Imagine a country singer who has written songs for George Strait, Vince Gill, and Dave Edmunds, and who recorded his new album with members of Lucinda Williams's and Dave Alvin's bands. You don't have to imagine, because that singer is Jim Lauderdale, and his second album, Pretty Close to the Truth, suggests he's the missing link between Dwight Yoakam and John Hiatt. Lauderdale is a California country-rocker who takes his cue not from the Eagles but from Buck Owens and Creedence. Lauderdale's trump card is his melodic gift. "This is the Big Time," for example, draws a cunning analogy between a show-biz career and a romantic relationship. What really sells the song, though, is the big, juicy hook, stated first in the singing steel guitar and then in Lauderdale's swaggering, Jerry Lee Lewis-style vocal. The Gram Parsons-inspired "Run Like You" features lazy verses and a chorus that builds inexorably toward a big melodic payoff. On "Don't Trust Me," Lauderdale warns a new lover to beware of his lies, but the tune is so sweet and seductive that she's likely to ignore his advice. He has a big, powerful tenor voice, but his delivery sounds like the most natural thing in the world, whether he's reminding us of Chris Isaak on "Divide and Conquer" or Percy Sledge on "Why Do I Love You?" Lauderdale's lyrics are more clever than deep, but he has a knack for linking his rocking rhythms so closely to his honky-tonk melodies that you can barely tell them apart. --Geoffrey Himes
Similarly Requested CDs
Jesus DOES know how to dance!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This IS American music. PERIOD. Imagine a Holy Ghost choir made up of Howlin' Wolf, Dylan, and Hank, Sr. And all the while you're held securly in your mother's arms as she dances with joy around the altar while the choir just flat TEARS IT UP! A week hasn't gone by in five years that I haven't marveled at this man's music. As good as it gets for poetry, beauty and truth, and done with a smile."
A wonderful CD
Amy Jones Bagnall | Fredericksburg, VA United States | 03/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even though I am writing this in 2003, I have owned this CD for several years. I used to travel (road trips) a great deal with my work, and many was the day and night I would drive the roads of VA singing along to this CD. Another great one Jim! Congrats on the Grammy!"