Tom Russell has recorded more than thirty-five highly acclaimed records and published several books, including a book on his art and a book of his songs. His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Doug Sahm, Nanci Griffith, k.d. lang, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Ian Tyson, Iris DeMent, Dave Van Ronk, Tom Paxton, and Joe Ely, among many others.
He was born in Los Angeles, and graduated from The University of California with a master's degree in criminology. He taught sociology in Nigeria during the Biafran War.
Tom Russell's latest recording of original compositions, October in the Railroad Earth, was released in 2019. He describes the songs and sound as "Jack Kerouac meets Johnny Cash in Bakersfield."
"The greatest living folk-country songwriter is a man named Tom Russell."
— John Swenson, Rolling Stone
"Tom Russell is an original, a brilliant songwriter with a restless curiosity and an almost violent imagination."
— Annie Proulx (The Shipping News, Brokeback Mountain)
"Folk Hotel continues to distinguish what makes Russell a master songwriter...fascinating details, quirky characters, and sophisticated narrative structure."
— The Austin Chronicle, 9/15/17
October in the Railroad Earth, 2019
Old Songs Yet to Sing, 2018
Folk Hotel, 2017
Play One More: The Songs of Ian and Sylvia, 2017
The Rose of Roscrae, 2015