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Love & Fear

Tom RussellAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Price: $13.86 & 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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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 21, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Shout Factory
  • ASIN: B000ECX100
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,715 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Pugilist at 59
2. Beautiful Trouble
3. Stealing Electricity
4. Sound of One Heart Breaking
5. Ash Wednesday
6. K.C. Violin
7. Four Chambered Heart
8. Stolen Children
9. It Goes Away
10. All the Fine Young Ladies
11. Old Heart

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tom Russell was born in Los Angeles and now makes his home on the border in El Paso, Texas. He taught school for a year in Nigeria, during the Biafrant War. He lived in Spain, then relocated to Vancouver, B.C., where he started at the bottom of the music business, playing in the strip bars along skid row. With Love & Fear, Tom shakes off his folk troubadour shackles to bare his soul with his most personal recording to date. Rhino. 2006.

Though not a conceptual narrative like his earlier Hotwalker, Love & Fear is Tom Russell offering a rootsy, Southwestern evocation of what Frank Sinatra called "the September of my years"--an album of thematically related material that ranks with his finest. The "love" of the title, in its infinite variety, permeates every track, while the "fear" is less fear of getting old or fear of death than, perhaps, fear of not making the most then of what he knows now. And knowing, in a lustful song such as "Beautiful Trouble," that he's capable of making those same mistakes (if they are mistakes) all over again. The bittersweet romanticism of "The Pugilist at 59" and "Ash Wednesday" could make converts of Springsteen diehards, the narrative of "Stolen Children" is about as bitter as Russell gets, and the rockier propulsion of "Stealing Electricity" and "Four Chambered Heart" pushes his music into edgier territory. "It All Goes Away" and "All the Fine Young Ladies" cast Russell as the older-and-wiser sage, while there's a hint of supper-club lounge in the closing "Old Heart." The spirit of the album feels like a benediction, but the creative vitality suggests that Russell has plenty more to offer. --Don McLeese

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Russell at the Top of His Game April 28, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I am an unabashed Tom Russell fan. Anyone who writes for a living has to be. The first time I heard "The Sky Above, The Mud Below" -- an epic tale of twin Mexican horsethieves who stole the wrong horse from the wrong person ("he was the sheriff, the judge, he owned the hearse -- a man you did not anger") -- I was hooked. But it takes more than good writing to deliver a great song. It also takes solid musicianship and, in the case of a CD/record, good production work. It all comes together on "Love & Fear," a collection of 11 songs that will have anyone over 40 looking in the mirror and wondering if they could have done a better job with the years they've lived so far. Amazingly, there is no "filler" on this album; every song is a keeper in its own unique way. Highlights include "Beautiful Trouble," which warns of falling "in love with women half your age... you've found trouble, beautiful trouble"); "Stealing Electricity," with one of the most engaging chorus hooks in recent memory (just try NOT to sing along!); "Ash Wednesday," a gorgeous duet with the equally gorgeous Grethen Peters; and "All the Fine Young Ladies," a tale of regret and hope that Russell had been honing in his live shows for at least a year prior to the release of this album. Why Russell has not gained more widespread recognition is beyond me. The singing is consistently great, the music is always compelling and the songwriting is beyond stellar. And on "Love & Fear," Russell raises an already extremely high bar to new heights -- a truly magnificent accomplishment. If you don't know Tom Russell, it's time to get acquainted with one of America's musical treasures.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what you see is what you get May 14, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Like Columbus, I was looking for one thing and found another---namely, Tom Russell. Never heard of the guy. Now that I have, I plan on filling out my collection of his stuff. This is not one weak song on this album. Starts off with a strong, I am in the fight now and forever number,"the Pugulist at 59". Got some regret numbers, like "All the fine young woman" and the "sound of one heart breaking" and a few of redemption and of the it will be all right variety, like "It Goes Away." The songs are, in fact all, about Love and Fear. But they are pivot songs, written by someone who has learned a few(well, more than a few) lessons but still has time to put the lessons to use. Like the writer said, life can only be understood looking backwards, but lived going forward. Russell gets that and we are all the better for it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake Up Older and, sometimes Wiser, but not often March 29, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Eddy Arnold once wrote about music by, for and about grown ups. In many ways that is a more apt description of this album than any genre you attempt to classify it in. Much like the witty and wonderful Guy Forsyth and the starkly poetic Lucinda Williams, Tom Russell seems to be that rare artist who actually makes Americana, and like them his making of the music pre-dates it by several decades. He shares with Forsyth and Williams a critical and wry eye towards living in the 50s. "There's a fine line between a heavyweight champ and a used up old clown" he states in "The Pugalist is 59." He then proceeds though a series of songs many of which, like "Beautiful Trouble" and "Four Chambered Hearts" find him on the clown side of the line. Highlights include two heartbreaking numbers "Stolen Babies" ("When parents play get even games they cheat by stealing kids.") and the haunting duet with the awesome Gretchen Peters "Ash Wednesday." But there really aren't any lowlights on this impressive collection. He brings you around full circle and takes you on the trip of a literal lifetime.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another "Non-commercial " hit. May 15, 2007
By Tom
Format:Audio CD
I'm new to his music, and mystified at how so much of life's experiences are packed into the songs. The words are so harmonic and mix perfectly with the instrumentals. All frequencies are rich and pleasing. The selection "KC Violin" alone is worth the price of the disc. How many realize that "Stealing Electricity" is based in fact. I have seen Mexicans throw metal hooks attached to steel cables over power lines and use the stolen power to weld. I had a joyous belly laugh at that song. Phrases like "califlower heart" and many other subtle expressions reflect his unique talent with words. A remarkable production.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tom looks around March 23, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Tom sounding right cranky about that middle age thing. The opener, The Pugilist, grabs with a great hook tied to a twist on caffeine and alcohol for starting the day after. After that, the songs take a run through life, family and love with what starts as bitterness but becomes bittersweet when wrapped around music and time. Getting aged but knowing the alternative is no good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Laurie
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Tom Russell is a master storyteller and songwriter. I do not see how anyone could listen to the song Beautiful Trouble and not be haunted by the music, words and story.
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