Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Jim Lauderdale - Honey Songs
Jim Lauderdale has been alternating between Country and Bluegrass projects for the last several years. As far as Jim Lauderdale’s country albums go, my favorite is The Other Sessions from 2001. The song “What’s on My Mind” is in fact one of my favorite country songs period. His new project Honey Songs is on par with Sessions. The new recording is billed as Jim Lauderdale and the Dream Players. It is an apt description as Lauderdale has assembled his version of an Americana “Dream Team.” The Dream Players include Al Perkins on pedal Steel (Flying Burrito Brothers), legendary guitarist Jim Burton (Elvis Presley), Glen Hardin (both Elvises Presley and Costello) on piano, also Gary Tallent (E-Street Band) on Bass. Backing vocals are provided by the pipes of Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless, Kelly Hogan and Buddy Miller. All of their talents shine through.
The album gets started with the great guitar licks of “Honeysuckle Honey Pie,” then goes straight into the Bakersfield sound of “I Hope You’re Happy.” The wistful piano on the ballad “Finally Sinking In” creates the perfect atmosphere for a country “love gone wrong” song. Lauderdale may be the first artist since Gram Parsons that can combine lyrics that could easily fit Psychedelic Rock with Traditional Country music as demonstrated by “Daughter of Majestic Sage.” “Stingray” is also another stand out track on the album.
Lauderdale is a ubiquitous presence in Americana Music. He is a fixture at Merlefest hosting the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. He has also hosted the American Music Awards for the last three years. I really can’t figure out why he is ignored by Country Radio. Maybe it is his quirky lyrics or maybe it is because Ryan Seacrest never crowned him the new American Idol. After all it ain’t country unless Ryan Seacrest says it is. This project may change things a little as he has played Leno and generally gotten a lot of other good press.
Listen to Honeysuckle Honey Pie
Tai Chi with Jim Lauderdale on CMT.