Tom Russell, with Nancy Cook, Saturday, January 27, at Swallow Hill Music Hall, is another of those artists who's discovered that the gap between folk and country is, commercially speaking, a chasm. While Russell's songs have been successfully covered by artists such as Joe Ely and Nanci Griffith, his own recordings, featuring his deeply authentic vocals and tasteful arrangements, have been tougher sells. But as is clear from his 1995 HighTone Records release The Rose of the San Joaquin (co-produced by the Blasters' Dave Alvin), Russell is a tunesmith with a genuine feel for the West and a rare ability to wring eloquent truths from the simplest and most straightforward of tales. He has fine stories to tell. Now he just needs more people to hear him tell them.


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