PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Jim Lauderdale with Donna the Buffalo: Wait 'Til Spring

Jason MacNeil

Donna the Buffalo

Wait 'Til Spring

Display Artist: Jim Lauderdale With Donna the Buffalo
Label: Skycrunch
US Release Date: 2003-07-01

Jim Lauderdale has been around for quite a while now. The singer-songwriter has never really received the attention he merits, but it hasn't stopped him from still doing the tours, the studio work and continuing the cycle of life for a musician. This latest album, with the supporting cast in Donna the Buffalo, features more fine songwriting but with a certain concentration towards the blues. The title track, which seems to be the starting point for what Chris Isaak has always wanted to achieve, is the creeping blues-rock that works so well. "Curled up like a team of champions", Lauderdale sings while backed by piano, electric guitar and organ. The tune is an up-tempo affair that sets the album off magically.

What separates Lauderdale apart from other musicians though is his ability to meld whatever works, whether it's the galloping country sound of "Different Kind of Lightning" or its intricate guitar picking thread throughout. The sweet harmonies are another surprise here before settling into a nice ambling roots Americana track. "Listen to her ride the clouds / Flashing through the silence showing us that she's around", Lauderdale sings before a rather brash electric guitar kicks into high gear. Although it loses just a bit of momentum two-thirds of the way in, it's not enough to turn the listener off. "Some Other Bayou" is a Cajun-cum-roots tune that resembles recent John Hiatt adventures. The drums are a tad different and off-kilter from the norm, but the band seems to find the groove from the onset. It comes off a bit like early Doug Kershaw in portions of the number.

If there's one track that loses its footing, it's the soulful blues coming from "Slow Motion Trouble". Here Lauderdale gives his best, but it just isn't good enough to carry the song. Too often not much happens aside from a deliberate blues backbeat. The title unfortunately lives up to the song's billing, as it's in slow motion and results in too much trouble for the listener. Thankfully the soul of "Ginger Peach" shines through despite the pedestrian delivery on harmonies. It brings to mind something that the Pretenders nailed on Loose Screw, possibly "Complex Person". There's a reggae quality to it that doesn't diminish Lauderdale's finest delivery of the album. The seventies feel it has isn't quite as strong, thankfully.

"That's Not the Way It Works" offers more of a roots rock feeling à la Steve Earle or a Jim Cuddy-led Blue Rodeo. Aided by fiddler and multi-instrumentalist Tara Nevins, Lauderdale finds himself in a safe yet very good place. Possibly so good it might be "singles" or "radio" material. The same can't be said for "Sapphire". Here, Lauderdale opts for a swampy wah-wah guitar groove that falls off the mark. Moving from a rapid tempo to a slower melody is a disaster. It seems too much like filler to be even considered filler. This should have been left on the cutting room floor or Pro Tools recycling bin. "This World Is Getting Mean" has a country slant that Marty Stuart or Radney Foster would revel in. Minimal during the verses, backing harmonies gives it a gospel-like sound.

Lauderdale tends to veer back between relaxing with upbeat numbers or "relax and roll" for lack of a better phrase. "Awake Now" has the same traits as "Ginger Peach" with its soothing summer sounds and clocks in at under three minutes. "Holding Back" holds nothing back as everything is full steam ahead, making it another favorite for the record. On the whole, fans of Lauderdale will be more the pleased with this effort. It's also a decent start for newcomers to the musician.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.