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Country - Released June 21, 2019 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released August 3, 2018 | Yep Roc Records

Jim Lauderdale's music often walks a line between past and present as his muse escorts him from bluegrass-influenced acoustic sessions to full-band recordings that find room for retro and contemporary sounds. So Time Flies is an inspired name for an album from Lauderdale, and fittingly enough, it makes room for several varieties of the music he loves. The title cut is a contemporary country number that could find a place on commercial radio if more traditional sounds ever come back into style, and "The Road Is a River" and "It Blows My Mind" show he isn't averse to rocking out sometimes. "Violet" and "Where the Cars Go by Fast" are cool and atmospheric tunes suitable for listening late at night. "Wearing Out Your Cool" is a slinky exercise in blues with a rockabilly accent, and "If the World's Still Here Tomorrow" is a charming throwback to Nashville's countrypolitan era. "Slow as Molasses" finds the sweet spot where bluegrass and honky tonk music overlap, and "While You're Hoping" is a shuffle in the grand tradition that isn't afraid to turn up the heat. What ties all these elements together is Jim Lauderdale's tremendous talent: his vocals are superb on every track; his songwriting is smart and down to earth, and never misses the target; and his production gives the performances a warm, crisp sound that serves the songs well without getting in the way. And the studio crew that helped Lauderdale put this on tape -- including Chris Scruggs, Kenny Vaughn, and Craig Smith on guitars; Jay Weaver on bass; Robbie Crowell on keyboards; and Tommy Hannum on pedal steel -- are up to the challenge of interpreting Lauderdale's many stylistic moods. Despite his busy release schedule, Jim Lauderdale seems incapable of making an album that isn't heartfelt, well crafted, and thoroughly engaging, and Time Flies is further proof that he's making some of the best country music in the 2010s. ~ Mark Deming
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Country - Released January 10, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released November 8, 2019 | Rhino - Warner Records

Jim Lauderdale's Planet of Love is one of the most auspicious debuts a singer/songwriter could release. While Lauderdale had been on the scene for quite a while hanging on the West Coast -- where his actual first album was recorded by Columbia and never released -- he spent most of his time (and still does) writing songs for other acts. Planet of Love is one of the first records of the new country. It has modern adult contemporary sensibilities built into its production by the once and future husbands of Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, and John Leventhal, solid country singing from Lauderdale -- who was raised in North Carolina -- and country songs that are so mercurial they seem to defy the genre. In many ways, Planet of Love is the '90s version (post-cocaine) of outlaw country. It may not fit any one place stylistically, but Crowell and Leventhal had long been pushing at country radio's boundaries, and Planet of Love is truly the first Americana and adult alternative record to land. Reprise had no idea how to market it, and though it sold acceptably and was reviewed very favorably, it was a blip on the screen. That doesn't mean it's not a classic. Lauderdale's songwriting, especially when paired with Leventhal, is flawless: there's enough rock, enough country, enough striking pop hooks, and killer bridges to make any music fan swoon. (It also doesn't hurt that Lauderdale is an amazing vocalist who has sung with the cream of country's crop.) The hard rural edge in Lauderdale's voice is inescapable, but it was in Elvis' too. The ten songs here are interchangeable in terms of excellence but the slick, rockabilly-tinged "Heaven's Flame," and "Maybe" with its Traveling Wilburys' shuffle, are mind blowers to open a record with. Likewise, the honky tonkin' "I Wasn't Fooling Around" has all the marks of being inspired by Faron Young, though it's thoroughly postmodern; but in Lauderdale's voice it could be sung by either George Jones or Bono! The track "Bless Her Heart" proves that he can sing a ballad as well. This is heartbreaking without sentimentality. The emotion in it is one of honesty, confessional shame and spine-breaking regret. (The chorus of backing vocalists that includes Shawn Colvin is also noteworthy.) Emmylou Harris made her first, though certainly not last appearance on a Lauderdale record doing a stunning (what else?) harmony vocal on "The King of Broken Hearts," echoing both Merle Haggard and Gram Parsons. The last two cuts are the bluesy rocker "What You Don't Know" with a Howlin' Wolf moan at the end of each line in the refrain, and the Everly Brothers-inspired "My Last Request," with a chilling harmony vocal by Crowell. It's a masterpiece top to bottom and broke open the floodgates for the Americana format in that decade, while kicking off an eclectic but consistently interesting recording career. ~ Thom Jurek

Country - Released January 1, 2011 | Sugar Hill Records

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Reason and Rhyme is Jim Lauderdale's second album in a row written in collaboration with songwriter Robert Hunter, best known as one of the Grateful Dead's key lyricists, but don't think they're repeating themselves, as the two records have very different personalities. Released in 2010, Patchwork River was one of Lauderdale's more rock-influenced efforts of recent years, while Reason and Rhyme is a bluegrass set, where Lauderdale embraces the acoustic sounds that have been an increasingly important part of his repertoire. On Patchwork River, Lauderdale seemed willing to shift the curvature of his melodies to fit his collaborator's lyrics, but Reason and Rhyme goes in the opposite direction, as Lauderdale's melodies take the lead and Hunter has streamlined his verses a bit to match, though "Tiger and the Monkey" and "Cruel Wind and Rain" feel a bit wordy by the standards of a traditional bluegrass number. However, this territory isn't at all foreign to Hunter, having written a solid bluegrass-styled album with Lauderdale in 2004, Headed for the Hills (not to mention Hunter's key role on the Dead's two most explicitly country-leaning albums, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty), and he and Lauderdale make a fine team on Reason and Rhyme; Hunter can tell stories about love and life that touch on the home truths common to folk and country music, bringing a fresh, literate tone to the songs without dipping into clichés, while Lauderdale's melodies are splendid, honoring bluegrass conventions while showing off an energy and tuneful enthusiasm that's both contemporary and timeless. Few current bluegrass acts sing with the command and authority Lauderdale brings to his performances, and fewer still have a set of songs at their disposal as good as what Lauderdale and Hunter have composed for Reason and Rhyme, and it's another impressive installment in what's becoming one of the most interesting partnerships in roots music today. ~ Mark Deming
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Country - Released November 1, 1999 | BNA - Legacy

It may be a little streamlined and polished, especially when compared to his previous releases, but Onward Through It All is another reminder of why Jim Lauderdale is considered one of the finest songwriters in Nashville. Even his lesser material is classy, well-crafted and sturdy, which may be why it's a little disappointing that much of this album is designed for radio play. Then again, he deserves some success on his own terms -- and that's why it's hard to be angered by the creeping slickness, since not only should he be heard by a wider audience, it doesn't distract from the fine craft behind the music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Country - Released June 30, 2017 | Sky Crunch Records

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Country - Released November 8, 2019 | Rhino Atlantic

Jim Lauderdale has had success by writing songs others have had hits with. Jim Lauderdale has been favorably compared to the late Gram Parsons. Jim Lauderdale sounds an awful lot like a tame Rodney Crowell. Jim Lauderdale is playing it safe when he releases albums such as Every Second Counts. Jim Lauderdale should be more famous than he is. Either all, some, or none of the above are true. If you want to find out which statement is which, seek out a copy of Every Second Counts and find out for yourself. It's as simple as that. You will not be disappointed. ~ James Chrispell
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Country - Released January 31, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released November 8, 2019 | Rhino Atlantic

Jim Lauderdale did his share of label hopping in the 1990s, recording for Reprise and RCA, as well as Upstart/Rounder. Released in 1994, Pretty Close to the Truth was the first of two albums he provided for Atlantic. Some might wonder why an artist who was talented enough to write songs for the likes of Patty Loveless and George Strait did so much label hopping, and it came down to the fact that -- from a commercial standpoint -- he had too much integrity for his own good. Sure, Lauderdale could have taken the easy way out and tried to become just another radio-oriented Garth Brooks clone, but if he had done that, Pretty Close to the Truth would not have been half as interesting and heartfelt as it is. This CD isn't easy to categorize; is it Americana, roots rock, alternative country-rock? However you describe it, Pretty Close to the Truth is a diverse, unpredictable effort that draws on influences ranging from Merle Haggard to the Rolling Stones to classic soul. While the title song has a strong Stones influence and "This Is the Big Time" would not be out of place on a Dwight Yoakam album, the soul-minded "Why Do I Love You?" isn't unlike something Al Green would have recorded in the early 1970s -- take away the steel guitar and add a Memphis-style horn section, and you can easily imagine Green recording "Why Do I Love You?" for one of his Hi albums. In a perfect world, this album would have been a favorite at country radio. But, in 1994, Lauderdale was determined to do things his own way, and while that free-spirited attitude can frighten marketing people and radio programmers, it makes for a lot of first-class listening on Pretty Close to the Truth. ~ Alex Henderson
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Country - Released February 10, 1998 | BNA - Legacy

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Country - Released September 17, 2019 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released April 28, 2017 | Sky Crunch Records

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Country - Released July 18, 2018 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released May 16, 2018 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released March 22, 2019 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released June 25, 2018 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released April 19, 2019 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released May 24, 2019 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released June 2, 2017 | Sky Crunch Records