
In 1988, he moved to London. He stayed for nine years. The city was then undergoing an acoustic revival and Rafa was a regular at the capital's many open mics such as God's Little Joke, the Diorama and the legendary Troubadour club - this place was so acoustic that there wasn't any amplification at all.
In London, Rafa released his first album A Petrified Forest in 1990, gaining favourable reviews from the UK press including NME: 'an accomplished debut of folky, jazzy, bluesy and heartfelt mood swings.' The single from the album, Devil's Angel, a Buddy Holly-esque pop song, made it onto both BBC Radio One and the fledgling late night television show Night Network. Support slots with Tori Amos, Melissa Etheridge, Zucchero and John Martyn followed.
And then in 1994 he was picked up by renowned British producer Mike Howlett who recorded and put out Rafa's second album Despite Myself on the new Mauve label.
However, shortly after the release of his third album Raging Clowns (1996), things took an unexpected turn when a script Rafa had written was made into a film by Spanish director Maria Ripoll. If Only, also known as The Man With The Rain In His Shoes and Twice Upon A Yesterday was released in 1997 and featured a young Penelope Cruz. The film won Best Screenplay at the 1998 Montreal Festival and suddenly a new career was born. Music then had to take a backseat - ¦until now.
1. Half A Chance
2. Beautiful Stranger
3. Something Like Home
5. Throwaway Days
7. Empty Chair
8. Windshielded Sky
9. On The Side
10. You Crossed My Mind
11. The Beginning Of The End
12. Where Do You Go
Release Date: 01/03/2019