Tom Russell

Tom Russell

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Tom Russell Review

by William Ruhlmann

This five-track EP, available from www.hightone.com and at Tom Russell's gigs, is an extension of his 2004 album Indians Cowboys Horses Dogs. The first track, "Tonight We Ride," drawn from the album, is a Russell original about a cowboy/soldier/outlaw who rode with Black Jack Pershing against Pancho Villa. It is followed by three previously unreleased tracks from the Indians Cowboys Horses Dogs sessions that easily would have fit on that album, which mixed in a high complement of cover material. Ian Tyson's "Old Cheyenne" is a cowboy lament; Bob Dylan's "John Wesley Harding" mythologizes another outlaw; and Will McLean's "Osceola's Last Words" eulogizes the Native American chief. The final track, drawn from Russell's previous album, Modern Art, discusses a different Old West, as the singer recites a passage of Charles Bukowski's writing reflecting on changes in Los Angeles over intertwining acoustic guitar accompaniment and concludes with a verse and chorus from Warren Zevon's "Carmelita." In miniature, the disc presents Russell's interest in Western music, into which he is able to incorporate various tangential elements.

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