|October in the Railroad Earth
Tom Russell’s latest recording of original compositions, October in the Railroad Earth, is set for CD and vinyl release March 15, 2019, on Frontera Records in North America and Proper Records for the rest of the world. He describes the songs and sound as “Jack Kerouac meets Johnny Cash in Bakersfield.”
Bill Kirchen is featured on lead electric guitar, Eliza Gilkyson adds vocals, and the Grammy® Award-winning Texmaniacs appear on “Isadore Gonzalez,” about a Mexican cowboy who died in England during a performance of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The record contains nine other originals, including the title song from the Irish film Small Engine Repair, and a cover of the traditional “Wreck of the Old 97.”
October in the Railroad Earth follows the acclaimed 2017 Frontera/Proper album Folk Hotel and Russell’s tribute to Ian & Sylvia on True North Records, Play One More, both receiving worldwide acclaim. Between major releases in 2018, Russell recorded the Bruce Springsteen track “Across The Border” for the three-disc Appleseed Records anniversary sampler, Roots and Branches, and issued a re-recording of early classics on Frontera, Old Songs Yet To Sing.
Russell’s previous album of new original material was the 2015 “folk opera” that Thom Jurek of allmusic.com hailed as Tom’s masterpiece, The Rose of Roscrae. Named “The top folk album of 2015” by Mojo magazine, Roscrae was also lauded as “maybe the most important Americana record of all time” by UK Folk. The album was included in top ten lists of dozens of publications, including the Los Angeles Times.
In 2007, on one of Russell’s five appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, he debuted the controversial “Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall?” which has since gone viral.
Tom Russell’s songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Doug Sahm, Nanci Griffith, k.d. lang, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dave Alvin, Iris DeMent, Dave Van Ronk, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Joe Ely, Tom Paxton, Ian Tyson, and Joe Ely, among many others.
Tom Russell graduated from the University of California with a Master’s degree in Criminology and taught Sociology in Nigeria during the Biafran War.
|“For the longtime fan or the beginner, these songs are unlike anyone else's and thank goodness, for this is an honest to goodness look at the rambling, contentious, and sometimes uneven career of one of our own lineage song poets on the shelves. Get it before it's gone.” - AllMusicGuide
“You’ll feel as if you’re sitting fireside with Tom Russell after listening to this two-disc compilation of 37 of the singer-songwriter’s best songs….Duets with Shawn Colvin, Ian Tyson, and Nanci Griffith are also included in this comprehensive anthology, which showcases Russell’s cowboy influence and compelling storytelling style.”- American Cowboy
“Just about every song on this wonderful career-spanning two-CD anthology is either like an atmospheric film or a miniature novel, filled with dust, grit and desperate characters. But while Russell's storytelling gifts are pretty much without parallel, it would be a shame to neglect his melodies, which instantly burn themselves in your mind, and the stellar musicianship of his accompanists. This must-have introduction to an imposing body of work- which comes with informative track-by-track commentary… will wow the uninitiated who like their roots music with an edge. *****” – Montreal Gazette
Veteran’s Day is the most comprehensive survey of Tom Russell’s music available, and musically illustrates his importance as a performer and songwriter. – Nashville City Paper
"A behemouth of the American Folk Scene, with 25 albums under his belt...he's the kind of musician that makes other musicians gush. Each rambling tune he performs holds the package of a lifetime, and no previews knowledge of his enormous catalogue is necessary to appreciate his mastery. Good Times (Santa Cruz, CA)
“I've always said the real poets in this country are the folk singers like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Tom Russell-- not the poets of the written word. I've just listened again to your "Man from God Knows Where," and it's a true American classic. It's the real voice of the American experience, down on the ground, sounding through old time America.” - Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the last beat poet and owner of City Lights Bookstore