"Let your faith –the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of that music which has yet to be heard– guide you. For Sam Russell is the light."
Sean Jewell, American Standard Time

Sam Russell & the Harborrats have been a Seattle institution for 16 years now, drawing from all eras of popular music in their one-of-a-kind “rock n’ roll cabaret” presentation on stage and on record. The band has shared stages with Fleet Foxes, Violent Femmes, Mudhoney, Ben Gibbard, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, La Luz, Archie Bronson Outfit, The Fastbacks, Red Elvises, Graham Parker and members of Pearl Jam & Soundgarden and played some of Seattle's most prestigious venues, including Neumos, The Tractor Tavern and Showbox Sodo.

Comprised of Sam (vocals & guitar), Ken Nottingham (vocals, bass, bouzouki, keyboards & harmonica) and Aimee Zoe (vocals, drums, percussion & keyboards), the band uses their versatility to display an eclectic range of musical diversity and a signature blend of sensitivity and intensity.  

Using 50s doo-wop and 60s garage-rock as sonic foundations, Sam & the ‘Rats use their spooky and mysterious sound to showcase styles as diverse as soul, country, girl-group, 80s synth-pop, 90s grunge and 00s indie-folk. Their live show finds originals and covers alike framed by Sam’s storytelling and efforts to be positive in treacherous times.

Their latest album Ocean Shores serves as a meditation of isolation and fear in the Covid-era. Since it’s release in October 2021, Ocean Shores has enjoyed national and international airplay, including KEXP and KBCS in the band’s base of Seattle.

The release of Ocean Shores was celebrated at The Tractor Tavern in Seattle on October 27, 2021 with a following tour delayed until fall 2022 out of caution for Covid safety. The band will continue to play around the Pacific Northwest area until then, including their residency at the historic Pink Door venue in Pike Place Market every second Friday.


"more a garage-soul band more than anything, but they work in lots of other stuff. (Sam) has loads of stage presence and a strong voice"
Don Slack, KEXP 90.3, Seattle


"Russell is a real rarity in any music scene: a genuine, captivating performer who’s part preacher, part timeless rock and roller who always seems to generate genuine electricity on stage....He’s a refreshing original in this town who’s, somehow, already a star – the rest of us just haven’t figured it out yet."
Jon Rooney, Nada Mucho


"It's easy to be icked out by the term "blue-eyed soul". It conjures images of middle-aged white dudes raping the soul of Sam Cooke and it's been applied to everyone from yacht-rocker Michael McDonald to the Off the Wall stylings of Justin Timberlake. But in the case of Sam Russell's Harborrats, whose past EP's have run the rootsy gamut between the Killer and the Boss, the term is apt."
Ma'chell Duma, Seattle Weekly

"Sam Russell is a performer an audience loves, and just about every musician is loath to follow."
Bart Cameron, Ball of Wax Quarterly


"the doo-wopping local boys in Sam Russell & the Harborrats defy rockabilly cliché and show promise with their unaffected take on blue-eyed soul and rock..."
Hannah Levin, The Stranger


"a Midwestern bizarro version of Springsteen’s Asbury Park circa “The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.”......Like so many artists you gravitate toward, the river runs deep in Russell"
Paddy FIneran, Kenosha News


"As a vocalist he can deliver folk songs, soul songs and rockers....As a songwriter, he seems to have no genre boundaries, and has the ability to write songs that sound like classics from the first listen."
When You Motor Away....blog