After fleeing the confines of the Northern California guitar band, True West upon its demise in 1985, Russ Tolman took up the troubadour's life, embarking on a career as a singer-songwriter, often performing with a band. Loosely aligned with LA's Paisley Underground scene, Tolman continued to surround himself with some of the musicians who were key during that period, in particular Steve Wynn, formerly of the Dream Syndicate who has remained his friend and occasional collaborator.
Upon relocating to LA in the mid-'80s, Tolman's first solo recording, Totem Poles and Glory Holes(1986, Restless) had him dabbling in similar western motif terrain as his old band (not to be confused with country-or with the twang of No Depression). He followed with two more "California" albums in the confessional singer-songwriter vein, Down in Earthquake Town(Restless, 1987) and Goodbye Joe (Skyclad, 1988), before he retreated for a spell overseas. While living and touring throughout Europe, Tolman released Road Movie (1992, New Rose) and Sweet Spot(Brilliant 1994) and found an enthusiastic audience for his All-American sound among the Europeans long enamored of the romantic imagery of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Ultimately, Tolman returned to the San Francisco Bay Area for the recording and release of City Lights in 1997 (Blue Rose); New Quahdrophonic Highway followed three years later. ~ Denise Sullivan