By Barry Gilbert
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 February 28, 2008

7:30 p.m. March 1 at Turner Hall, 307 West Second South Street, Mount Olive, Ill. $20. 1-217-999-7674 or

Authentic country music, Americana, singer-songwriter, guy with a guitar, girl with a piano - it's all under the banner of folk music these days. And why not? It's honest music by real people. Since his performance here a year ago, Russell has released "The Wounded Heart of America," a collection of mostly other artists covering Russell tunes both familiar (Jerry Jeff Walker's rendition of "Navajo Rug") and rare (Johnny Cash's version of "Veterans Day"). But the highlights were two new songs sung by Russell: the single "Who's Gonna Build Your Wall," a sociological rather than political look at immigration; and the take-no-prisoners "The Death of Jimmy Martin," an indictment of the Grand Ol' Opry's treatment of the bluegrass legend and of Hank Williams. But Russell is all about looking forward, and some of a dozen new songs he's been road-testing are likely to be heard when he takes the stage with his accompanist, San Antonio guitarist-mandolinist Michael Martin.

Peters' songs (such as Martina McBride's hit "Independence Day") are surely known to more people than her name is, but that's changing. Her most recent CD, "Burnt Toast & Offerings," earned a spot on several critics' 2007 Top 10 lists. At Turner Hall, expect a wonderful set of duets with Russell, as well as her own stage time with pianist Barry Walsh.