Home Read Albums Of The Week: Jim Lauderdale | Hope

Albums Of The Week: Jim Lauderdale | Hope

The veteran singer-songwriter looks on the bright side with his 34th album.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Hopes ithe 34th album from two-time Grammy-winning American music icon Jim Lauderdale. The 13-track set features songs about hope, courage, and perseverance with wide-open arrangements reminiscent of ’70s California folk-rock, and is a joyous musical tribute to the spirit of overcoming and healing. “I wanted to get a musical message out there during this time of what we’ve all been going through, about the hope for better days ahead,” Lauderdale says. “If we can find any glimmers of hope, that really helps get you through another day.”

From the encouraging and optimistic opening track The Opportunity To Help Somebody Through It to the frontline workers tribute of Brave One to Breathe Real Slow, a song inspired by Lauderdale’s devotion to tai chi and qigong, which “was really vital to me during this last year,” Lauderdale says, the album “speaks to these times we were going through.”

Of note is Memory, one of the last songs Lauderdale wrote with his decades-long songwriting collaborator, the late Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. When he penned the lyrics, Hunter didn’t know how the song would act as a tribute to both him and all those lost in the past year. “Losing Robert just before the pandemic was so hard,” notes Lauderdale, “but he left the perfect lyric, to sum up my feelings about him and to honor all the people we’ve lost since.” The album’s cover and packaging feature paintings by Maureen Hunter, Robert’s wife.

Hope was co-produced by Lauderdale and his longtime collaborator Jay Weaver and recorded at the fabled Blackbird Studios in Nashville with many of the tracks engineered by Blackbird Academy students. “That was a learning experience for me, too,” says Lauderdale. “I love the energy of working with such talented people just at the start of their careers. These kids are the future of our business.”

Lauderdale was joined in-studio by musicians Chris Scruggs and Kenny Vaughan, Russ Pahl, Craig Smith, Will Van Horn, Micah Hulscher, Dave Racine, Pat Hubert, Wes L’Annglois, and sibling harmonies from Lillie Mae and Frank Rische.”