Indeed, one thing that has brought Russell to the top of his songwriting game is his growing ability to keep you guessing about how far his songs represent his own experience. That's the key to a really good story songit should be neither confessional nor coolly neutral. His songs are general enough that he makes a fine collaborator with like-minded writers, among them Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson (with Ian he wrote the folk standard "Navajo Rug"), Dave Alvin, Katy Moffatt, and Nanci Griffith, with whom he wrote the country hit "Outbound Plane" and who appears on Russell's forthcoming album Modern Art. I'd be the first one on your block to get it, if I were you; if it even comes close to Borderland, it'll be well worth having.
[Originally published in April, 2003.]