Accompanied by the smokin’ hot guitar pickin’ skills of his Italian sidekick, Max di Bernadi, the bold and brash troubadour upholding the traditions of the West, rambled through a pair of hour long sets with projected passion and an innate ability to stir the immortal cauldron of prose, poetry and song. Ultimately Tom Russell is a true artisan and all assembled partisans were enshrouded in the warmth and sincerity of his desire to entertain with a strong message.
It was eight years since Tom Russell had last been caught live and this seemed just like a mere flash when he threw in ‘Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall’ as the evening’s pre-encore finale. Given a timely renewal by the comments of Donald Trump, the fired up Russell continues to champion the underdog and folks needed little invitation to share both the words and the sentiment. Forever mischievous with no shortage of irony, Russell orchestrated the evening with equal amounts of wit, observation and the sheer totality of mastering the art of the meaningful folk song. By the time ‘Touch of Evil’ had served as the show’s climax, it was straight to the merch table to seal the deal of audience inclusion.
If you are not excited by an event filled with enlightened onstage chat and ramblings, Tom Russell may not be up your street, but you will be missing out on one of America’s great musical preachers encapsulating all that is marvellous about capturing history within the realms of folk music. Being brought up in Southern California and spending many years frequenting border locations such as El Paso and Santa Fe, the spiritual excitement and the plight of the Mexican people is etched far into his heart, as much as the romanticism and reality of the cowboy. Listening to Tom Russell for two hours is a mind stretching experience and one highly recommended for anyone remotely interested in the quintessential history of the wider concept of Americana.
Review of The Rose of Roscrae