Jim Lauderdale has always been a terrific songwriter and singer, but this time he’s raised the standards for himself and everyone within listening distance with a disc of hard country that walks that famous line between then and now.
Lauderdale wrote or co-wrote each of the twelve tunes and sings the hell out of them in his distinctive, pleading phrasing. The steel-drenched “If I Were You” is a traditional Texas two-stepper built on a catchy turn of phrase; “Just To Get To You” (co-written with Melba Montgomery) features a rat-a-tat electric guitar riff by Pat Buchanan; “What’s On My Mind” (co-written with Leslie Satcher) boasts a scale-climbing vocal at the chorus.
“Merle World”, “Honky-Tonk Haze, “Oh My Goodness” and “You’ll Know When It’s Right” (a down-tempo weeper co-written with Harlan Howard) touch only the way classic country can touch. There’s even an honest-to-god trucker song, “Diesel, Diesel, Diesel” (written with Del Reeves and Jeremy Tepper, and previously recorded as a duet with Reeves on the 1996 Rig Rock Deluxe compilation album). For country fans longing for what speaks to them, this is it.