The Scotsman Sessions #145: Lizabett Russo

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here, singer-songwriter Lizabett Russo performs Release from new album While I Sit and Watch this Tree Volume1

Even the most extraordinary and idiosyncratic of voices require some honing. The teenage Kate Bush may appear to have arrived fully formed at the age of 18 but she had been mentored by Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour and nurtured by her label for a number of years before making her debut. Here in Scotland, Kathryn Joseph had been writing and performing for 17 years before going proper public with her SAY Award-winning album bones you have thrown me.

Edinburgh-based Transylvanian artist Lizabett Russo is poised to make a similarly bewitching impact with the release of her latest album, While I Sit and Watch This Tree, having developed her haunting east-west jazz-folk invocations across a number of releases before working on this lockdown gem with her partner, guitarist/composer Graeme Stephen, and remote guest players including fiddler Aidan O’Rourke, Dutch cellist Oene van Geel and German percussionist Udo Dermadt.

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“I miss interacting with people,” she says. “Online it's not the same. We are human beings, not machines after all.”

Russo moved to Aberdeen aged 18 to study social sciences and only then did she start writing songs, developing her voice at open mic nights during a gap year in London and then relocating to Edinburgh where she creates her eco-soundscapes at home in “one tiny room I call ‘the studio.’”

Her very special Scotsman Sessions performance in said space is a spare but sonorous rendition of album track Release, chosen “because I/we have a lot to let go of. I hope it uplifts people a bit.”

On an equally holistic note, Russo is currently studying herbalism. “I plan to grow a medicinal herb garden in order to explore the songs and sounds of plants,” she says. Down to earth and out of this world.

While I Sit and Watch This Tree Volume1 is released by Last Night from Glasgow on 27 November. Russo will perform a live streamed album launch at 8pm that night, info here: Support Russo on Patreon: To buy the new album, visit

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