Go back in time to the American West with folk singer Tom Russell; 2 performances scheduled

Composite image. Inset photo of folk musician Tom Russell | Photo courtesy of Center for the Arts at Kayenta, St. George News

IVINS — Take a step back into the authentic American West with acclaimed singer and storyteller Tom Russell at two concerts in Southern Utah coming this February.

Russell with be hitting the stage singing many of his hit folk and cowboy songs on Feb. 8 at the Canyon Community Center in Springdale and Feb. 9 at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta in Ivins.

Rolling Stone magazine’s John Swenson said Russell is the “greatest living folk-country songwriter.”

Music legends such as Johnny Cash, k.d. lang, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt have all recorded Russell’s songs, and Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan have called his fabled “Gallo del Cielo” one of their favorites.

In all, Russell has recorded 35 records and published six books, which include his art, songs and essays on the West. His music remains relevant and exciting, earning him new fans from every generation, according to a news release from the Center for the Arts.

Russell’s new record “October in the Railroad Earth” will drop in March and features original songs, including the title song from the Irish film “Small Engine Repair.” Russell describes the album’s vibe as “Jack Kerouac meets Johnny Cash … in Bakersfield.”

Tom Russell is set to perform at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta on Feb. 9, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Center for the Arts at Kayenta, St. George News

In 2018, he appeared in the three-record “Roots and Branches” album put out by Appleseed Records that included a new track by Springsteen, as well as tracks by Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Donovan, Tom Morello, Jesse Winchester, Jackson Browne and Raitt.

“In 1995 I said that Tom Russell was the finest singer-songwriter working in America today. 25 years later he’s going strong,” said Alec Wightman, the former president of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Russell released two records in 2017, “Folk Hotel” with 12 new songs and the Ian and Sylvia tribute “Play No More.” Both albums have received worldwide acclaim, according to the news release.

Education and world travels have informed Russel’s writing and music more than anything else. He earned a master’s degree in criminology from University of California Santa Barbara and also taught sociology in Nigeria during the Biafran War. His ensuing ventures into music, writing and art have met with huge success among many audiences.

Several major American museums own Russell’s art, and his work is represented by six galleries around the world. His performances and outreach are underwritten by the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, with funding from the state of Utah and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Western States Arts Foundation. 

Event details

  • What: Performances by Tom Russell in Springdale and Kayenta.
  • When:
    • Springdale – Friday, Feb. 8,  at 7 p.m.
    • Kayenta – Saturday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.
  • Where:
    • Springdale – Canyon Community Center located at 126 Lion Blvd.
    • Kayenta – Center for the Arts at Kayenta, 881 Coyote Gulch Court, Ivins.
  • Cost:
    • Springdale – Tickets are $15 ($10 for Z-Arts members). Purchase here.
    • Kayenta – Tickets are $30. Purchase here.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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