It’s rare to see simultaneous releases by one artist in two different genres, but singer/songwriter/guitarist Jim Lauderdale ably juggles the trick, proving along the way that this is one of the simplest in his bag of tricks.
Lauderdale has smithed songs for chart-toppers such as George Strait, Mark Chesnutt, Patty Loveless, and the Dixie Chicks. And in 2002 he released a bluegrass disc with Ralph Stanley. Yet, even with these on his resume, Lauderdale isn’t a household name. Thus, the album title is a tongue-in-cheek poke at his own efforts to top the charts.
It’s also a darn fine album – pure honky tonk, from the solid roadhouse groove to his tear-in-the-beer lyrics. There’s kitsch and country corn, but throughout, it’s good stuff.
Bluegrass rides a line between traditional and more country-pop-tinged bluegrass. Alongside Bryan Sutton’s lead guitar and Jason Stewart’s banjo, the album’s packed with tasty dobro from Randy Kohrs. Oh, and the kickoff track, “Mighty Lonesome,” is a tour de force.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.