He records about an album a year and tours the world regularly.
He's even had a concert hall and a street named for him in Spain, where he lives.
For each one, he concentrates on one composer:
Bach, Giuliani, Rodrigo, Barrios — or one style:
Baroque, Renaissance, even a CD of Celtic music.
His latest, Sonidos Latinos, features guitar music from Latin America.
As with all of his other projects, Russell spent a year immersing himself in the music and culture of his chosen subject.
"The guitar can be a very noisy instrument," he says.
So Russell has perfected his technique, working tirelessly on fingerings that eliminate those squeaky sounds of fingers sliding over frets.
Russell got his Scottish accent and his love of the guitar from his parents.
He was born in Glasgow, but moved to Minorca in Spain as a child, when his artistic parents loaded up the van and headed for warmer climes.
His first lessons were from his father, an amateur guitarist and full-time painter.
Russell says that after a while, he realized he could play better than his dad, and that's when he decided "to become the guitarist in the family."
On tour in support of his new album, Sonidos Latinos, Russell dropped by the NPR Music offices to play a few classics of the guitar repertoire.
Listen to the exquisite rippled notes as they spin by in his first piece by Barrios, while in Couperin's "Les Silvains," two separate melodies intertwine like clockwork.
And then there's Russell's signature warm tone in Albeniz's "Granada," the classic which capped off the concert.
Tiny Desk Concert
Augustin Barrios: "Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios"
Francois Couperin: "Les Silvains"