Close Kin, Our Roots Run Deep Featured Artist - Clay Russell



Clay Russell lives with his parents, Jeff and Vicky, and sister Kelly in Grayson County, Virginia. His interest and desire to pick became apparent at a young age as he would often try his hand at playing different instruments. He grew up listening to bluegrass music and could regularly be found with his family at bluegrass concerts and conventions.

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, it seemed he was naturally drawn to the banjo. At age four he received his first banjo for Christmas. He quickly learned to pick out melodies using his thumb. With the help of his father he later graduated to the three finger Scruggs’s style and recently began taking lessons from National Banjo Champion Eric Hardin.

During the summer of 2013, Clay began entering competitions placing first in the youth divisions at the Ashe County and Fries Fiddlers Conventions. He also placed second at the Galax Fiddlers Convention and third at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Competition for youth. Clay also plays the guitar and mandolin. He is fortunate that the school he attends has a Bluegrass/Old Time Music class taught by Mrs. Emily Spencer where he gets to play daily. When not playing the banjo Clay enjoys camping, hunting and riding his four wheeler.

The Close Kin-Our Roots Run Deep project is Clay's first recording experience. Clay considers it a great honor to have been asked to be a part of this project and as a result has met many new talented friends with which he hopes he will have the opportunity to play with for years to come.

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