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Discovered Artist: Jim Lauderdale

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Have you ever thought “discovered” an artist that nobody else knows about only to find out it’s you who is totally out of touch?

I just did. His name is Jim Lauderdale, he’s awesome, and he’s been doing it at the highest level since I was a highschooler!

I accidently saw a music video for “If I Were You” last week while at a friend’s house for lunch. While channel surfing, we stopped on the video, probably half way into it. I don’t remember thinking “man, this is great.” I think it was more like “who is that old guy, and is she supposed to be his daughter?” Anyway, I didn’t turn away until I saw who the guy who looked like the facilities manager from work was.

I read the name and thought it sounded familiar, but I had no idea why (and still don’t).

When I returned to work, I looked him up in the sometimes lacking allmusic.com database. I found that this guy has written for such country music luminaries as George Strait and Vince Gill to name a couple. That’s right, I said “written.” He’s a songwriter and a great one at that. Country artists are few who actually write the music they perform. And just so you don’t think he’s just a songwriter, he has 13 albums to his credit. And other artists like him, too. He has recorded with Dwight Yoakum and Lucinda Williams among many others.

Okay, I thought. He must “have sumpin’.” I found that he’s more closely associated with the Bakersfield sound that the Nashville sound. That’s good for me because, I really don’t like the Nashville sound, or the Nashville look for that matter. He’s also worked with bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley.

At this point, I was sold. Literally. I went out and bought three Jim Lauderdale albums: The Other Sessions, The Hummingbirds and Headed for the Hills.

Since this entry isn’t meant to be a review, I’m only going to touch on these albums just so you get a feel for what they offer.

The Other Sessions – I read a review somewhere that said this is the greatest country album released since the ’60s. Let’s not go crazy. It’s VERY good. It’s full of modern country music, too. If you like artists like George Strait, you’ll like this one. Lauderdale’s greatest strengh is songwriting followed by performance energy. And those two traits shine on this CD.

The Hummingbirds – This is my favorite of the three. The best way to describe it is that it’s somewhere else. It’s hard to put a label on it. You might call it Americana, but guys like Steve Earle probably get royalty checks every time that word is used, so I’ll stop now. Most of the tracks don’t cross the three minute threshold, which is just a comment. So the CD is short by modern standards.

Headed for the Hills – Don’t let other reviews fool you. This is not a bluegrass album. Not especially, anyway. Some of the songs certainly have bluegrass elements in them, but I like to think it’s a hybrid album that actually works as either standard country or bluegrass. Maybe that’s why it’s “headed for the hills.” It’s not quite there yet. Still, it’s good and I do recommend it.

So there you have it. His name is Jim Lauderdale. He’s a country guy with more to offer than your standard pretty face. He’s “the real deal,” if you will. Check him out!

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About Joe Battista

  • http://spaces.msn.com/members/dorksandlosers Tan Hoang

    I might have to check this artist out. It’s happened that I discovered unknown artists only to have people tell me they suck. It’s probably better that way in that the selfishness in me wants to believe that the artist makes music to please only my ears.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks and welcome Joe, nice job – I’ve known Lauderdale for some time, but I know stuff (smile)

  • http://www.meryl.net/blog/ meryl

    Cool! Thanks for sharing, Joe. Welcome to BC!!