Alanna Nash
December 06, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Hurricane Season

type
Book
Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

On its last album, the Tom Russell Band revealed a fascination with the underbelly of the American Dream, exploring the inner sanctums of heroes and common men alike. That approach also suits it well on its third U.S. outing, Hurricane Season. Backed by his crackerjack rock and country-folk players, Russell spins powerful, irony-laced tales filled with political commentary and social drama. An intense and , affecting storyteller, he can make the saga of a struggling actress/waitress pathetic and haunting (”The Evangeline Hotel”). But Russell makes his biggest marks inhabiting the head of the arsonist of the 1990 Happy Land Social Club fire in New York (”A Dollar’s Worth of Gasoline”) and presenting a graphic, if somewhat imagined portrait of the last days of Bill Haley (”Haley’s Comet”). Not every song connects, but those that do pack the punch of Jack Johnson, the black heavyweight champion who also lends his story (”Jack Johnson”) to Russell’s bleak take on the American landscape. B+

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