"...Johnny Cash, Jim Harrison and Charles Bukowski rolled into on
Tom Russell provides some terrific songs which take shape as character sketches and vignettes in a country and western vein.
Most of these take place in the American West, but other locations are depicted as well, such as Pennsylvania
home of "US Steel".
This is definitely an under-appreciated artist who has now put out a large and excellent body of work.
The band on this record is very good, in particular Andrew Hardin, who is as fine a guitar picker as there is.
Tom Russell has recorded 17 albums of original material and written classics like Navajo Rug, Gallo Del Cielo
and St. Olav's Gate and his songs are covered by many, including Johnny Cash, Nanci Griffith, Ian Tyson, Guy Clark,
and Iris DeMent.
“The greatest living country songwriter is a man named Tom Russell. He’s written songs that capture the essence of
America, a trait that can only be matched by the country’s greatest novelists." [John Swenson, Rolling Stone]
Road To Bayamon (1987)
Produced by Tom Russell and Andrew Hardin with Charles Caldarola.
All songs written by Tom Russell except where noted.
Includes Front Cover
01. Home Before Dark
02. U.S. Steel
03. Downtown Train (Tom Waits)
04. Love Makes A Fool Of The Wise (Tom Russell/Carl Brouse)
05. The Definition Of A Fool
06. As The Crow Flies
07. The Road To Bayamon
09. Wise Blood (Tom Russell/Carl Brouse)
10. Joshua Tree
12. William Faulkner in Hollywood
13. I'm On Fire (Bruce Springsteen)
Review by Jeff Burger
Good luck trying to pigeonhole Tom Russell based on the fine Road to Bayamon, which manages to sound cohesive while
wandering all over the musical map. "Home Before Dark," one of several numbers here that he later re-recorded
with country-soul singer Barrence Whitfield, is a radio-ready rocker, with a great hook and prominent guitar;
the vocal and guitar on the equally fine "U.S. Steel," on the other hand, sound something like early Johnny Cash.
And then there's "Alkali," a great relic from Russell's folky days with Patricia Hardin; and a surprisingly strong,
faithful-to-the-original cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire." Not everything scores a homer: The lackluster vocals on
Tom Waits' wonderful "Downtown Train," the album's other cover, seem particularly weak when compared with Rod Stewart's
But this CD -- which gets a big boost from the pedal steel, fiddle, and accordion of Fats Kaplin -- contains far more
highlights than disappointments.