Mesabi

Tom Russell

Mesabi

Tom Russell grew up in Los Angeles with a strong interest in Tex-Mex and Bob Dylan. The title track features the chord pattern from Dylan’s “Love Minus Zero / No Limit” and its title is named after the iron range near Dylan’s childhood home in Hibbing, Minnesota. Russell’s deep, slow cover of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” with Lucinda Williams, completes the tribute. For Russell, though, the stories are his songs, performed here with help from Calexico, Van Dyke Parks and Will Kimbrough. “The Lonesome Death of Ukelele Ike” pays tribute to the successful performer of the 1920s and early 1930s. “Farewell Never Never Land” remembers child actor Bobby Driscoll, the voice of Peter Pan. “Sterling Hayden” recalls one of Hollywood’s most legendary leading men. “Furious Love (For Liz)” does the same for Liz Taylor, who once lived along the Texas-Mexico border which Russell now calls home and which inspired “And God Created Bordertowns” and “Goodnight, Juarez.” Album closer, “The Road to Nowhere,” the title piece from the soundtrack of Monte Hellman’s 2011 neo-noir, says it perfectly, “Row, row, row your little dreamboat violently back upstream.”

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