Jimmie Dale Gilmore is the type of artist I could listen to all day, every day. There are few singer/songwriters who make better Texas country music than Gilmore. And I was initially excited to learn that he was releasing a new studio album. But then I read that this album, titled Come on Back, was to be a collection of old country standards. I was disappointed to say the least. The guy who wrote “After Awhile,” “Dallas” and “Tonight I Think I’m Gonna Go Downtown” is going to put down his pen and play other peoples’ songs? And look at the songs! I mean, these are the songs played every Saturday night by fiddle-less country bands in rural VFWs all across the Llano Estacado.
So with low expectations I cracked open the case and pulled the liner notes. I immediately noticed that fellow Flatlanders member and Texas music legend Joe Ely produced the record. So I looked some more hoping to find Butch Hancock’s name, but no luck there. As I’m looking around, I see the story behind the music, which was penned by Jimmie himself. These were his Jimmie’s dad Brian’s favorite songs. Jimmie recorded this album as a tribute to the memory of his father.
Isn’t it just amazing how having a little background information about something can totally turn your attitude around on things?
So now that I’ve forgiven Jimmie for his track selection, I thought I might take a listen. It’s really hard for me to describe how much I love this record. It easily makes my top five records of 2005 and is certainly the best country album released this year.
It’s rare that a record of cover songs, and especially ones as prolifically recorded as these, can feel so new. And it only took one listen to hook me. This album is greatness from front to back. There are no throwaways or B-side quality songs on this record.