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Looking up: Singer-songwriter confronts personal issues on new album

Russell James Pyle is getting personal – finally.

The singer-songwriter has stepped away from Albuquerque-based The Porter Draw and released his solo album, “Rise.”

And the album tackles a lot of personal issues.

“I struggle with mental health, and I’ve been locked in a deep battle with depression since I was a child,” he says. “Over the past year, I think my writing ability got to the point where I could go introspective with it. I wanted to be proactive in discussing the issues. It’s important to those that struggled with mental health know that we’re not alone in our fight.”

Pyle wrote the majority of the album from September to January.

And it took one weekend to record at Frogville Studios in Santa Fe. He will perform at Marble Brewery on Thursday, June 9, and will be part of the Albuquerque Folk Festival on Saturday, June 4, at Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.

“There was a very cool vibe to the recording session,” he says. “I felt like it really captured the essence of the album.”

Pyle has been on a multiple-week tour across the country.

He released his album on May 24, and he has seen plenty of people show up to his shows based on his message of mental health.

“It’s been a very interesting road, and I’m getting more questions about mental health issues,” he says. “I’ve had people come up to me and say they read the press I did about mental health and depression. The conversations have been really fulfilling.”

Along with tackling some personal issues in his songs, Pyle has also stripped away his security blanket he found in The Porter Draw.

“It’s a little more nerve-wracking, because The Porter Draw are my closest friends and when they are on stage with me, it’s security,” he says. “I’m very shy and introverted. With the band, it’s easier to turn on my extroversion. When I’m by myself, it’s difficult to do it as easy. It’s been a good transition so far.”

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