For those unfamiliar with his work, Tom Russell's music is broadly in the country tradition but is imbued with elements of folk, Tex-Mex, blues and much more. A consummate storyteller, Russell’s songs are often cinematic in scope and populated by characters, real and imagined, as wild and vivid as the landscapes in which they’re set. Simply put, if you wanted to choose one performer to personify what is meant by Americana, then you could do no better than by choosing Tom Russell.
With over twenty solo, band and collaborative albums to his name, the Tom Russell songbook has provided many rich pickings for other artists. Johnny Cash, Nanci Griffith, Doug Sahm, Joe Ely, kd lang, and Iris Dement are just some of the musicians who have covered his songs. Russell’s many collaborators include desert rock band, Calexico, and the cult writer, Charles Bukowski.
His performance at Lyde Court was truly memorable, bringing his stories of the American badlands to the ancient tithe barn in one of the most bucolic English settings imaginable.
Here's Tom performing The Ballad of Edward Abbey - a tribute to the author of The Monkey Wrench Gang and some other great books and one of the people who inspired Earth First, so a hero of mine.