The term “legend” gets thrown around so much that it sometimes seems as though it has lost all meaning. Leon Russell, a proper legend, is coming to the Woodstock Playhouse on Wednesday, September 19 to restore the distinction to its proper place.
Russell is riding a recent wave of popularity that includes his 2011 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Union, a collaboration with Elton John that was both a commercial and critical smash. Russell’s long career as a songwriter, session man and stellar musician be on display as he makes this early stop on a two-month US tour. Russell has played with everyone, earned the respect of rock ‘n’ roll’s greats – from many of whom he has stolen the show, as recordings from the Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in 1971 could tell you.
Russell – who had long hair on his head and face 40 years ago and has kept it that way ever since – is a striking figure: a rock ‘n’ roll Santa Claus with a bag full of treats. In addition to having performed with everyone from the Beach Boys to the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton to Frank Sinatra, Russell is also a solo performer of renown – though prior to his album with Elton John in 2010, he hadn’t had a Top 40 record release since 1979’s One for the Road, a collaboration with Willie Nelson.
Leon Russell, with special guest the Connor Kennedy Band, performs at the Woodstock Playhouse on Wednesday, September 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $45 to $60. For more information, visit www.radiowoodstock.com.