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.