Jim Lauderdale with special guest Jaimee Harris
Jim Lauderdale is a consummate entertainer, a sharp dressed man as well, a terrific songwriter and a great singer." George Strait
Hes my favorite part of Americana music Ketch Secor, Old Crow Medicine Show
Hes a man of great style, an exceptional songwriter and tremendous singer Elvis Costello
Jim Lauderdale could easily be called a renaissance man. Hes a great singer, great guitar player and theres no way you could miss his work as a songwriter. Ricky Skaggs
At any given time, youre likely to find Jim Lauderdale making music, whether hes laying down a new track in the studio or working through a spontaneous melody at his home in Nashville. And if hes not actively crafting new music, hes certainly thinking about it. It's a constant challenge to try to keep making better and better records, write better and better songs. I still always feel like I'm a developing artist, he says. This may be a surprising sentiment from a man whos won two Grammys, released 34 full-length albums, and taken home the Americana Music Associations coveted Wagonmaster Award. But forthcoming album Game Changer is convincing evidence that the North Carolina native is only continuing to hone his craft.
Operating under his own label, Sky Crunch Records, for the first time since 2016, Lauderdale recorded Game Changer at the renowned Blackbird Studios in Nashville, co-producing the release with Jay Weaver and pulling from songs hed written over the last several years. There's a mixture on this record of uplifting songs and, at the same time, songs of heartbreak and despairbecause that's part of life as well, he says. In the country song world especially, that's always been part of it. Thats real life.
Lauderdale would know: Hes been a vital part of the country music ecosystem since 1991, when he released his debut album and began penning songs for an impressively long roster of country music greats. When I was a teenager wanting to be a bluegrass banjo player, I never would have imagined that I would get to work with people like Ralph Stanley, Robert Hunter, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams and John Oates , he muses. Getting to work with them inspires me greatly to this day, and I know it always will. , he muses. Getting to work with them inspires me greatly to this day, and I know it always will.
From rollicking guitar riffs on That Kind of Life (That Kind of Day) to the slow, sweet harmonies of Ill Keep My Heart Open For You, Game Changer shows off Lauderdales ingenuity as a singer, songwriter, and producerwhile reestablishing him as one of Americanas most steadfast champions. "Country music is constantly evolving, but I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for steel guitar and a Telecaster," he says. "I have done my job on this record if people who love classic country feel like they can put it on, or have it in their collection, and it would fit right in."
Respecting the past doesnt mean hes not breaking new ground. Were All Weve Got, a co-write with Mary Gauthier and Jaimee Harris, offers a timely message about healing torn relationships at home and across the world. And Friends Again, a grinning number about rekindling a friendship, is fresh and forward-looking. At every turn, Lauderdales collaborative spirit and genuine love for the creative process reveal themselves in thoughtful, well-crafted songs sure to stand the test of time. "When everything works right, it's just magical to be able to hear them back," he says. "You feel, at least for those three-and-a-half minutes, like life makes sense.
Jaimee Harris turned 30 during the pandemic. Its a milestone that is a rite of passage even during normal times. But for this Texas-born singer-songwriter, it came in the midst of one of the strangest and most tumultuous periods in American history. When the world stopped during lockdown, Harris, like many others, found herself gazing back into the past, ruminating on the nature of her hometown and family origins, and reckoning with their imprint on her. The term nostalgia derives from the Greek words nostos (return) and algos (pain), and if Harriss Boomerang Town can be regarded as a nostalgic album, it is only nostalgic in the sense that the longing for home is a desire to return to the past and heal old wounds.
Im at an age where Im wrestling with trying to understand the nature of my family, Harris says. Theres been suicide, suicide ideation, and theres certainly been addiction all through my family. My dads father died of suicide when he was 25 and I was 5. I couldnt imagine not having my dad right now.
Harriss sophomore effort, Boomerang Town marks a bold step forward for this country-folk-leaning singer-songwriter. It is an arresting, ambitious song-cycle that explores the generational arc of family, the stranglehold of addiction, and the fragile ties that bind us together as Americans.
For Harris, the album began gestating around 2016, a time of great loss for many in the Americana community, with the songwriter losing several musicians close to her. The shift in the nations political landscape had ushered in a new level of polarization that saw whole swaths of cultural life being demonized. For someone who grew up in a small town outside of Waco, Harris believed the values instilled in her by her parents were not entirely in line with how many on the left were viewing and vilifying Christians, citing them as responsible for the new change in leadership. As a person in recovery, Harris has had to re-evaluate her own connection to faith and find strength in a higher power (Though hes not necessarily a blue-eyed Jesus, she laughs), though she certainly knows what its like to be told how to vote in a Southern church setting.
It was from the intersection of these social, personal, and political currents the album was born. And while much of the material on Boomerang Town was inspired by personal experience, the songs on this collection are far from autobiographical xeroxed copies. More than anything, they come from a place of emotional truth.
The Barn (Ver)
136 Mac Davis Road
Columbus, MS 39702
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