Tom Russell had been releasing great records for about 25 years by the time he issued this album, but he outdoes himself here. Eight years in the making, The Man from God Knows Where is a song cycle inspired by America's pioneers and, particularly, Russell's own immigrant ancestors; but it probably comes at least as much from the artist's imagination as from historical fact. Be that as it may, he does a terrific job of conjuring up the hard realities faced by America's early immigrants. The performances, meanwhile, are even more adventurous than you've come to expect from Russell. Featuring guest spots by Iris DeMent, Dave Van Ronk and others, the album mixes music of the American West with that of Ireland and Norway and, somehow, it all holds together. A fine, fine collection.
The Man from God Knows Where Review
by Jeff Burger