On September 8th, Tom Russell will release his brand-new studio album, “Folk Hotel” (Proper Records). A signature Tom Russell collection, the wide-ranging subject matter on “Folk Hotel” 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 a day in the life of Belfast, a song about Tom meeting J.F.K., another song using only 16th-century slang and more…
To celebrate the release we asked Tom to put together a playlist of 10 songs that he would play on the stereo of his imaginary ‘Folk Hotel’, and this is what he came up with. Listen below and read about why Tom chose each track.
10 Songs for Tom Russell’s Folk Hotel.
1. Paul Siebel – “Louise”– Siebel was the first great folk writer I met when I arrived in The Village in 1980. By then the scene was over, but Siebel’s “Louise” was a standard. He ended up driving truck in Maryland.
2. Dave Van Ronk – “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” – Van Ronk was a good friend. We toured together with Nanci Griffith – played The Royal Albert Hall. This song was in the movie “Inside Llewelyn Davis. Van Ronk is on my album “The Man From God Know’s Where.” He plays “The Outcaste.”
3. Fred Neil – “The Water is Wide” – one of the greatest vocals of the folk era. Fred had that deep, warm, bluesy voice that hit home. A classic performance. Bob Dylan used to open for Fred Neil, then Neil disappeared to Florida.
4. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – “912 Greens” -Jack (who was best man, along with Ian Tyson, at our wedding) didn’t write many songs, but this is a classic long ramble about a trip he took to New Orleans in 1953. I’ve heard dozens of versions, and they’re all different. It’s like Kerouac’s “On the Road.”
5. Bob Dylan – “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” – my favorite Dylan love song. One of his songs that indicated he was changing the face of the folk language.
6. Luke Kelly & The Dubliners – “The Shoal’s of Herring” – an Ewan McColl song that was also in the Coen Bros. movie “Inside Llweyn Davis. Wonderful images and melody. I believe it WAS written for one of the BBC Radio specials he did.
7. Ian and Sylvia – “Wild Geese” – I covered this on the tribute to Ian and Sylvia record I recorded earlier this year. Ian and Sylvia are premier Canadian songwriters. Great lyrics. Great melody.
8. Finbar Furey – “The Green Fields of France” – an Eric Bogle song. Perhaps the greatest anti-war song yet written. Finbar Furey sings it to the core. One of my favorite singers. I first heard this on a jukebox in a pub in York. I couldn’t believe it. Listen to the rasp in his voice!
9. Joan Baez – “Love is Just a Four Letter Word” – another deep Dylan love song. Dylan never recorded it. Baez reminds him of the song in the film “Don’t Look Back.”
10. Buffy St. Marie – “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” – Buffy’s great song about the abuse of Native American people. My first songs were about Native Americans, because I came out of the bars in Vancouver that were filled with Indians who were down and out. Buffy is from the Cree tribe.
Pre-Order Folk Hotel here: http://smarturl.it/folk-hotel
Photo Credit: Tom Coyote