TOM RUS­SELL

Folk Ho­tel ★★★

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - JOE BREEN

Proper Records

Amer­i­cana vet­eran, writer and painter Tom Rus­sell is rarely short of a word or six, though in fair­ness his rich past has gen­er­ated great sto­ries. They range from mem­o­ries of New York’s bo­hemian Chelsea Ho­tel, to El Paso and bor­der lore, to meet­ing JFK be­fore cross­ing the At­lantic, to songs cit­ing Dylan Thomas, Belfast, Dublin and Copen­hagen. And when Rus­sell writes about con­tem­po­rary is­sues, such as Amer­i­can white work­ing class anx­i­ety in Har­lan

Clancy, he does so with em­pa­thy and un­der­stand­ing. He bor­rows oc­ca­sion­ally and tends to over­drama­tise, but there is an evoca­tive sense of time and place in his the­atri­cal word pic­tures. There are 14 tracks, blues and folk, none bet­ter than Scars on

His An­kles, Rus­sell’s nine-minute tale of the time writer Grover Lewis and blues­man Light­nin’ Hop­kins shared “trou­ble in mind”. tom­rus­sell.com

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