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World Music CD Reviews North American

Jim Lauderdale

By James Rodgers
Published April 3, 2007

Yep Roc

In Nashville, there is a small community of singer-songwriters, many of whom are highly praised by critics and fellow musicians, but have little to no commercial success. Jim Lauderdale could be their president. He’s been on multiple labels, watched other artists top the charts with his songs, while he straddles the boarders of country, bluegrass, and Americana. Lauderdale focuses on one style with his Yep Roc debut, Bluegrass. Be careful, the water’s been muddied a little by the simultaneous release of Country Super Hits Volume I. All 13 tracks were written or co-written by Jim, yet sound like traditionals. When he wraps that Dwight Yoakam, Buck Owens-influenced voice around the words, it’s hard to understand why he isn’t bigger. But you can understand the words, which is important, because few others write at Lauderdale’s level. If Bluegrass doesn’t make him a star, you’ll hear these songs become hits for others.