Music

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
Amazon
iTunes

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.

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7
Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image