SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH is a collection that features traditional and original ballads that tell stories of tragic misfortune. "...very unique lane of songs about love and death! Fascinating material." ”

— John Magnie

One name that might be familiar to longtime local music fans would be Russ Hopkins. As a seasoned performer and a recording studio operator, Hopkins contributed plenty to the NoCo music scene.  Today, Hopkins lives in the Berthoud area, plays gigs occasionally, and, most importantly, continues to record in his private studio, collaborating especially with area guitar virtuoso and music arranger Jerry Palmer. That brings us to Hopkins’ latest release, “Buffalo.” It’s a 2020 collection of traditional folk tunes that transcend the deceptively simple musical makeup of the songs to tell some riveting stories. The characters in these stories are drinkers, lovers, soldiers, buffalo skinners, murderers, beggars, and dreamers. As the storyteller, Hopkins stays out of the way as these characters reveal the dire things that have happened to them and their loved ones. He keeps the music — both vocals and the spare accompaniment — to a low simmer. This allows the collection of hard-luck pioneers and jilted lovers who are gathered here to tell their gritty truths. Have you ever really listened to the full lyrics of familiar songs like “Working on the Railroad” and “Clementine”? They aren’t kids’ songs at all and you can hear them here. Another familiar folk song, “Tom Dooley” — made popular in the 1950s by The Kingston Trio — is a grim tale of killing and the last thoughts of a condemned man. It’s not all dark. “A Jug of This,” an a cappella ode to a favorite drink, is lighthearted — as long as everything comes back to that drink — and “Begging I Will Go” lets a proud bum have his day in the sun. Hopkins vacillates between traditional English folk music and Western country-folk sound — and those things are not necessarily unrelated — but what remains the same here is the distinctive voices Hopkins brings to life. The production does feature some tasteful ear candy — some cool slide guitar and other touches — but for the most part, “Buffalo” is about setting the stage so the people in the songs can take over. And take over they do, spinning yarns of mischief and mayhem. ” - Tim Van Schmidt

— North Forty News

Americana/folk rock sound... Earthy undertones flow throughout his pieces, creating an old Western ambiance. His poetic lyrics combine with beautiful harmonies and melodies rich with acoustic honesty, transporting listeners to a different time. His hauntingly beautiful, deeply rich voice reminds you of Johnny Cash circa “Hurt.” In a world filled with bubbly pop and club remixes, it’s refreshing to find honest lyrics presented in a way that makes listeners reflect on themselves.” - - Crystal Campbell, Lindsay Nichols & Maggie Canty-Shafer


“This is a wonderful record! Thanks for the great music and songwriting.”” - Wendy Wham

KUNC FM, Colorado

“I look forward to bringing my listeners more great music from yourself...”” - Todd G

The Shuffle, WFIT-FM, Florida

We were blown away by the song Brother's Touch…” - Jerry Saint Amand

WMHB FM, Winslow, Maine

Thank you for your music!” - Martin van der Laan

Radio Compagnie

Russ Hopkins is... a thoughtful and tasteful craftsman…” - Quentin Young

Longmont Times-Call

The first impression is one of Indian Qwali music mixed with Tibetan chanting and a dash of Eastern European flare. “Moon Dreaming” captures the essence of those worlds and much more in these laid-back, acoustic-driven, instrumental wanderings.” - Glenn BurnSilver

The Loveland Reporter-Herald

Sweet Mystery is a collection of country-tinged folk that leaves the listener longing for the time when music was unapologetically raw and organic.” - Joshua Espinosa

Scene Magazine