STIRLING musician Chris Russell has been announced as the latest recruit for the Thistles Shopping Centre's campaign to celebrate local talent.

The centre launched the #StirlingShines project to highlight the inspirational achievements of young people in the area.

And Chris, 30, who lives in Stirling is no stranger to the spotlight

As the resident pianist of Rusty’s Travelling Piano Bar, the UK’s first "musical reception on wheels" which he founded with wife Billie, a professional chef and marketing guru, Chris knows the ingredients for a memorable celebration.

Speaking about Thistles' #StirlingShines project, Chris said: “I was delighted to take part in the campaign. It is a great initiative to shine a spotlight on local talent and for Billie and myself to share our story of Rusty’s.

"I’ve performed across the world to a wide variety of audiences, but my visit to Thistles with my melodica was a first. I really enjoyed the experience and hope shoppers enjoyed hearing the music too.”

Gary Turnbull, centre director of Thistles, added: “It was a pleasure to welcome Chris into the centre and his appearance certainly brought some star quality to shoppers who were fortunate to hear him play.

"We would like to thank Chris for being part of our campaign and wish him every continued success with Rusty’s and his musical endeavours.”

Chris grew up in a musical family: His mother performs with Scottish Opera and his father with Leeds Opera North. 

Along with younger sister Pauline, who also works at Scottish Opera, Chris was immersed in set productions and rehearsals from a young age. This exposure to creativity has clearly stood him in good stead for a career as a professional musician.

While studying music at Strathclyde University at the age of 18, he was invited to join Scotland’s renowned Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

Playing piano in the trailblazing band for four years saw him tour the world and headline barnstorming sell-out gigs in the US, China, India, South Korea and Europe, as well as the biggest music festivals including T in the Park, RockNess, HebCelt and Lorien.

Indeed, it was at a festival that the "cosy musical bar in a horsebox" lightbulb moment happened. And through the Princes Trust network, Chris and Billie were able to bring their idea to life.

As well as touring a busy diary with Rusty’s, Chris performs with the incredible Killer City Sound, the five-piece band that has rocked the infamous Gleneagles Hogmanay Party for four consecutive years now.

He is also working on a new album with his band, The Byson Family, who are performing with rocker Phil Campbell at St Luke’s in Glasgow on the December 18.To find out more about #StirlingShines, and share your story about a local hero, visit