Tag Archives: Tom Russell

Tom Russell. Brudenell Social Club. 26.11.2017

Not the first review of Tom Russell on the site and hopefully not the last. There have been times over the years when Tom must have been a casting director’s first choice for a dwarf in ‘Snow White, The Musical’, (the one whose name begins with a ‘G’), but he is comparatively Ken Dodd-like nowadays.

As usual, he has a new record (his 36th?)  to plug ( ‘Folk Hotel’), and we get plenty of tracks from it.  Many references to other songwriters/poets, viz. Ian Tyson, Bob Dylan, Dylan Thomas, Hank Williams, Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams… Plus an ode to JFK*.  Mr R always gives us an insight into each set of lyrics and there have never been any  Moon, June , Spoon – type songs.  I must add that there has been a number of observations about ‘The Sparrow of Swansea’ having a chord structure not unadjacent to a very popular Ralph McTell song though!

As well as the very good new songs, there are plenty of older singalongs for his public to get stuck into. ‘Tonight We Ride’, ‘Blue Wing’, ‘Stealing Electricity’, ‘St Olav’s Gate’ , ‘Veterans’ Day’ and ‘East of Woodstock…’ have all aged well. And ‘Who’s Gonna Build  Your Wall’ has taken on a whole new relevance. A bit of Johnny Cash in the encore was a reminder of how the late JC was a fan too.

A raconteur par excellence, he was on the main stage today, a much better place to be in than last time in the smaller room (the latter was akin to a bijou cinema).   His songwriting never falls below great and it makes it difficult to recommend a start point for any Russell virgins out there.

Invest in a ticket for a date on his UK tour and join those of us ‘in the know’.

*His intro to his song about JFK is interesting. It revolves around playing (American) football the day of the assassination. Mr R’s age is difficult to pin down. March 5 seems agreed but year of birth is down as 1947, 1949 or 1953, depending on which of three websites you look at. So at least two examples of ‘Fake News’ but which is correct?  Answers to Mrs. Jessica Fletcher please.



Tom Russell. Brudenell Social Club. 11.10.2015

It’s been a couple of years since we last saw Mr Russell (see earlier review). Last time , at the Sage in Gateshead  (for free), he had Thad Beckman accompanying him. Tonight it is some young Italian guitarist.  For some time he has been touring his latest record, ‘The Rose of Roscrae, A Ballad of the West’. The tw0 set show has featured mainly songs from that in the first half, with a ‘hits’ (?) second set.

8.00 pm kick-off, and into ‘Carrickfergus’. ‘Hair Trigger Heart’ follows and Tom is basically taking all the vocals from the songs off his afore-mentioned record. No easy task, as there are quite a few collaborators on the two and a half hour, 52 track magnum opus. And he is positively jovial…almost!  The first set of an hour includes the likes of ‘…Bad Kid’, ‘Guadalupe’,and ‘I talk to God’, finishing with a rousing oldie,  ‘Tonight we Ride’.

A break of about 20 minutes and they are back. ‘St Olav’s Gate’ is followed by the more recent ‘East of Woodstock…’ and given that there are decades between them, it shows how his songwriting muse has remained at the highest level. ( We do, of course, get a tw*t behind us who knows all the words, and seems to think we have come to listen to HIM!  I know the words too .B*ST*RD!)  ‘Nina Simone’, ”Stealing Electricity’ and ‘California Snow’ all maintain the impeccable quality, and ‘Who’s Gonna Build your Wall’ is even more topical today, given Donald Trump’s buffoonery.  The classic ‘Blue Wing’ came as the first encore, and Mr R paid homage to The Kinks. Rocking out with ‘Haley’s Comet’, he looked genuinely happy.

He is a great raconteur as well. Here playing to 100 or so, when a bloody Pink Floyd tribute show can fill the Albert Hall and charge £50 a ticket!  (No, I am not talking about David Gilmour!)  And there is really a God?!   I first discovered him via a 50p used cd from the local library. For the uninitiated , get onto YouTube now.

Photos not 10 out of 10, Her ladyship forgot her camera.