Jim Lauderdale & Roland White
He made his mark in Nashville writing songs that were recorded by big stars such as George Strait, the Dixie Chicks, and Blake Shelton, but Jim Lauderdale’s own records are less moored to a particular scene. Like Buddy Miller, Dwight Yoakam, and other crafty veterans with roots in country, Lauderdale’s music is flexible enough to accommodate diverse elements, which has helped keep things remarkably fresh over a long recording career. Along with familiar downhome sounds, the wonderful “Time Flies” contains echoes of funk (“The Road Is a River”), psychedelia (“It Blows My Mind”), swing (“While You’re Hoping”), and soul jazz (“Wearing Out Your Cool”) but never feels gimmicky or forced, thanks to Lauderdale’s unstoppable melodies and engaging, folksy voice. It would be intriguing to see him collaborate with Britain’s Robyn Hitchcock, another well-seasoned artist, whose music has evolved from freaky to a similarly eclectic approach.
Folks interested in Lauderdale’s origins can check out his newly unearthed sessions with bluegrass all-star Roland White. Recorded nearly four decades ago and unreleased at the time, “Jim Lauderdale & Roland White” features plenty of high lonesome singing, plus enough jaunty mandolin, fiddle, and banjo to set toes tapping. Charming.