Russ started playing stringed instruments with his first ukulele in 5th grade purchased with S+H Green stamps in Dover, NJ. After a brief stint in heavy metal bands in his early high school years, he discovered bluegrass which led to a life-long love of acoustic music. At his first night at Moravian College, he met John Gorka where they were both playing at an open mic. They soon formed the now legendary Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band and were joined the following year by Rich Shindell on lead guitar. Throughout all four years of college, they played in the Lehigh Valley centering on Godfrey Daniel's and the south side of Bethlehem, PA. After college, Russ went to medical school and John and Rich went on to well-deserved fame and glory in the folk music world. During his medical training, Russ continued to pursue his passion of acoustic music and picked up hammer and mountain dulcimer, fiddle, Dobro, autoharp and bouzouki. He also started building hammer dulcimers and uses his own instrument on stage. His debut CD "Acoustic Minstrel" made it into the list of top CD's played in April 2004 on folk radio stations and has garnered several positive reviews.Two tracks from this CD have won awards in national song writing contests. Scarecrow's Lament, his latest release, is a collection of 14 tracks of pure acoustic enjoyment. 11 of the songs are ballads that Russ wrote that tell the tepid tales of a misanthropic scarecrow, impaired physicians, reluctant pontiffs and the true story of how his Grandma lost her eye and he got her violin. Some songs are knee-slapping funny and others are quite moving. There are also 3 instrumentals tastefully arranged on bouzouki, hammer dulcimer, autoharp, mandolin, and fiddle. One tune uses a total of 118 strings! (This guy has way too much time on his hands) The title track of this new CD, "Scarecrow's Lament" has won honorable mention in the 2005 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest. NPR's Car Talk just featured "New Car Smell," another track from this CD. "He is a gifted songwriter as well as fine musician." SingOut Magazine 2004 "There is a sweetness and sincerity that cannot be manufactured and it thrives in Russ Rentler's music. This is a man in love with music and making music and it shows." The Muse's Muse.