Tom Russell, Artist

Tom Russell is a singer-songwriter, painter, novelist, and essayist with 38 records to his credit. As a painter he has been termed “Western Expressionist,” a “Colorist,” and a “Hillbilly Fauvist." His work is represented in ten world galleries and several major museums, including The El Paso Museum of Art. Russell songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, The Texas Tornados, k.d. lang, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, The Sir Douglas Quintet, Jason Boland, Nanci Griffith, Katy Moffatt, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Iris Dement, Dave Alvin, Suzy Bogguss, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Iain Glenn, and a hundred others.. He has published a book of songwriting quotes (co-edited with Sylvia Tyson), a detective novel (in Scandinavia), and a book of letters with Charles Bukowski. His recent works include two books from Bangtail Press: 120 Songs of Tom Russell, and Blue Horse/Red Desert - The Art of Tom Russell, a book of selected paintings.

In 2016 Russell published a book of essays: Ceremonies of the Horsemen. The essays, are centered on the American West and include an essay on Johnny Cash for which Russell won a 2015 ASCAP AWARD for  music journalism . Tom Russell’s latest recording of original compositions, October in the Railroad Earth, is set for CD and vinyl release March 15, 2019, on Frontera Records in North America and Proper Records for the rest of the world. He describes the songs and sound as “Jack Kerouac meets Johnny Cash in Bakersfield.”

In 2007, on one of Russell’s five appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, he debuted the controversial “Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall?” which has since gone viral. Tom Russell graduated from the University of California with a Master’s degree in Criminology and taught Sociology in Nigeria during the Biafran War. He is currently working on a new art book to be titled: The Ballad of Western Expressionism.

Tom Russell "October in the Railroad Earth"- Reviews
And outstanding record from an exceptional songwriter...
It takes some sand to put out an album that shoots for “Jack
Kerouac meets Johnny Cash in Bakersfield”. Tom Russell’s
extensive resume and impeccable pedigree notwithstanding,
it’s a high bar to set. The songs on his new album ‘October in
the Railroad Earth’ easily sail over that bar.

- Americana UK Feb. 2019
Painter, author, acoustic troubadour, and all-around
Renaissance man...widely acclaimed as one of the finest
songwriters of his generation...if you'd like to be assured about
the enduring emotional power of the popular song you'd be
well advised to lend an ear.

- UK Regional Press (100 Papers) Feb. 2019
Just about every time Russell releases an album, I say it
might be his best, and I’m prepared to say that again regarding
the new October in the Railroad Earth...I continue to maintain
that he’s a national treasure; and I remain baffled by the fact
that he’s not as well known as such other folk masters as
Leonard Cohen and John Prine...Like the vast majority of
Russell’s earlier work, this is four-star material, from start to
finish. Don’t miss it.

- Jeff Burger, Americana Highways
Celebrated singer-songwriter, artist and author on
reassuringly vivid form. Russell has made a career from
surveying the mythic aspects of America.

- UNCUT, April 2019