31 October 1948, Austin, Texas, USA. Born into a large and poor family, Russell began playing guitar at the age of 12 and during his teenage years stayed on the edge of lawfulness until his luck ran out and he served time in both juvenile institutions and, later, state prisons. He drifted through Texas and south-western states and Mexico, living rough and developing ideas for songs. Back in Austin, he gradually began to find small audiences for his rugged songs and in 1989 was heard and signed by New Rose Records. His first two albums, A Crack In Time and Sounds From The Fourth World, led to tours of Europe. An engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris was released as Le Voyageur, Live! Appealing now to a much wider but still appreciative audience, Russells stock rose but even so he has remained wary of publicity, keeping himself apart from the well-oiled machine that is contemporary country music.
Russell can still be heard singing in...