This was my sixth time to see Americana maestro Tom Russell in concert. Just like the last time, also at McCabe's, Tom came out with Thad Beckman, an outstanding guitarist who also sang backup vocals. The concert went on for well over two hours, something one would always welcome, but certainly not immediately after a long and physically exhausting trip - I had just returned from a six-day walking tour of Manhattan, and toward the end of the show I would have gladly exchanged my front row seat for a cot or even a pallet on McCabe's' floor.
Once again, Tom proved that he is a name-dropper's name dropper. I wish I'd thought of writing down all the names brought up by Tom - the list would have amazed you, both in length and breadth - he mentioned countless musicians, filmmakers, actors, boxers, some dead, others alive, but no one's name came up more often than Monte Hellman, whose "Road To Nowhere" movie's theme song was composed by Tom himself. By the way, Monte was present in the audience, but kept a low profile.
Tom sang many of the songs from "Mesabi", his latest release. I was unfamiliar with the new album, but I found his new material to be quite accessible, not unlike everything else Tom touches. He also sang a few "oldies", such as "Stealing Electricity", "The Pugilist At 59", "Blue Wing" and "East Of Woodstock, West Of Vietnam", but once again there was no "Gallo Del Ciello", nor "Navajo Rug".
All-in-all, the concert was good, but not great. Tom spoke maybe a little too much, but most everything he said was interesting and humorous. Still, after having seen him so many times in not too many years, I feel it's time for me to take a sabbatical from Tom for a few years. I'll be back, though. Guaranteed.
|The set list|
|Tom Russell (right) & Thad Beckman at McCabe's (October 2011)|
|The final bow|
|Nadine Russell at the merch table|