Tom Russell has been releasing terrific records without pause since the mid-'70s, and this acoustic, mostly live retrospective package may be the best of the bunch. In fact, after listening to its 17 tracks -- which include duets with Nanci Griffith, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and others -- the only remaining question about Russell is: Why isn't this guy very, very famous? Sure, you can hear lots of influences here -- everyone from Merle Haggard and Buck Owens to Ian Tyson (a sometime collaborator) and Bob Dylan. But the end product is an artist with an instantly recognizable, personal sound. It's a little bit country, a little bit folk, a little bit rock, with lots of great picking, lilting melodies, and consistently first-rate lyrics that sound like the result of experience and conviction, not the desire to impress or score hits -- but he sure does impress. There isn't a clunker in the bunch, but if forced to pick highlights, one might list "Beyond the Blues," a duet with Gilmore; "U.S. Steel," with guitar and vocal reminiscent of early Johnny Cash; "Walkin' on the Moon," which Russell wrote and performs with Katy Moffat; and "Gallo del Cielo," an exuberant south-of the-border excursion.
Performance CreditsTom Russell Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Accordion,Vocals
Jimmie Dale Gilmore Vocals,Track Performer,Vocal Harmony
Nanci Griffith Vocals,Track Performer,Vocal Harmony
Iris DeMent Vocals,Track Performer,Vocal Harmony
Katy Moffatt Vocals,Track Performer
Dave Alvin Vocals,Track Performer
Jeff Berman Percussion
Hank Bones Percussion,Bass Guitar,Tamboura,Lap Steel Guitar,Vocal Harmony
Andrew Hardin Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Tabla,Vocals,tiple,Hi String,Vocal Harmony
David Mansfield Mandolin,Slide Guitar
Technical CreditsTom Russell Producer,Liner Notes
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was driving west toward Houston, listening to the radio when this amazing song, "Mineral Wells," came on. I pulled over to listen to all of it, and wrote down the name of the song and the singer. I stopped in Houston and found this CD. There is not a bad song on it. Furthermore, several of them are indicative of a song-writing genius. For more than a decade this has always been in my favorite top ten CD's. Buy it. You can thank me later.