Tom Russell

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Borderland Review

by Jeff Burger

Tom Russell proves once again to be perhaps the finest American folk-roots artist that most Americans never heard of. The title of this latest collection reflects a focus on the El Paso-Juarez area, but also on emotional geography and the borders between a man and a woman. Some of the skillfully told stories are clearly autobiographical; all of them paint detailed, memorable portraits. Russell is singing and playing as well as ever here, but he gets an added boost on this disc from producer Gurf Morlix, who has filled the same role for Lucinda Williams and Robert Earl Keen. Morlix helped pick the songs and the band -- which includes such standouts as accordionist Joel Guzman and longtime Russell cohort Andrew Hardin on guitar -- and put them all to good use in a production that keeps Russell's world-weary voice front and center.

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