The Show was over and Julie and I stepped outside the Treehouse Café for a smoke in the cool, crisp air of the Olympic Peninsula while we waited for the crowd to thin out. Tom Russell had put on a performance that was everything we had anticipated…, and more. Back inside, there I was with five of Tom’s CD’s in hand, standing in what was then a short line, to get them autographed by him…, and wondering what I should say…, besides, “Thank you,”?
It had been about a year since I had “discovered” Tom’s extraordinary songwriting and musical abilities. I had read a piece of his writing, posted on The Agonist Blog, which was linked from Tom’s own “Notes From the Borderland” blog. Intrigued by that piece, I began to read his other posts on his blog. They went back in time a bit, and many of them were about the songs from his newly released CD, “Blood and Candle Smoke”. I don’t buy…, or even listen to…, any “new” music these days. The old chain saw, rock concert, barroom boogie days have left these old ears of mine ravaged to a degree that if I don’t already know the words to a song, I can barely discern them. But based on Tom’s writing I decided to take a chance and bought “Blood and Candle Smoke” and “Veteran’s Day – The Tom Russell Anthology”. It had been almost 20 years since a new artist’s work had graced my collection. I wish I could say that it was worth the wait…, but what I really wish…, is that I had discovered Tom 40 years and 25 albums ago.