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Gig review of Tom Russell & Michael Martin

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Reviewed on 22nd September 2006.


Tom Russell & Michael Martin

Live at New Roscoe on Monday, 18th September 2006

Who's Gonna Build Your Wall, boys? Who's gonna mow your lawn?
Who's Gonna Cook Your Mexican food, when your Mexican maid is gone?
Who's gonna wax the floors tonight down at your local mall?
Who's gonna wash your baby's face? Who's gonna build your wall?

Who's Gonna Build Your Wall - Tom Russell

Words for entry time again.

Gush gush gush.

If Mr Russell got paid by the pulchritude of his word he'd be able to afford a view of West Texas overlooking the Mexican border, where he'd compose songs with such sagacious covenant that the sweaty walls of the New Roscoe ('hey! new carpets!) would not confine their effect and we, knowingly and with full understanding of the processes of re-action, would take a little of his particular truth into our cerebral geography and walk, legs akimbo like the bastard children of Marion Morrison; strutting down Sheepscar with a dream in our thoughts and fortitude in our hearts; re-arranged in our own small, wondrous, way for, oh, at least a day and a half.

He is, after all, a big man and, for all his genial bonhomie, one really wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of him; when he strolls to the stage the crowd does indeed part before him.

Sine qua non.

On the downside we were a little disappointed to find he did not wear a Stetson as advertised.

He plays guitar - not any guitar but a small (OO?) black mother of pearl sparkling cowboy guitar - with his strong right thumb beating a rhythm and his fingers driving the chords forward ... his mandolinista, Mr Michael Martin, is the f*cking sh*t as well, mariachi-cool and playing like the Devil done a deal. Stories dominate (the pugilist is 59), tales of beatnik New York, Ramblin' Jack and drinking shithead on the sofa Bob Dylan was mooching on earlier. Awesome stuff for the telnyashka inspired kids.

Women ('my girlfriends are getting younger, I can tell when they start to own guinea pigs'), local politics (the proposed wall across the Texas-Mexico border), California Snow, history lessons, a visit to Spanish (lo siento pero hablo una poca seulemente!) a warts and all account of Woody Guthrie ... no repetition required.

Two sets - some signing at the table (with about twenty CDs for sale). Sadly he did not play The White Trash Song, but Eyes of Roberto Duran made up for that.

It's Americana, for sure, and he can't do a Yorkshire accent for shit, but the universal appeal Mr Russell is his ursine honesty. You can tell that he's probably used to getting his own way, but, in a Hunter S Thompson kinda way, he's also gonna stand up when needed and fight his corner and bugger the consequences; a good man to be in a trench with.

An even better man to spend the evening with. Did you learn anything today?



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