GUEST BLOG: Rusty Russell’s Recording Studio Experience

Rusty Russell

The genesis of our project at The Church Studio was a bit different than most;

four high school friends from Wichita (classes of ’73, ’74), and ’75) had spent years in the big music-center cities of Nashville & L.A.

Between us, we’d toured with many “name” artists, recorded a great deal (as players and/or engineers),

and after those years away, three of the guys are back in Kansas, happily living “normal” lives.

John Salem (keyboards/vocals), Rusty Russell (guitar), Stephen Schultz (bass)

A bit late to the party, I finally came home – or close to it –

with a move to Tulsa from Nashville in early 2020.

I toured The Church Studio in 2021 with some friends from Joe Bonamassa’s band and, like them, I was blown away.

In short order, the idea of the four of us old buddies recording at this sonic wonderland began to form.

Ed Macy(drums/percussion), Drake Macy (guitar/vocals)

No one’s eyes were on a “record deal,” or being discovered, or getting songs cut by big stars.

Some guys, when they get to a certain age, they get that vintage car they always wanted.

Spending time recording with my old pals made more sense for me (and it’s a LOT cheaper!).

Stephen Schultz, John Salem, Rusty Russell

We enlisted a young (well, compared to us) bass player I’d worked with here in Tulsa, and started writing songs.

It’s not often that musicians get to play – let alone record in a world-class studio – with nothing on the line except

“are we loving this?” and “is this how we want it to sound?”.

Stephen Schultz

So this was our sail-fishing trip. Our guided wilderness outing.

Our four 50-yard-line seats at the Super Bowl (only, again, WAY more cost-effective in dollars-per-smile).

Major recording artists are getting hip to The Church Studio.

But the vibe there is perfect for the little fish, too, and the staff is top (TOP) notch.

Rusty Russell

With our tracks in the can, I can absolutely say we’d do it again, in a heartbeat.

Oh – and of course we will burn a CD for you for a few bucks… hey, old habits die hard.

You’ll hear eight songs cut and overdubbed in two days, with John Salem on keyboards/vocals, Ed Macy on drums,

Drake Macy on guitar/vocals and Rusty Russell on guitar – along with Tulsa’s own Stephen Schultz on bass.

~ Rusty Russell

John Salem

Rusty Russell

Rusty Russell spent his high school and college years in Wichita, Kansas, attending Wichita State University on a trumpet performance schollarship. His dabbling on guitar became an obsession, and he left school for a years-long stint in Denver, playing in club bands and teaching guitar privately. After a brief return to Kansas, Rusty answered a call for a road gig based in Nashville. From 1984 until his move to Tulsa in 2019, Rusty worked in Nashville as a guitarist and bassist on tours, in clubs, and in recording studios. He also built careers in journalism (a decade as Nashville Editor for Guitar Player Magazine, writing hundreds of articles for GP and other national publications) and photography. Rusty was a contract shooter for Getty Images, and also shot dozens of album/CD and magazine covers & articles. His musical road work includes touring with artists like Louise Mandrell, George Fox, Blues legends Charles “Wigg” Walker and Johnny Jones, and The Burrito Brothers (on bass). After thirty-six years in Nashville, Rusty moved with his wife, Lynn, to Tulsa to be near his extended family. He’s currently busy with club work, a few recording sessions, and teaching advanced guitar students.

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  1. John Salem on November 1, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    Well written, Russ. One of my top Studio experiences of all time!

  2. Drake Macy on November 7, 2022 at 12:23 pm

    Well said Rusty. Great place with a great staff. You just can’t go wrong here!

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