Until further notice, this is the best record of the year. Period.

Tom Russell’s work has been interpreted by Johnny Cash, Dave Alvin, Jerry Jeff Walker and many others, but Russell has, inexplicably, flown under the mainstream radar for the duration of his career. The fact is, Russell is one of an elite group of living songwriters (Steve Earle and Peter Case among them) whose work has improved exponentially as their careers have progressed.

Blood and Candle Smoke may not bring Russell to the forefront of public consciousness, but it does serve as an astonishing reminder of his career evolution and devotion to his craft. Russell may be every bit the grizzled borderland  barfly that his singing voice suggest, but his is a poet’s heart and here, backed by Calexico, Russell unleashes a cannon blast of evocative, razor-sharp lyricism, blowing the doors off of anything I’ve heard this year. I would say that Blood and Candle Smoke will be remembered as Russell’s masterwork but he’s obviously got plenty of gas left in the tank and miles to go before that proverbial sleep. Judging by his body of work, I have every reason to believe he’ll bleed that tank dry getting to the finish line, much to our benefit.

Tom Russell – East of Woodstock, West of Vietnam
Tom Russell – Don’t Look Down

Tom Russell’s Official Site, Tom Russell on myspace, Buy Blood and Candle Smoke


  1. I enjoyed the read but if you smoke marijuana and find that you are becoming tired and de motivated and you do not want to quit using marijuana. Try vaporizing your marijuana and you will get more a of a clean headed high buzz.

    Like tobacco, marijuana smoke contains toxins that are known to be hazardous to the respiratory system. Among them are the highly carcinogenic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, a prime suspect in cigarette-related cancers. These toxins are essentially a byproduct of combustion, separate from the pharmaceutically active components of marijuana, known as cannabinoids, which include THC. When you burn marijuana it produces quite a lot of tar. Pipes and joints generally do not have proper filters. Bongs are not the answer, because you inhale concentrated smoke.

    The vaporizer certainly reduces the level of tar. You will not have to worry about the harmful carcinogens your body is absorbing when you inhale marijuana smoke.

    I will suggest 2 places that I use the first one is Legal Bud!

    The second suggestion I have is Gass City!

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