July 09, 2002
Sugar Hill
Pop/Rock, Americana, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Country-Rock

Album Review

A gaggle of Gourds alumni and other Austin stalwarts gathers around Russell on this raggedy, amiable outing. Acoustic textures blow a dusty film over Russell's saloon croon as he delivers the Texas equivalent of old-time British pub rock. His writing is deliberately cockeyed; one wonderful song, "I'm a Robot," was co-written with his nearly three-year-old son and thus spills over with images that range from the Power Rangers to Jesus Christ. (Dad and collaborator briefly reprise the chorus as a duo at the end of the disc.) But even on his own there's something exuberantly anarchic about Russell; who knows why he put a portrait of Ivan Pavlov, complete with birth and death dates, next to an original folk fable he calls "Blackfoot"? This attitude guides and, despite all odds, distinguishes his writing throughout Buttermilk & Rifles as well; whether turning the title of "Ashes in M'Beard" to nonsense through demented repetition or shrugging off his hometown as "a stone on the moon" on the besotted lament "Milk & Tears," he hurls images around like dice on a bar and seems to come up a winner every time.
Robert L. Doerschuk, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Virgin of the Cobra
  2. Twlight of Song
  3. (Somebody Bring Me a Flower) I'm a Robot
  4. Way Fallen Stranger
  5. Shoetie Rag
  6. Sam Morgan
  7. Milk & Tears
  8. Ashes in M'Beard
  9. No More the Moon Shines on Lorena
  10. Imbibing My Prescriptions
  11. Church on Fire
  12. Blackfoot