home listen reviews
Ralph Stanley and Jim Lauderdale

Jim Lauderdale and Ralph Stanley
& The Clinch Mountain Boys

What a frickin hoot. One of our favorite songwriters and singers joining forces with one of the greatest bluegrass outfits in history. It's a recipe for a hella good time, which is how it turns out. The Clinch Mountain Boys are just smokin on every number, and the vocals are honkin.

Lauderdale is at his hillbilly best, and he's a man of many styles and volumes of good material. He uses three great cowriters on this batch of songs: Shawn Camp, Candace Randolph, and Robert Hunter. (Right, that Robert Hunter.)

The tunes are beyond genre true, they have the depth, sensibility, and humor that does the style proud. The gang vocals on Lauderdale's "Zacchaeus" are super, sounds like the sixties in the pines. It's amazing, one of those things that can happen in America: Ralph Stanley plays great music all his natural life and attains his greatest fame in his eighties. Don't forget to dig these tunes on our Listen page!

THE HUMMINGBIRDS (Dualtone) • Jim Lauderdale

This dude's a trip. He's a Renaissance man when it comes to songwriting. JL crosses musical boundaries so quickly that you don't notice he's cut the fence and all the horses have run free. His new CD The Hummingbirds is almost free form Country, he breathes paradoxes like that in and out without even thinking about it, just does it. Bluesy, rock and roll, swing grooves, unique 6/8 feels, and lyrics that make most other country songs sound like the same words used over and over again, which is more or less the case.

I gladly admit, I like all the different faces of Lauderdale. I like it when he plays Stone Country [The Other Sessions, see our interview] or pure Bluegrass, as in the disc reviewed above. But the endearing and impressive quality of The Hummingbirds is the breadth of musicianship of both the author and his cast of heavyweight friends. As if the stringship of ace guitarist Pat Buchanan wasn't enough, Jim adds killers Kenny Vaughn and Tony Rice to the mix. Other popular Lauderdale foils that appear on most cuts are Greg Morrow on drums, Alison Prestwood on bass, and Robby Turner on steel. The much missed Roy Huskey Jr. plays bass and tic tac bass on a couple of cuts. Many other great players and singers also contribute, too many to list.

Some might call it an oxymoron, but Jim Lauderdale is a country genius. He's absolutely the hippest guy in the genre. You want a cool country CD? Don't look to the mainstream charts, man, it ain't there. Buy this. • FG

listen to clips      view cover       jimlauderdale.com

puremusic home