Tom Russell

The Western Years

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Along with The Long Way Around, another acoustic package also released in 1997, Song of the West was Tom Russell's attempt to sum up the previous ten years of his career on two newly recorded CDs. This package, which he calls "our definitive cowboy collection," focuses on his best-loved covers and originals about life in the Southwest. Among the 15 tracks: a live version of "The Sky Above, the Mud Below," a deftly told tale of horse thieves in the old West; a great reading of "Navajo Rug," which Russell wrote with Ian Tyson; "Alkalai," which he first recorded in 1976 with then-partner Patricia Hardin; and "Gallo del Dielo," a musically and lyrically marvelous original about a Mexican who tries to raise money to buy back land that had been stolen from his father. The Long Way Around probably offers the best introduction to Russell, but if you like that, by all means run out and get this album as well.

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