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The Dream Syndicate: The Days of Wine and Roses

No one seems to know who first uttered that famous line about how the Velvet Underground’s debut album sold only a few thousand copies but all to people who wound up starting bands. What is clear is that the statement contains at least a grain of truth. The Velvets have influenced countless rock acts, from…

Big Sky Country

Nine Gems You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

CDs from would-be stars are starting to pile up on my desk again, which means it’s time for spring cleaning. Let’s skip the discs I’m discarding and focus on some keepers from relatively little-known acts: Big Sky Country, Sofia Talvik. Talvik’s angelic voice and folk/pop fusion remind me of the Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler and also…

Tonight We Ride: The Tom Russell Cowboy Anthology

Tom Russell: Tonight We Ride and Midway to Bayamon

Tom Russell is so prolific that it’s hard to keep up: I have about two dozen of his albums, and I’m still missing a few. This pair of 2014 releases almost slipped by me. Tonight We Ride, subtitled “The Tom Russell Cowboy Anthology,” is an updated version of Cowboy’d All to Hell, a 2010 collection…

Cowboy'd All To Hell

Tom Russell: Cowboy’d All to Hell

Cowboy music has long been front and center in Tom Russell’s repertoire, from his first album right up to The Rose of Roscrae, his recent masterpiece, which incorporates such Old West evergreens as “The Streets of Laredo.” This 2010 release collects 17 of Russell’s self-penned cowboy numbers, including “Navajo Rug” and “Gallo del Cielo,” both…

Heart on a Sleeve (Remastered)

Tom Russell: Heart on a Sleeve

This 2012 reissue of Russell’s auspicious 1984 solo debut album features remastered sound and six previously unreleased bonus tracks. Songs like the title cut and “One and One” (both duets with Shawn Colvin) sound closer to traditional country than what Russell has since produced, but there’s plenty of evidence here of the vocal talent and…