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Braver Newer World
Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Braver Newer World
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

Jimmie Dale Gilmore's third Elektra album comes as a corrective of sorts to fellow ex-Flatlander Joe Ely's ambitious but disappointing Letter to Laredo. While Braver Newer World doesn't quite cohere like Gilmore's brillian...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Title: Braver Newer World
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Elektra / Wea
Original Release Date: 6/25/1996
Release Date: 6/25/1996
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
Styles: Americana, Outlaw Country, Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriters
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 075596183628

Jimmie Dale Gilmore's third Elektra album comes as a corrective of sorts to fellow ex-Flatlander Joe Ely's ambitious but disappointing Letter to Laredo. While Braver Newer World doesn't quite cohere like Gilmore's brilliant 1991 disc After Awhile, its risks generally pay off. Produced by T-Bone Burnett, the disc initially seems to indicate a full-scale embrace of hippie-ism that's perfectly in tune with Gilmore's Zen-country leanings. Sitars twang, French horns evoke sticky pop psychedelia, and the artist revives as best he can a painfully earnest folksong "Sally," by Texas pal A.B. Strehli. Gilmore's Buddhism reaches full flower here on the title cut and a Strehli ballad, "Come Fly Away," making interesting implications about his collaboration with Burnett, one of rock's most famous drunken seekers. Burnett's wife Sam Phillips contributes one of the best songs here, "Where Is Love Now," which in turn gets one of World's most adventurous treatments; the Beck-like beatbox and deep-dish Orbisonisms of (presumably) Burnett's guitar are a striking backdrop for a voice and lyric that drip high lonesomeness. Some of Gilmore's fundamental roots are also on display here, on a yowling lo-fi take on the ancient blues number "Long Snake Moan" and a version of Ely's "Because of the Wind" that, somewhat surprisingly, fails to light a real fire under the players. Still, the overall anything-goes approach makes World both a good document of this period in Gilmore's evolution and a fine introduction for those who've missed him in the past. --Rickey Wright

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CD Reviews

An extraordinary album by an extraordinary talent
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 05/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I logged on intending to review a movie I'd just seen and a book I'd just finished, but found myself perusing reviews of Jimmie Dale Gilmore. I was absolutely stunned to see that this masterpiece was receiving only four-stars overall, brought down mainly by an inexplicable one-star and a two-star review. It is simply inconceivable to me that anyone with any degree of musical sensitivities could give this album a rating that low. I have no explanation. Perhaps they owned a previous Gilmore album and can accept nothing that departs from their very narrow expectations. Perhaps they are country traditionalists and will accept no variants on that. Perhaps they have tin ears. But these are marginal, aberrant opinions. This album is very widely regarded as one of Jimmie Dale Gilmore's finest albums, and possibly his best. For instance, Rolling Stone gave it a rare 4-stars when it came out while its readers have given it a 5-star rating.'s review concludes, "Arguably his finest work." These are much more typical of the critical and fan reaction to this fine album than these bizarre low ratings.

The album is buoyed throughout by Gilmore's typical likable, reflective, almost spiritual lyrics and sensibilities. It does represent a bit of a departure from his previous albums in that it features some sonic experimentation that is not typical of a Gilmore album (a possible source of the aberrant fan reviews found here). The producer is legend T-Bone Burnett, a man with many of the same sensibilities as Gilmore (Burnett is one of the most deliciously rowdy Christians I know) but with a wider sonic palette. No question he played a role in expanding Gilmore's sound. Nonetheless, the focus remains on Gilmore's delightful, warm, yearning tenor. It may not sound like previous Gilmore albums, but it still sounds entirely like Gilmore.

There really are no weak cuts on the album, but to a degree most of the songs are hurt by comparison with two utter masterpieces. "Braver New World" is about as beautiful as any song recorded in the past ten years. It opens with lovely instrumentation unexpectedly graced by a heavily distorted guitar and Jimmie singing on the first verse:

Tell me now that you know how
To greet the dawn each day.
Fearless and unfettered, stand
Before the sun and pray.
There's no controversy
Let silence judge your plea
For justice or for mercy.
They both will set you free.

His phrasing on the song is impeccable, giving many of the words unexpected breaks, sometimes intoning the words as if imitating a steel pedal guitar. This truly is as fine a song as any that Jimmie Dale Gilmore has ever sung, an absolutely stunning performance on every level. The miracle is that "Heading for a Fall" is every bit as good. The first time I heard the album, I almost didn't hear the rest for repeating this song. It is a wonderfully ironic number, with him singing to a woman he yearns for. He basically informs her that she is harboring unrealistic fantasies about her future and that he will be waiting for her when her expectations come crashing down. He sings to her:

Don't put your dreams way up there in the clouds
I don't think that's what It's all about
You can't get much higher when you're so above it all
I'll be waiting here when you hit bottom
I believe you're headed for a fall.

The irony comes from the fact that it is possible that he is the one that is fantasizing. Every word that he addresses to her could just as easily be addressed to him. So instead of a triumphant declaration of their future love together, the song is simultaneously a sad expression of a man's self-delusion. The double meaning of the song gives it a heartbreaking dimension belied by the surface meaning of the song. It is all in all a remarkable composition.

The only real problem with the Internet and reviewing sites is that people who really don't know what they are talking about get equal time with those who do. In this instance, I will assert that the very low reviews here should just be completely ignored. They do not represent established or widespread views about this album, which is almost universally agreed to be among Gilmore's very finest efforts. I would, in fact, place this among the top ten country albums of the past decade and would recommend it as a great starting place for learning about Jimmie Dale Gilmore."
Another delicious T-Bone steak
Johnny Hodges | Clark Fork, ID United States | 02/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Don't ordinarily care much for country; overworked licks, cliched lyrics, ersatz humanity with little real soul (bluegrass, now that's another story). But I got a kick out of watching JDG with the Flatlanders on Austin City Limits so not knowing which album to buy, I went with this because I loved T-Bone Burnett's production on the Roy Orbison Black and White concert and "Oh Brother" soundtrack, and, frankly, because it was so cheap. Boy did I get lucky! I haven't gotten goose flesh from a popular music CD in many years. The quirky instrumentation, the original lyrics, and that VOICE all come together to create a genuinely moving work of art. I suspect the negative reviews come from an expectation of a more standard country music experience. This transcends not only the country genre, it transcends the usual music listening experience."
Like a sunday drive into the sunset of west texas
Johnny Hodges | 10/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"a beautiful, ambitious's too bad that some fans want their heros to crank out the same old same old...Jimmie takes us where he wants to's just a matter of opening yourself up to something different and going along for the ride...5 Stars! Thanks Jimmie, I miss Texas..."