Rolling Stone (12/29/94-1/12/95, p.178) - "...Featuring a maverick lineup from the California-Texas axis, the populist-spirited collection suggests that the road to Haggard's songwriting runs straight through Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck..."
Spin (1/95, p.76) - Recommended - "...thrives on variation. Roughly divided between worker paens and lovelorn ballads, this `alternative' disc seems smitten with eccentricity..."
Q (1/95, p.262) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...not only proof Merle Haggard writes peerless C&W social commentary but that there is life yet in the tired old tribute album....Arguably the best country album of 1994..."
Option (3-4/95, p.143) - "...Although the artists who contribute to this album come from wildly disparate musical backgrounds, there are no weak links. All carry their songs honestly, authentically and with an obvious affection for the words and melodies they sing. Brilliant..."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/95, p.102) - "...a joy from stem to stern....TULARE DUST is primarily talented singer-songwriters from the Texas-California axis who have yet to make a huge commercial mark..."
Includes liner notes by Tom Russell and Dave Alvin.
Tributee: Merle Haggard.
Tributee: Merle Haggard.
Audio Remasterer: Randy Perry .
Liner Note Authors: Dave Allen; Tom Russell.
Photographer: Beth Herzhaft.
It's a mark of Merle Haggard's wide influence on current popular music that he could be simultaneously feted with tribute albums by the mainstream Nashville community (see MAMA'S HUNGRY EYES: A TRIBUTE TO MERLE HAGGARD), and by the country and rock outsiders who show up here. It's a mark of his wide songwriting net--he's written prison songs, train songs, labor songs, redneck sing-alongs, libertarian anthems, and a million love songs--that in two albums of singers doing their favorite Haggard tunes there would be only one overlap ("Silver Wings," done quietly here by Marshall Crenshaw and belted out there by Pam Tillis).
No matter the subject, Haggard has a way with the deceptively simple hooks and lyrics that mark the best folk music of any era. He scatters sophisticated changes through otherwise basic country formulas, and comes up with choruses that pack the punches of entire songs into simple declarations like "I wear my own kind of hat," or "That's why Irma Jackson can't be mine." These versions get right to the heart of that sensibility, with largely acoustic arrangements and--excepting Iris DeMent's marvelously twangy "Big City"--artfully restrained vocals that revel in the songwriting; and they avoid fancy pop arrangements like the plague. These are the kinds of songs that will be passed down from generation to generation, and TULARE DUST is the sound of younger (than Haggard, anyway) pickers and singers accepting the baton.