Tom Russel/country music/wall to Mexico

English from A2onward /TOM RUSSEL

The other day  I listened to a country music special and was quite fascinated by the words Tom Russel writes to his songs. He is in fact considered to be one of the greatest contemporary songwriters.Tom was born in L.A. in 1953 and seems to have graduated from he University of California with a Master’s degree in Criminology and taught school  in Nigeria during the Biafran war. One of his songs is in fact called “Criminology”.

He wrote a detective story and is also a painter. His latest collection of powerful observations is called „ Blood and Candle Smoke“. It takes its name from a line in Guadelupe.

“Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall” is about the Mexicans and the famous wall to the United States.

Here some questions to “Guadelupe” the song about the deep belief  he saw the Mexicans  had when babtizing their children. Experience which somehow changed his life.

– Where are the ghosts?

– In which position is the fool?

– What is the least of pilgrims hoping for?

– What is Tomas known for?


Other famous songs by Tom Russel:”The most dangerous Woman” a tribute to Mary Jones , the guardian angel of union miners.It is also a story about a man coming home from prison to bury his father and continues the cycle of violence that the town cannot seem to shake.”The Veteran’s Day” Here too, he writes about American issues consentrating on writing about people.

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