Jerry Garcia

Retro: Quick Q and A with Jim Lauderdale

Jim Lauderdale’s music spans many genres and his musical resume is most impressive. He is admired by stellar musicians across the musical spectrum. Elvis Costello says of Jim: “He’s a man of great style, an exceptional songwriter and tremendous singer.” Country superstar George Strait says “Jim Lauderdale is a consummate entertainer, a sharp dressed man as well, a terrific songwriter and a great singer.” It was a thrill to present him in concert in 2010 and since that time, I’m pleased to say that his name has become much more commonplace across the country and the world. You may recognize him as the co-host of “The Buddy and Jim Show” on Sirius XM Outlaw Country or as the host of the Americana Music Awards or from his many appearances on Music City Roots.

Jim’s latest album, Hope, offers an optimistic perspective that is much needed these days. In light of the challenges faced by so many during the pandemic, Jim became inspired to create a joyful sound and that he did. Working on this album helped Jim maintain some balance and be open to hope. Take some time and give this album a spin. You’ll feel better and if you’re not a Jim Lauderdale fan already, you will be by the end of your listening experience.

Note that I asked Jim about his songwriting relationship with Robert Hunter. On this album, you’ll hear the very last co-write that they worked on together. It’s called “Memory” and it will be remembered as a fond goodbye. Hunter was able to hear the song before he passed in September 2019.

Here’s a video of “Memory.”

To learn more about Jim Lauderdale, visit his website.

Here’s the interview with Jim from November 2010.

Your songs have been recorded by the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless, Dave Edmunds, Solomon Burke, George Strait, and so many other greats in the music business. Have any of them recorded the song in a way that totally astounded you by its uniqueness — trans­form­ing it into something that you never would heave ever imagined?

Yes, I was so pleased with the way Elvis Costello recorded “I Lost You” for his new album. T-Bone Burnett produced and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.

Your newest CD, Patchwork River, is your second collaboration with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. How did you team up with him?

When I was going to make my first album with Ralph Stanley I tracked him down knowing that he and Jerry Garcia were big Ralph Stanley fans. We wrote a couple for that album and it’s been going ever since.

Do you recall the first time you played the Grand Ole Opry? What was that like? Had you ever envisioned yourself up on that stage?

It was always a dream of mine to play the Opry and it finally happened when I was a guest with Ralph Stanley after the first record came out. I got to sing with Ralph and the Clinch Mountain Boys. It was a very meaningful experience.

Tell us about your involvement with the documentary, ” Awake My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp.” Can you briefly tell our readers about this special kind of music?

I was asked to narrate the doc and then also asked to sing a song for it. I teamed up with my friends, a great duo, Jenni & Billy. “Shape note” singing is a very old style of singing hymns acapella.

What’s up next for you? Any new projects in the works?

I have a bluegrass album that I wrote with Robert Hunter that we recorded in August. I have another album almost finished with the “Dream Players” featuring Gary Tallant, James Burton, Ron Tutt and Al Perkins.