One of its own died on the evening of September 22 in Bakersfield, California. Rick Russell, a respected local and native of the city, passed away and left behind a musical and friendship legacy that will always be treasured. Rick Russell, the Smokin’ Armadillos’ lead singer, had a profound impact on many people’s lives with his music and amiable demeanour. In this piece, we honour the life of Rick Russell, a guy who had a profound impact on both the Bakersfield area and the country music industry.
Rick Russell was a true Bakersfield native, born and raised in this vibrant Californian city. He studied at Bakersfield College, where he honed his skills and developed a passion for music that would later define his life. Russell’s journey in the world of music began at an early age, and his time at Bakersfield College undoubtedly played a crucial role in shaping his musical talents.
He also attended North High School, where he likely formed some of his earliest friendships and began to cultivate his unique musical style. It was during these formative years that Rick Russell started down the path that would lead him to become the cherished frontman of the Smokin’ Armadillos.
Rick Russell’s love for music was evident to anyone who had the pleasure of hearing him perform. His powerful and soulful voice, combined with his genuine passion for the art, made him a standout in the music industry. As the lead vocalist of the Smokin’ Armadillos, he brought his unique flair to the country music scene, earning a dedicated fan base and the respect of his peers.
The Smokin’ Armadillos, a country band hailing from Bakersfield, rose to fame with their hit songs and electrifying performances, with Rick Russell at the forefront. His contribution as the lead vocalist not only defined the band’s sound but also solidified their place in the hearts of country music enthusiasts.
The news of Rick Russell’s passing was met with shock and sadness by his friends, fans, and fellow musicians. The Smokin’ Armadillos released a statement expressing their grief and paying tribute to their dear friend and bandmate. In their statement, they acknowledged Russell’s enduring impact on their lives and the joy he brought to countless others through his music.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our longtime friend and lead vocalist, Rick Russell. He passed away last night after battling ongoing health issues. He was our brother, our friend, and our frontman, and our hearts are broken as he leaves us much too soon. He brought so much joy to those that knew him and to those that saw and heard him on stage, but he also felt so much joy in being able to sing and perform for so many of you over the past 30 years. We are blessed to have lived so much of our lives with Rick, and though he’s no longer with us, we celebrate the fact that he loved the Lord and that he’s walking right now with Jesus. We thank you all for your love and support and ask that you please respect his family’s privacy as they walk through this difficult time.”
These heartfelt words from the Smokin’ Armadillos capture the deep bond that Rick Russell shared with his bandmates and the profound impact he had on their lives and the music industry.
The Bakersfield community, where Rick Russell was born and raised, has also been deeply affected by his passing. Jamie Mc, a fellow resident, and friend expressed the collective grief, saying, “I just found out lead singer of the Smokin’ Armadillos and my friend passed last night… Man, this sucks!”
The outpouring of condolences and love notes from Bakersfield people highlights the city’s sense of loss. Along with being a gifted musician, Rick Russell was also a cherished neighbour who made everyone around him smile.
The people who knew Rick Russell will always remember him as a gifted musician, a loyal friend, and a beloved member of the Bakersfield community. Fans will continue to find inspiration and solace in his music, and his passing will serve as a reminder of the music’s enduring ability to unite people and brighten their lives.
As Bakersfield mourns the loss of one of its own, we remember Rick Russell not only for his exceptional vocal talent but also for the warmth and kindness he extended to everyone he met. His journey from a Bakersfield College student to the lead vocalist of the Smokin’ Armadillos serves as a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and the ability to touch the lives of others through the gift of music. Rick Russell may have left this world too soon, but his music and his spirit will live on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know him.