It Takes Two: Guitar Duo Russo & Kelly Reflect On Their Busking Career

“We got started busking together in 2009 on accident,” says guitarist Nick Kelly

The instrumental guitar duo of Joey Russo and Nick Kelly, who go by Russo and Kelly for short and currently hosting a GoFundMe to record their new record, produce sweet and technically advanced music played with two guitars and a cajón. 

But you’re more likely to see the two of them performing on main streets across the country before you see them in a traditional music venue. 

WDET’s Ryan Patrick Hooper speaks with the duo about their music and when they first began playing together. 

“We got started busking together in 2009 on accident,” Kelly explains. “We were making more money playing street music than we were in the band we were actually on tour with.” 

For Russo, learning what crowds respond to positively has been a key to their success. 

“We’ve been doing it for so long that you kinda, over the years, see what people react to,” he says. “Whatever people like, you do more of that.” 

Click on the audio player above for the full conversation. 


  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.