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Music Review

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Folk Hotel


Artist: Tom Russell
Label: Proper Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 08 September 2017

Tom Russell has had a long and influential career, with his songs having been recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Doug Sahm, Nanci Griffith, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Dave Alvin, Joe Ely as well as many others. Alongside his 35 acclaimed albums, Russell has also composed movie scores, published five books and is an accomplished fine artist. His new album, Funk Hotel, is released through Proper Records...

Funk Hotel is a signature Russell collection, the wide-ranging subject matter includes songs and stories about New York’s Chelsea Hotel, a journey up the road from El Paso to Santa Fe, a cowboy song about Ian Tyson refusing to "leave his old horses", a song for Dylan Thomas - melting into a James Joycean landscape about day in the life of Belfast, a song about Tom meeting J.F.K., another song using only 16th century slang and more.

It pretty much goes without saying... but I'm going to say it any way. If you're not a fan of Folk music then there is nothing here that will change your viewpoint. While, personally, this isn't my thing, and I doubt I'll listen to it again in the future, you have to raise a glass to Russell's versatility as a song writer. To be honest, I'm not a fan of his singing, and less so his delivery of spoken verse as heard here. But this is an album for his legions of fans and I'm sure they'll lap it up.

The album contains 14 tracks (1 hr, 10 min, 31 sec).


Nick Smithson

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