Tom Russell was born in Los Angeles in 1950 and now makes his home, on the border in El Paso, Texas. He has recorded seventeen albums of original material and has written such classics as "Navajo Rug," "Gallo del Cielo," "Blue Wing," "Walking on the Moon," "St. Olav's Gate," and "Outbound Plane." Russell's songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark, Doug Sahm, Dave Alvin, Joe Ely, Ian Tyson, Suzy Bogguss, Iris DeMent, Peter Case, k.d. lang, Bob Neuwirth, Sylvia Tyson, Katy Moffatt . . . and many others.
Russell's acclaimed tribute to Merle Haggard, Tulare Dust, co-produced with Dave Alvin, was responsible for creating what came to be known as the "Americana" radio format. It was that format's longest running number
Russell's roots song-cyle, "The Man From God Knows Where," released in 1999, was called by John Lomax "one of the most important folk records ever recorded." The record featured Iris DeMent, Dolores Keane, Dave Van Ronk's last recordings, and a cameo recording of Walt Whitman. Rolling Stone and UPI-syndicated-journalist John Swenson stated: "Russell is one of America's greatest songwriters . . . this record is as close to a Homeric treatment of American history as we're ever likely to see . . . when somebody is looking for the equivalent of the Harry Smith anthology in the middle of the next century, The Man From God Knows Where is what they'll discover."
Borderland was released on Hightone in 2001. It was produced by Gurf Morlix, noted producer of many of Lucinda Williams' records. Sing Out wrote: "Tom Russell raised the bar pretty high with The Man From God Knows Where. The next CD would be like Orson Welles filming a follow-up to Citizen Kane. Fortunately, Russell continues growing as an artist and has chosen to grow in a substantially different direction, in style and substance, with Borderland.
Billboard said: " Russell is a major talent, and Borderland ranks among his finest work."
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