Column

Best I've Ever Seen

Talking with artists about concerts they'll never forget

Gary Stoller is an award-winning editor, author, and journalist. He's written for USA TODAY and loves Bob Dylan and Blue Rodeo.

Best I've Ever Seen

Talking with artists about concerts they'll never forget

Gary Stoller is an award-winning editor, author, and journalist. He's written for USA TODAY and loves Bob Dylan and Blue Rodeo.

Tom Russell on 'Arctic Explorer' Bob Dylan and More

Excellent column Gary...really enjoyed this...Tom does seem to be getting better with age...he's making arguably his best records right now...interesting insight in the interview...thanks! 

Enjoyed reading this.  Dylan enjoyed a late career resurgence starting with Time Out of Mind and continuing for a few records before he started down the Rod Stewart let's cover the American Songbook route.  Tom on the other hand continues a decades long string of exceptional records and going by his latest shows he's still as good as it gets in the songwriting dept. 

A fine article on an artist who really does seem to get better and better. I was particularly pleased to see you mention 'One to the Heart, One to the Head', his duo album with Gretchen Peters that often gets overlooked but is a favourite of mine.

I think it is great too...Gretchen is a wonderful artist as well...

Tom Russell is a treasure. Whether it's wondering "Who's Gonna Build Your Wall" (take that, DT) or singing about the "Angel of Lyon," or countless others, his catalog places him firmly in the pantheon of great outlaw-cowboy-romantic-singer-songwriters like Guy Clark. I can't think of a better short-story song EVER than "Mineral Wells." His description of two has-beens -- an aging film queen and an obese LA film critic -- mixes the right amount of despair, longing and even hope.

I enjoyed reading this a lot. He's one of our finest songwriters and his experiences would make a great memoir/autobiography. I wonder if he's considered that.

I don't have a lot of his recent releases and I must correct that but my favorite of the ones I do have is 1995's "The Rose of San Joaquin" and especially the song "The Sky Above, The Mud Below" which is one terrific Western short story about two horse thieving brothers who brag about their exploits in a bar not realizing the bartender is one of their victims as well as the town's judge and jury. It doesn't go well for them...

Dennis, The Sky Above, The Mud Below is one of my favorite Tom Russell songs as well, especially the classic and efficient summary of the Deacon's influence in town; "he was sheriff, judge, he owned the hearse, a man you did not anger".  Told Tom after a show that that was a memorable line, he said "that line kinda wrote itself".

Yes, they could make a movie based on that song. I'm glad you were able to tell Tom how much you liked it.