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Left Lane: Jim Lauderdale

Third project with Robert Hunter another gem

July 7, 2011
By RICH GIBSON , Times Leader

In his early 30s at the time, Jim Lauderdale was relatively young gun in the business, promoting his first solo album, "Planet of Love" in 1991.

The Lane was drawn in by his slightly off-kilter vocals - not to mention a stellar backing band.

During a phone interview prior to an appearance at Columbus' Newport Club, Lauderdale spoke about enrolling at the North Carolina School of Arts and later moving to New York to pursue work as a solo performer.

Eventually, Lauderdale re-located to Nashville where he became a back-up singer, contributing for Dwight Yoakam and Carlene Carter, among others.

His writing skills would later result in several collaborations and ensuing hits for the likes of George Strait, the Dixie Chicks and Patty Loveless.

But Lauderdale remained active in the studio, as his latest release, "Reason and Rhyme" would attest.

In 1994, Lauderdale teamed with Grateful Dead lyricist for one of that year's most highly-touted records, "Headed For The Hills."

The pair again joined forces in January of 2010 on the equally excellent "Patchwork River."

Consider "Reason & Rhyme" the culmination of a winning trifecta for Hunter and Lauderdale.

Just out on Nashville's acclaimed Sugar Hill label, the new disc is a bluegrass-driven project featuring some of Lauderdale's finest work.

Not surprisingly, Lauderdale recruited an 'A' list of Nashville backing players, including Tim Crouch (fiddle); Scott Vestal (banjo); Mike Compton (mandolin); Jay Weaver (bass) and the CD's producer, Randy Kohrs (guitar, backing vocals).

Lauderdale and Hunter explore varied themes on the album, including a sublime tribute to one of the great American boxers of the 20th century on "Jack Dempsey's Crown."

"Don't Tempt The Devil (With Your Love)" is a keeper as is the breezy "Doin' It On My Own" and the CD's standout closing track "Janis Jones."

Lauderdale's resume includes a 2003 project with Donna The Buffalo and 1999's Ralph Stanley tribute, "I Feel Like Singing Today."

While Lauderdale may not be a household name among American country/pop fans, there isn't a more respected artist in Music City where he has frequently hosted the Americana Music Awards.

As Lauderdale indicated in a prior press release: "I love the fact I can play the (Grand Ole) Opry one weekend, a jam band festival the next and a bluegrass festival after that. The roots are the same for all of them and that's the music I'm interested in."

Check out his website: www.jimlauderdale.com for additional info.

THERE has to be a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for one of the music industry's greatest journalists, Jane Scott, who passed away on the 4th of July at age 92.

Consider the fact Scott authored her final weekly rock column (What's Happening) for the Cleveland Plain Dealer 10 years ago...at age 82.

Billed, 'the world's oldest teenager,' Scott began her career at the Plain Dealer in March of 1952. A dozen years later, she was scoring a one-on-one interview with then Beatles' icon Paul McCartney when the Fab Four played Cleveland for the first time.

Over the years, I crossed paths with Scott at an occasional Cleveland-area concert and one time at a media-only event held at the Hall of Fame. She was always full of energy and eager to share stories.

Said long-time northeast Ohio promoter Jules Belkin: "Many bands forbid reporters backstage, but invariably Jane was there. The bands didn't care. She was just a legend."

Scott retired from the PD in 2002 following 50 years at the newspaper....

Among dozens of tributes which poured in, one Scott fan wrote: "Say Hi to Jim (Morrison), Janis (Joplin) and Jimi (Hendrix) up there..."

Gibson may be reached at rgibson@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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