Thursday, June 01, 2006

Love & Fear

Crossposted at HickoryWind.
This album comes courtesy of Yesterday and Today Records in Parramatta, go and spend alot of money there. Believe me, that is easy to do.

Tom Russell
Love and Fear

Tom Russell can be counted on to deliver you something different each time. The last few have been back and forth over the border with a harder edged putting-the-western-back-into-country-and-western sound. I've mentioned this before but despite his somewhat serious artist/tough guy persona he often injects a wide streak of sentiment and softness into his songs. One minute it will be a song spitting in the face of some hypocrite or about pillaging and robbing your way across 19th Century California, and next it will be about ponies or rocking horses, the soft glow of the moon and lost loves. He can pull it off, because he's a great songwriter who knows the line to walk and because his voice can crackle in these songs in a way you can't dismiss.

Putting aside the Bukowski bravado of the last few outings, Love and Fear is all about introversion and emotion. It's a 3AM album. Scotch, I think, would most likely be involved. The first songs act as a summary. "The Pugilist At 59", being a portrait of a heavyweight champeen getting on, all those "little devils of alcohol and caffeine" catching up with you. This here Blogger At 29 can sympathise. And "Beautiful Trouble", semi-spoken, which is haunted by desire, which he knows will probably work out badly. The ambient Lanois-esque echos I thought might be due to his recent parting with long time ace sideman Andrew Hardin, but he's listen on the album. "Stealing Electricity" is more upbeat but rather macacbre (some might think, too much so) take on the dangers of love. "Old Heart" is a rather jazzy torch song and closes the album on an appropriately melancholy note. I'm not overly convinced by one or two songs in between ("Four Chambered Heart" -- modern society is going to hell! Heard it all before brother) but for Russophiles it's an interesting look into the mind of an always intriguing artist.

The Road Diary at his website is always a good read too.

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