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Borderland


Price: $14.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Audio CD, April 17, 2001
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Amazon's Tom Russell Store

Music

Image of album by Tom Russell

Photos

Image of Tom Russell

Biography

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

Visit Amazon's Tom Russell Store
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: #157,753 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

Amazon.com

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

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
This is simply a great CD.
william thomas
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.
Jay Marvin
The story he weaves of unrepented love and loss is unforgettable.
mfosnaugh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "naima" on August 2, 2001
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 By Jay Marvin on 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 By John Standiford VINE VOICE on 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 By Victoria E. Gallucci on 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 By hyperbolium on May 1, 2001
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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