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Tom RussellAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Price: $17.22 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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It would be easy for Tom Russell to coast on reputation alone. With a career stretching back nearly four decades, and a catalog of more than 20 albums, the consummate storyteller has amassed a devoted following that cherishes his vivid, novelistic tales evoking the spirit of the American experience in tightly constructed, panoramic vignettes. Among his most ardent fans are fellow artists: ... Read more in Amazon's Tom Russell Store

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for 23 albums, 3 photos, discussions, and more.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 17, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Shout Factory
  • ASIN: B00005AVE3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,698 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Touch Of Evil
2. Down The Rio Grande
3. When Sinatra Played Juarez
4. Where The Dream Begins
5. Hills Of Old Juarez
6. The Santa Fe Midnight
7. The Next Thing Smokin'
8. California Snow
9. Let It Go
10. What Works Is
11. The Road It Gives, The Road It Takes Away

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Borderland's guitar and accordion evoke the cantinas of the Texas-Mexico border, but most of the songs here concern what the album-opening "Touch of Evil" calls "the borderline between a woman and a man." Raised in California, veteran troubadour Tom Russell moved a few years ago to the corner of Texas where El Paso meets Juarez, following his songwriting muse into territory that he probes to richly evocative effect throughout these narratives. Though his voice tends toward the wooden ("Hills of Old Juarez" could pass as a Johnny Cash demo) and his melodies too often provide the barest support for his storylines, the help of producer Gurf Morlix, accordionist Joel Guzman, keyboardist Ian McLagan, and singers Eliza Gilkyson and Jimmy LaFave add warmth and range. Highlights extend from the bittersweet balladry of "Where the Dream Begins" to the melodic lilt of "Let It Go," with Dave Alvin, Katy Moffatt, and Russell's longtime guitarist Andrew Hardin collaborating on other material. --Don McLeese

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Russell is always the best August 2, 2001
By "naima"
Format:Audio CD
I was impatiently expecting the release of Borderland. The day I bought it was a rainy and grey day. I immediately played it; the notes of "Touch of evil" filled the room, the sound of the accordion and his warm voice quickly surrounded me and transformed the day. I couldn't help falling in love with this CD.
All the songs are wonderful, the stories are real, you can figure the movie in your head while he suggests the plot. His voice caresses you. I think this album is somewhat more intimate than others, there's something subtle in the atmospheres he evokes, anyway it is pure Tom Russell 18K. The theme of the border, recurring in most of his works, here is a perfect background; sometimes the border is the divide between one world and another, between north and south, poor and rich, light and darkness, the border is that shade of grey that links, or divide, black and white. All songs are beautiful, but my favourite are "Where the dream begins" "Down the Rio Grande" and Dave Alvin's "California snow" I like very much the cover too.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting Textures of Song September 14, 2001
Format:Audio CD
This is quite possibly the spookiest record you may ever hear. Russell has created a landscape of spooky characters, spooky stories, and even spookier songs. The concept of the album is that we all put up borders in our lives and getting over those borders is the real challenge. If you like to cry, laugh, let it all hang out and party, then Tom Russell's "Borderland" is the next CD you should buy. By the way, I painted the album cover. Do you like?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Stories on this CD than in Many Books June 26, 2001
Format:Audio CD
My favorite music are songs that can tell a moving story. Sometimes it's a love song and sometimes its political commentary but in any case, I want a story that can be as compelling as something in Oprah's Book Club.
There are a few songwriters around who continue to write this way and can also perform with flair. Dave Alvin is among the best and he cites Tom Russell as a songwriter he admires. The new CD Borderland by Tom Russell is a perfect example of masterful songwriting, performed well by great musicians and sung with Russell's expressive (although sometimes flat) vocals.
Some of the songs on this CD are true classics. Touch of Evil, When Sinatra Played Juarez, and the Santa Fe at Midnight are great stories, mixed with a catchy melody and great instrumental backing.
Two of the songs are collaborations with Dave Alvin. Rio Grande and California Snow are two haunting songs that will stay with you. Alvin recorded a better version of California Snow on his CD Blackjack David, but Russell's version is strong as well. Finally, Next Thing Smoking is a train song that will remind you of a few of the songs on Alvin's Grammy Award winning Public Domain.
In closing, a word about Russell and his live performances. Russell is a very engagin live performer and tours with guitarist Andrew Hardin. Andrew is an incredible guitarist and is worth the price of admission on his own. He plays on this CD and also does backing vocals. When you combine him with Russell's storytelling in a live show, you have an evening that is very memorable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the stuff October 12, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I was introduced to Tom Russell's music last night at a great, intimate concert in Montclair NJ. The ridiculously talented Andrew Hardin stood strumming at his side. Together they performed just about every song on this CD. This is the stuff.
The good stuff. Lyrics that take you on a long ride, rich melodies, cantina style guitar riffs. I bought the CD after the concert and should have gotten a speeding ticket for how fast I raced home to play it. "Touch of Evil" is a great homage to Orson's last and most bizarre film. If "When Sinatra Played Juarez" doesn't get you singing along, have your ears and your head examined. "California Snow" - a story seldom told, What Work Is, The Road it Gives - songs to cool to be butchered in praise by a hack like me. If you like Tom Russell, this is a must have. If you are new to him, this is the place to start.
Nuff said.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Russell's latest lyrics focus on the physical, interpersonal, and musical borders permeating his life. Inspired by a move to the Mexican border of Texas, he explores geographic and cultural gaps, and the interpersonal walls demarcating relationships. His music bridges acoustic, introspective folk with electric, outspoken regions of country and rock.
The variety of musical flavors, courtesy of Joel Guzman's accordion, Gurf Morlix's and Andrew Hardin's guitars, and Rick Richard's drums, augment what are basically folk songs. Russell's storytelling has its analogs in the country world (e.g., Tom T. Hall), and there's a good helping of the cowboy song's romanticism and imagery, but at their heart, his introspective, literate lyrics are that of a singer/songwriter. The band assembled by producer Gurf Morlix (who's previously produced Lucinda Williams and Buddy Miller, among others) fleshes things out with a variety of flavors, including lilting, Tex-Mex accordion from Guzman (Los Lobos, Los Super Seven, Joe Ely).
The opener, "Touch of Evil," unreels like a film, with a personal story fleshed out by flashbacks and memories. The parallels drawn between the chill of a faltering relationship and the noir tawdriness of Orson Welles' film draws a blurry line between source story and Hollywood storytelling. The slight-of-hand with which Welles produced a Mexican border town from the dead canals of Venice, California underlines the sense of illusion. The similarly storied "Sinatra Played Juarez," contrasts a filmic illusion of the past with the realities of today's every day living.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Treasure
Tom Russell is a prolific and terrific singer/songwriter. I've had this on CD since the day it was issued...I think it is arguably his best work. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nanker Phelge
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a really good album!
I really like this album, the trumpet and harp and concertina in the background really add to the guitar and voice.
Published on December 25, 2011 by Douglas W. Teeter
4.0 out of 5 stars The Borders Of The Mind
The last time that I reviewed a CD by the singer/songwriter Tom Russell was his album, about the Irish disapora- "The Man From God Knows Where". Read more
Published on May 23, 2010 by Alfred Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-Commercial Art At It's Best
Do you go through your ripped music and pull out only those songs that suit your fancy for your playlists? You don't have to with this music. Read more
Published on March 9, 2007 by Tom
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I never heard of this guy
I read a review of this CD while on business in St. Louis. I consider myself as at least somewhat savvy about americana and folk music - but I had never heard of Tom Russell. Read more
Published on February 5, 2004 by mfosnaugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Literary and Musical Beauty
This past summer, I commuted an hour and a half each way to an English teaching position. I popped a CD recommended to me by our local musical guru into my CD player. Read more
Published on October 1, 2003 by Mary Edgerly
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant mood
No one writes and records as consistently brilliant vignettes as Tom Russell. Just when I think he can't possibly top himself (The Man From God Knows Where), he does just that. Read more
Published on January 25, 2002 by Leslie Giraudeier
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Worth It
I never heard of Tom Russell until I heard him on a local radio station during a fundraiser. If you like Tex-Mex, you will like this recording. Read more
Published on November 4, 2001 by kenneth l cady
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Songwriter
This is excellent storytelling of the finest Bardic traditon, this coming from someone who does not as a rule listen to either folk or country and western music. Read more
Published on October 16, 2001 by Brooser Bear
4.0 out of 5 stars I worked the buffet table!
This is a grittier, more haunting Russell than we've seen in recent outings, and it works on so many levels. Highly recommended. Read more
Published on July 20, 2001
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