Russel Alan Pratt--songwriter, musician, producer, engineer, acoustician..."jack of all, master of none" as he puts it. Born in Oregon and raised in Idaho, he has lived in South America (Argentina, Peru, and Brazil) since 1976. Currently playing in the band "Bootleg" and promoting their CD "One More Time"
Instruments: Pianos and Keyboards, including Hammond organ, acoustic guitars (6-string and 12-string in standard and varied tunings), electric guitar and bass, harmonica, pedal steel and percussion.
Vocals: Lead and backups, vocal arrangements
Studio Design - Aurora Productions, Rio de Janeiro,Brazil, Floresta Baptist Church, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro State University, CTE audio and video production area, private project studios in the greater Rio area
Current Projects: Promoting current CD, media interviews. Recording new CD and video productions
Going to add a mobile recording feature for the studio so we can record and film our live shows, see if we can streamline the production process a bit.
Russel Alan Pratt Bio
Russel Alan Pratt
Born in Eugene, Oregon and raised in Idaho, Al Pratt has been linked with music for as long as he can remember. "One of the earliest influences in my life was the Chickering quarter grand piano in my parents' living room. That piano was always there begging to be played, and for a kid, the mechanism, the strings on that big golden harp and ebony wood (real ivory and ebony keys, mind you!) were a fascinating combination. Plus the visits from the blind piano tuner which left me in awe."
Formal training on the piano lasted a very short time, for as he says "My piano teacher's piano sat next to a picture window which looked out on the baseball field across the street. Doing drills on her spinet (which sounded dull and lifeless compared to the Chickering) couldn't compete with the crack of the bat and shouts of my friends. But my father had a Motorola mono hi-fi, a beautiful sounding thing, and he had some Carmen Caballero records, and that to me was what piano playing was all about." Other piano influences include Floyd Cramer, Nicky Hopkins ("his stuff with Quicksilver really knocked me out") and "Delbert McClinton's piano player is real fun to listen to as well, although his name escapes me just now")
The search for inspiration led down a "long and winding road" and finally put down roots in South America, first in Buenos Aires, Argentina, followed by a quick visit to Brazil and on to Peru to help a friend record an album. He later returned to Argentina and Brazil, eventually staying in Brazil.
Alan moved into commercial recording and studio design, but found himself writing more songs than ever, and recording and producing others proved to be a frustrating experience. "I couldn't get these songs out of my head, and when I'd be recording others I'd be thinking about my songs and how I'd produce them etc. and my heart wasn't in my work at all. I found myself faced with the decision to either forget my own stuff and become an engineer-producer, or forget building a career as an engineer and producer and work on my own songs."
His songs don't really fall into a particular category, although the many influences are evident. "I'm basically a rock and rhythm and blues type with some country thrown in for flavor." The list of influences is long: Elvis, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochrane, Otis Redding, Dylan, Beatles, Byrds, Stills, Stevie Winwood and Dave Mason, Van Morrison, Joe Cocker, Merle Haggard, Don Williams, Willy, Delbert McClinton, Joe Ely, Ray Benson and that whole Texas bunch, literally the list is endless. Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits,too. "Thank God every now and then someone comes along who is really original and authentic. I've always liked the road guys better than the glossy production types, their songs and performances have an earthy grass roots immediacy that can't be imitated."
Besides piano, acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica, and pedal steel, depending on the need and the production. "Playing steel is a real challenge, playing in tune and coming up with something original. It's a little discouraging, because with guys like Paul Franklin out there that play so well and have a million chops I feel like what's the use. But every now and then I come up with something I like, but it's kind of a two steps forward, one step back type thing. What I really get off on is playing the B3 through a Leslie, there is just nothing that compares with that for just really cutting loose."
Why Brazil? "At first it was just another gig---but the women, whew!--one woman in particular, and I married her! But in general the culture kind of grows on you, it's very laid back, sometimes too much, and the disparity between rich and poor is a little discouraging, but things are changing, with better education and more awareness, plus the people no longer tolerate the old syle politician and folks are demanding and starting to receive better government."