Russ Tolman
Photo Credit: Kim Tolman

Preview | True West’s Russ Tolman – ‘Goodbye El Dorado’

Singer-songwriter Russ Tolman will release a new album April 19. It’s called Goodbye El Dorado.

In the ‘80s, Tolman was songwriter, producer, and guitarist for True West. True West was connected with the Paisley Underground ‘movement’ or sound, an offshoot of jangle pop blending psychedelic-lite, pop, and garage rock elements.  

Tolman got his start in music while attending UC Davis, where he worked as a DJ at KDVS, along with Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith. They formed a new wave band called Suspects. After Suspects dissolved, Tolman played with The Meantime, which later became True West, releasing two albums. A few years later, Tolman left True West, embarking on a prolific solo career.

According to Tolman, Goodbye El Dorando is his “love letter to Los Angeles.” The album encompasses 10-tracks, with an additional three bonus tracks on the CD.

The first track is “Los Angeles,” a So-Cal alt-country number featuring an accordion, jangly guitars, and radiant vocal harmonies. Softly braying horns infuse the tune with gleaming accents, as Tolman’s deliciously warm tones glide overhead.

Highlights on the album include “405,” a velvety alt-country tune exuding soft, contagious energy, along with wonderfully luminous vocal harmonies. We love the twang-flavored guitar solo on this track, as well as Tolman’s vibrant tones.

“Yuba City” shows off Tolman’s remarkable voice, deep and raspy, gliding over a drawling melody full of country savors. “California Winter” rides oozing, dark colors topped by sensuous horns and a low-slung piano that rolls on undulating exotic notes. Rife with supple Latin aromas, the harmonics billow with tumescent colors.

“Take It Easy Take It Slow” travels on a So-Cal country-rock melody with emphasis on the country tangs, as the twang-filled tune showcases a delicious steel guitar and Tolman’s scrumptiously mellow voice. Of the three bonus tracks, my favorite is “Satellite Bar” because of its upbeat rhythm and smooth harmonic flow.

Goodbye El Dorado is tantalizingly wonderful, delivering creamy country flavors, smart wordplay, and Russ Tolman’s laidback, tasty voice.

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Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.