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Singer songwriter, painter, essayist - Tom Russell has recorded thirty five highly acclaimed records, & published five books: 120 Songs of Tom Russell; Tough Company - Letters with Charles Bukowski; Blue Horse Red Desert: the Art of Tom Russell; Blodsport a crime novel published by Aschehoug, Norway; and - And Then I Wrote: The Songwriter Speaks, with Sylvia Tyson.
Tom Russell songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Doug Sahm, Nanci Griffith, K.D. Lang, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Ian Tyson, Iris Dement, Joe Ely, and a hundred others.
Tom Russell graduated from The University of California with a Master's Degree in Criminology. He was recently awarded the 2015 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism
In 2015 Russell released a 52 track "folk opera" on the West, The Rose of Roscrae, was deemed: maybe the most important Americana record of all time by UK Folk, the top Folk album of 2105 by Mojo Magazine, and hailed in top ten lists in two dozen publications including The Los Angeles Times. He has appeared on the David Letterman TV show five times.
His latest release (May 2016) is The Tom Russell Anthology 2 (Gunpowder Sunsets) - 19 Tracks.
Recent Quotes on Tom Russell: July 2016
(May 2016) These songs on The Tom Russell Anthology 2: Gunpowder Sunsets leaves me in anticipation of whatever might be coming next from the best songwriter of my generation.
Mike Regenstreiff, Montreal Gazette, Sing Out
Tom Russell is Johnny Cash, Jim Harrison and Charles Bukowski rolled into one. I feel a great affinity with Tom Russell's songs, for he is writing out of the wounded heart of America.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Poet)
Tom Russell is an original, a brilliant songwriter with a restless curiosity and an almost violent imagination. "Blood and Candle Smoke" is vintage Russell, and the Graham Greene connection is a 'beaut.
Annie Proulx (The Shipping News, Brokeback Mountain)
Tom Russell is the last great American voice.
Ken Bruen (The Dramatist, The Cross)
How great is Tom Russell? Isn't he the best? I'd like to quit my job and travel with him...if the money can be worked out...
David Letterman, Late Night with David Letterman
The greatest living folk-country songwriter is a man named Tom Russell...John Swenson, Rolling Stone
Tom Russell is the best songwriter of the generation following Bob Dylan...
The Montreal Gazette
"The Rose of Roscrae" - Recent 2015/2016 Reviews:
The #1 Album of the Year, The Irish Post, Joe Giltrap, Dec 19. 2015.
The album of the year goes to Tom Russell's terrific The Rose of Roscrae...a great piece of work and a fine testament to a wonderfully talented singer songwriter.
Los Angeles Times Top Ten Albums, Dec. 2015,
Masterful songwriter Russell enlists the help of friends and peers such as Maura O'Connell and others over a staggering 52 tracks in an extraordinary piece of Americana with an expansive narrative and scope.
MOJO Magazine, The Top Folk Album of 2015 (Dec 2015)
UNCUT Magazine "Album of the Month" - June 2015
It is an epic tale, a blend of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Berthold Brecht, Cormac McCarthy and Louis L'Amour, thick with references to U.S. history, music and myth...the scope is majestic, the ambition outrageous and the music magnificent. A unique accomplishment. Peter Watts, UNCUT
A bravely original epic.
The Guardian, UK. 4/5 stars, April 10, 2015
A game changer - it could just be the single most important Americana release of all time.
Folk Radio, UK
Best Country Music Albums of 2015: The Telegraph UK
A bold two-disc country-folk-rock opera about a young 19th-century Irish immigrant drawn to a new life as a cowboy in the west after a failed love affair. It's a sprawling beast of an album and a remarkable piece of creativity. ★★★★
It is novelistic in scope, full of detailed historiography and musical verve, a proud addition to the great American tradition of the immigrant epic. Financial Times, UK, 4/18
This time, Russell's previous western albums collide with Les Miserables and David Milch's "Deadwood." The result is a staggering feat of the imagination. No other living singer-songwriter even contemplates making albums like this one.
Craig McDonald, Author, The Hector Lassiter Series
The journey is Homeric...Real and fictional characters are hard-stitched into his seamless narrative...soulful and moving for its reach...Russell's view of history may be romantic but it is also gritty as hell, and enduring. This is his masterpiece.
Thom Jurek, All Music Guide, April 14, 2015
Yet another masterwork. It is a work of rare ambition and rare brilliance that is beautifully and artfully executed. There is an embarrassment of riches among the songs Tom composed for The Rose of Roscrae.
Mike Regenstreif, Folk Roots/Folk Branches, Sing Out, Montreal Gazette
Russell's Roscrae masterpiece, as well as his back catalogue, totally outstrips (so much of) the music by contemporaries that masquerades as Americana. Approached very much in the panoramic spirit of classical composer Aaron Copland...
Arthur Wood, No Depression, April 2015