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Russ Tolman suits his proto-Americana tunes

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Russ Tolman, "Compass & Map"
  • Russ Tolman, "Compass & Map"
Russ Tolman’s True West always swam in the rootsier, countrified end of the 1980s “paisley underground” pool. Once that band folded, the founder-guitarist-singer began a solo career; he’s released seven albums of new music and several singles. Most of that was released in Europe and largely unavailable in the U.S. Compass & Map isn’t a greatest-hits collection — Tolman’s always semi-underground — but taken together, the 20 tracks on the disc sound like it could be. Tolman’s sometimes wobbly vocals suit his jangling, often proto-Americana tunes, and quite a few of the songs rock, too. Almost certainly designed as a reintroduction of his work ahead of a new album scheduled for release later this year, Compass & Map succeeds on that level as well as being a collection of new (or new to most listeners) material from this fine songwriter.
File next to: Dream Syndicate, late-period Byrds

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