With songs about boozy nights, bad decisions, broken hearts and the best intentions, Brooke Russell and The Mean Reds blend vintage Americana with widescreen, dark country. Culminating in a kitchen in Fitzroy North, The Mean Reds are based in Melbourne and consist of Brooke Russell on voice, guitar and mandolin, Grant Taylor on lead guitar, Ben Franz on pedal steel, Luke Richardson on double bass and Josh Barber on drums.
Drawing influence from alt country, jazz and folk styles, the band are also inspired by the songs of Ryan Adams, Joe Henry, Sharon Van Etten, Gillian Welch, Tom Waits and Neko Case. Their debut album, Poor Virginia was released in August 2013, and listed in Basement Discs Top 10 Australian Albums of The Year and Unpaved's 50 Best Albums of 2013. Met with great reception, the album received airplay on Radio National, Triple R, Fbi, PBS, 4ZZZ and Southern FM as well as being featured in Frankie magazine. After an invitation to showcase at the 2014 Americana Festival in Nashville, the band have been working on new material with Joshua Barber producing and released the new single, Never’s Gonna Take Too Long in April 2015 and an EP of the same name released December 2015. Brooke recently received a Creative Victoria grant to return to Nashville in March 2015.
“Brooke Russell and the Mean Reds’ country-inflected take on timeless pop that you’ll dig if you like Caitlin Rose.” - Nashville Scene
“She’d be at home in the Nighthawks diner, except that she’s maybe not jaded enough. There’s an innocence and hope to most of her songs that feels like a balm.” - McKinley Valentine, unpaved.com.au
“Sweet and slow country, with close vocal harmonies and just the right amount of melancholy.” - Chris Cobcroft, 4ZZZ