CD Reviews for 3/6/08 – Jim Lauderdale

Compact Capsules for 03/06/08
by Dan Ferguson

Jim Lauderdale
Honey Songs
Yep Roc YEP-2159

Fresh off his Grammy winning bluegrass album from last year called The Bluegrass Diaries, Jim Lauderdale returns to country form on Honey Songs. Based out of Nashville and as prolific a songwriter as they come, for Honey Songs Lauderdale assembles a dream team, or “Dream Players” as credited on the album, of who’s who types on the picking side. Accompanying Lauderdale are guitarist James Burton (Gram Parsons, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson), Glen D. Hardin (Elvis, Haggard, Roy Orbison) on piano, Al Perkins (Flying Burrito Brothers, Stephen Stills’ Manassas) on steel, Garry Tallent (E Street Band), and drummer Ronnie Tutt (Elvis, Johnny Cash) on the drums. Burton’s trademark stringbending is the stuff of beauty on Honey Songs with tracks like “Hittin It Hard” (featuring Patty Loveless contributing twangy harmony) and “Those Kinds of Things Don’t Happen Every Day” each offering flashbacks of his genius. In addition to Loveless, vocal assists also come from Emmylou Harris (the killer closing ballad “I’m Almost Back”), Buddy Miller, Kelly Hogan (Neko Case’s band), and Dawn Sears. Whereas Lauderdale does not break any real new ground on Honey Songs, his gift for melody and a good lyrical hook are undeniable. Honey Songs is contemporary without losing sight of country’s roots. What that means is it is highly unlikely this longplayer stands a fighting chance on commercial country radio which should not dissuade anyone who likes it real. Honey Songs delivers the goods. It’s also some awfully darn catchy, or shall we say sticky, stuff. (Yep Roc Records, P.O. Box 4821, Chapel Hill, NC, 27515, or

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)