- By Alan Richard
JIM LAUDERDALE'S SOULFUL COUNTRY, BLUEGRASS
Updated: Jun 8, 2019
Cosmic-country crooner Jim Lauderdale is another of my favorite artists and a great example of how country and soul music can intertwine.
A North Carolina native who grew up mostly in tiny Due West, S.C., near my hometown, Lauderdale’s first love was bluegrass. His time in New York and Los Angeles led him to more of an eclectic Bakersfield-type sound on his first few records.
His later albums have varied from hard country to swampy rock. Some of his best work is on his bluegrass albums, two of which won Grammy Awards. Jim recorded two records with bluegrass legends Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, I Feel Like Singing Today and Lost in the Lonesome Pines.
I remember seeing Jim play at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Ga., one time when he sang one of his most R&B-influenced numbers, “Good Together,” as a tribute to soul legend William Bell, who was in the audience. I’ll write more about Lauderdale’s many great songs and albums in future posts.
I interviewed Jim one time in Nashville for an Americana music magazine whose first issue was never published (I was eternally embarrassed.) Check out this songwriter session by Lauderdale from 2016 at the Country Music Hall of Fame during the Americana Music Festival. The performance includes the title cut from “I Feel Like Singing Today," plus “You’ll Know When It’s Right,” and my favorite of Jim’s, a soulful tribute to George Jones and Gram Parsons, “King of Broken Hearts,” a hit for George Strait.