Artist: Jim Lauderdale
Album: This Changes Everything
Label: Sky Crunch
Release Date: 09/30/2016
Most artists who have released 28 albums are household names. The prolific Jim Lauderdale, despite winning two Grammys, isn’t quite that, but he is revered within the music community and by those who recognize his early and on-going contributions to Americana music. As such, Jim was honored two weeks ago at the annual Americana Music Association Conference with a WagonMaster Lifetime Achievement award, presented to him by George Strait, who recorded fourteen Lauderdale penned tunes.
This album, largely recorded in one day in Austin, is Lauderdale’s ode to the music of Texas dancehalls, the legacy of Texas songwriters and the collaborative spirit of Texas musicians. To that end, during a quick break on his summer tour, Lauderdale recruited a stellar group of sidemen: Tommy Detamore (producer and pedal steel), Tom Lewis (drums), Floyd Domino (piano–Asleep at the Wheel), Bobby Flores (fiddle-George Strait), Kevin Smith (bass –Willie Nelson), Chris Masterson (guitar – the Mastersons and Steve Earle) and vocalists Brennen Leigh, Noel McKay and Sunny Sweeney. In addition, for these 11 songs, many were co-written with: Bruce Robison (“There Is a Horizon,” “This Changes Everything”), Hayes Carll (“Drive”), Daryl Burgess (“All the Rage in Paris”), Odie Blackmon (“Lost in the Shuffle”) and Frank Dycus (“It all Started and Ended With You,” “The Weakness of Two Hearts,” “I’ll Still Be Around”).
Most of the songs are straight-ahead country, on which Lauderdale’s voice and phrasing are right on target. Amidst all the strong material, be sure to note the tear-jerker “It Started and Ended With You,” “All the Rage In Paris,” which you may have heard done by the Derailers, “We Really Shouldn’t Be Doing This,” a huge hit for George Strait and “Drive,” which has a different, rootsier sound than the other classic country material. With regard to the Strait hit, done here for the first time by Lauderdale, Lauderdale says this, “I was already a fan of George Strait when he began recording my songs, and his support really opened up a lot of doors for me. It allowed me to make the kind of music I want to make, and release it the way I want to release it. It allowed me to create.”
After a slew of bluegrass albums and the last year’s wonderful ode to soul, the double disc Soul Searching, it’s refreshing to hear the eclectic Lauderdale doing classic country again. Few, if any, do it better today.
– Jim Hynes