This latest release, “Time Flies” is aptly named and bundled along with his first album as still-life to a career just visible on the radar. Jim Lauderdale has experienced fame on the outer fringes of the limelight. While that’s not the ideal necessarily, to a working artist success is a state of mind. According to Peter Cooper, Jim Lauderdale says he doesn’t fit in anywhere. More accurately Jim Lauderdale fits everywhere, he just fits differently than others. On a tour through the Western states, Will Kimbrough stated, “Jim Lauderdale is everywhere”. Geographically, lyrically, and musically he is everywhere. Jim Lauderdale has stayed true to his craft and his story. He has built his success by remaining humble and is in a place where he can capture the story of everyman. Jim Lauderdale blends genres in a uniquely interesting style. Now THAT’s Americana.
Where the duet album with Roland White is traditional Bluegrass, “Time Flies”, true to Americana, is a bit of everything. The title track is a reflection on how far we’ve come. “Violet” is brilliant lyrically. Is he singing to a woman, describing a color, capturing a wave of energy? The answer is yes. “Slow As Molasses” is a ramble and “Where the Cars Go By Fast” has a driving rhythm. This is an album that identifies Jim Lauderdale as a multi-genre artist.
“When I Held The Cards In My Hand” evokes Levon Helm of The Band. The guitar is superb, the story says it all “when I look over my shoulder the past won’t look me in the eye” …. “When I held the cards in my hand, people would pretend”.
“Wearing Out Your Cool” is rollicking with a driving bass and brilliant horns. A nod to Peter Gunn, you’ll be adding your own finger snaps and toe taps. This one will get stuck on replay often.
The album “Jim Lauderdale and Roland White” written and recorded in the style of bluegrass masters. Actually it was. Originally recorded in Earl Scruggs basement in 1979, Jim Lauderdale’s first album with bluegrass innovator Roland White went out to bluegrass labels in cassette tape form with a handwritten note. “I got turned down by everybody because I was an unknown and wasn’t on the circuit”. The unreleased album was lost for 39 years until Roland White recently came to see Jim at Nashville’s storied Station Inn and mentioned that his wife “found tapes to our album in a box in the basement.” It is refreshing to hear a young Jim Lauderdale singing these tunes. A mix of traditional bluegrass, some original songs, and covers of Gordon Lightfoot and Donovan, these songs have beautiful harmonies and quintessential bluegrass melody. This recording should have been held in reverence all these years. It is worthy of a Traditional Bluegrass Album Grammy.
Through unwavering melody and undeniable charm Jim Lauderdale has garnered industry success. His voice is unmistakable, his songs are recorded on top-selling albums. He’s won Grammy awards, was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, received a lifetime achievement award from the Americana Music Association, is known as “Mr. Americana”, and has collaborated with artists Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, Robert Hunter, the North Mississippi All-Stars, and George Jones.
These two albums “Time Flies” and “Jim Lauderdale and Roland White” represent most sides of Jim Lauderdale. They are a must for any fan and the perfect introduction for anyone who’s discovering Jim through this writing. Go to a show, buy the album, you’ll be entertained.
– Viola Krouse