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True West Founder Russ Tolman Announces Solo Career Retrospective 'Compass & Map'

Whether it's tender acoustic ballads or blistering rock guitar rave-ups, Los Angeles-based-via San Francisco, singer/songwriter/guitarist, Russ Tolman, has developed a reputation for crafting some of the most literate and poignant music in underground rock. He formed the psychedelic rock band True West (who became the northern guardians of what was to be called the Paisley Underground, which included Green On Red, Rain Parade, Long Ryders, Three O'Clock, and Dream Syndicate ) in 1981, and following his departure in 1985, he has released seven solo records; Totem Poles And Glory Holes (1986); Down In Earthquake Town (1988); Goodbye Joe (1990); Road Movie (1992); Sweet Spot (1994); City Lights (1998) and New Quadraphonic Highway (2000). Now Tolman is proud to announce the May 26th release of "Compass & Map" on Lost Records, an album that brings together twenty tracks from his solo career to date, including the 2013 digital only single "Los Angeles". The deluxe six-panel matte finish digipak includes a 16 page booklet with newly discovered photos, and liner notes from author and reissue producer Pat Thomas. A fitting tribute to the first thirty years of his songwriting and recording.

Throughout his solo career, Tolman has worked with an impressive group of musicians on his albums, including Dave Provost (Dream Syndicate), Chris Cacavas (Green On Red), Jon Klages (The Individuals/Richard Lloyd Band), Kirk Swan (Dumptruck), Nino Del Pesco (The Lonesome Strangers), Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blond), Jeffrey Kane (Dirty Hands), well known Seattle musician Dave Drewry, Frank French (True West), Ned Leukhardt (Wall of Voodoo), John Wesley Harding (aka Wes Stace), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), among others. He also worked with producer/engineer Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion guitarist and songwriter, Epitaph and ANTI- labels founder), engineer Donnell Cameron (Blink-182, Sublime, Avenged Sevenfold) and Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate).

"Compass & Map" kicks off with the track "Marla Jane" from Tolman's third album, 1990's "Goodbye Joe". "I discovered Brett's Westbeach Recorders, when Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate) invited me to a session he was doing with Bob Forrest (Thelonius Monster)", he says. "They were recording Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee" with the help of Flea on trumpet. Norwood from Fishbone and I kept the proceedings supplied with beer. The track 'Marla Jane' from the album was written with Waylon Jennings in mind. I think my lawyer even pitched it to him."

Here's a link to download "Marla Jane":
Tolman's first solo album, "Totem Poles And Glory Holes", was released in 1986 in the US on Steve Wynn's Down There label and Elvis Costello's Demon Records in the UK. He says, "I had just been kicked out of True West and took the songs that I'd written for the next True West record and started recording at a new studio in Davis, CA. I was so deathly afraid of singing. I'd never done it before, so when I cut the vocals, I had Steve Wynn, (along with our good friend Jim Beam), come up from LA to Davis for some studio hand holding. I was later told that my drunken post session ranting rivaled that of the famous Jerry Lee Lewis incident at the gates of Graceland."
His second record, "Earthquake Town", which had a richer, more developed sound, was engineered by Brett Gurewitz. Since then he and Tolman developed a great working relationship and friendship, which resulted in Gurewitz co-producing the next two albums, "Goodbye Joe" and "Road Movie".
1992's "Road Movie" featured the track "Something About A Rowboat". "I had become infatuated with a woman in Norway," he says, "and was planning to move to Oslo and form a band around Ned Leukhardt, the Wall of Voodoo drummer who lived there. I flew Ned to LA to form the basis of the Road Movie band, which also included Dave Provost (Dream Syndicate) on bass, guitarist Jon Klages (Individuals, Richard Lloyd Band), Robert Lloyd on mandolin and Chris Cacavas (Green on Red) on organ."
"Sweet Spot" was released in 1994 and included such songs as "Stuck Like Glue" and "The Best Is Yet To Come". Both quintessential Tolman - quirky and humorous songs about relationships delivered in a sturdy deadpan voice. "The Best Is Yet To Come" features background vocals from Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde). "I met Johnette back in True West days. In fact, Johnette, Steve Wynn, and I were drinking margaritas and I missed soundcheck when True West was playing the Greek Theatre in LA on REM's "Fables of the Reconstruction" tour. I got back just in time to do the set and have a very inebriated backstage discussion with a sober Warren Zevon about the merits of AA. Johnette was gracious enough to sing on a couple of my albums."
A relocation to San Francisco brought Tolman's next album "City Lights", co-produced by Steve Wynn, which was not only evocative of the "City By The Bay", but also of John Steinbeck's mythical central California coast country.
In 2000, he delivered the retro-futuristic experimental album, "New Quadrophonic Highway", which was the last full length album he released.
In 2013, he released the digital only single, "Los Angeles", a tribute to his past and current abode, which is included on "Compass & Map". The song has deep meaning for him since it's the last song recorded with his longtime compatriot Dave Drewry, who passed away in 2016.
As his first ever compilation is being released in May, he has been working on new recordings, releasing a new single, "Vancouver Sun", in Dec 2016. A new album is in the works for late 2017, that Tolman describes as being inspired by and evocative of the great '60s-'70s Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter scene.

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