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Jim Lauderdale (from the album Game Changer on ) (by Brian Rock)
Americana legend Jim Lauderdale further cements his iconic status with the release of Game Changer. With over thirty albums to his credit and stars like George Strait, Blake Shelton, Elvis Costello, and Patty Loveless lining up to record covers of his songs; Jim Lauderdale doesn’t so much change the game as define it. His forays into Country, Folk, Bluegrass, Rock, and Blues have virtually defined the parameters of what qualifies as Americana. This new release finds Jim focusing his talents on the genre of early 1970’s AM Country gold.
“That Kind of Life (That Kind of Day)” finds Lauderdale in playful spirits. He incorporates Marrakesh Express-style guitar licks over a lively Country shuffle rhythm as he sings, ‘when a baby tastes a little bit of sunshine; kicks their legs and bounces up and down, grins and laughs and everything is so fine. We wanna keep ‘em that way for a while’. Celebrating the joy of experiencing life for the first time, Jim Lauderdale reminds us that there once was a time when everything was new for all of us. He continues ‘but they all grow up and everything is different’. Life’s struggles, disappointments, and heartbreaks steal some of that God given joy we’re all born with. Putting things in perspective, Lauderdale asks us to forget about the big picture for a moment and refocus on life’s simple pleasures, like a ‘guitar just laying there ripe for the pickin’’. Realizing that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, Lauderdale sings ‘I hope your hopes will come through while you’re waiting…’ but between the lines, he's really saying that the waiting part of life is really the most important part. So, while you’re waiting for that big raise, or big vacation or big relationship; take time to enjoy a sunset, a new flavor of ice cream, a new dance, etc. If you can be aware, and in the moment, and grateful for life’s simple pleasures, then you truly can have that kind of joy filled life you had as a child.
“I’ve Heard of That” is a rousing Honky-Tonk call to forget our differences and come together. “Hoggin’ My Mind” incorporates Jump Blues and Southern Funk to sing the praises of the one he can’t stop thinking about. “Lightning Love”, “Friends Again”, and “We’re All We’ve Got,” are pure, steel guitar driven, AM radio Country gold. Jim Lauderdale’s vulnerable, yearning voice adds a perfect sepia patina to each song. He uses that voice to great effect on the album’s ballads. Capturing a George Jones level of empathy, he pours out his heart on “Our Happy Hour” lamenting that, ‘you can’t turn back time no matter how hard you try’. He wrestles with his own lack of conviction on “Wishbone”, confessing that ‘I’ve got a wishbone where my backbone ought to be’. And he pleads for emotional honesty in “Keep It Real.” Weeping steel guitar hangs from each of these songs like Spanish Moss dangling from a southern cypress. The addition of subtle violin strains in the background gives these slower songs the feel of Willie Nelson’s “Stardust” album. especially on “Let’s Make Some Memories” and “I’ll Keep My Heart Open for You”. Both of these songs have a jazzy elegance that recalls standards from the great American songbook. Speaking of Great and American and Songbook, those are three great words to describe Jim Lauderdale and his music. (by Brian Rock)
Listen and buy the music of Jim Lauderdale from AMAZON
For more information and purchase options, please visit Jim Lauderdale website
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