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Classic Album Reviews: Jim Lauderdale | The Hummingbirds + Jim Lauderdale / Ralph Stanley | Lost in the Lonesome Pines

The restless roots-rocker doubles down with two of the year's best Americana sets.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Like a lot of roots-rockers, there are two sides to Nashville singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale — the roots side and the rock side. With these two simultaneously released albums, he gives each their due.

On The Hummingbirds, the restlessly prolific and eclectic Lauderdale indulges his more contemporary and commercial side — and produces his finest album in years. These 13 superb, self-penned slices of bittersweet country and scrappy honky-tonk will remind you of vintage Rodney Crowell, with touches of Steve Earle’s grit and Lyle Lovett’s jazzy whimsy thrown in for good measure.

Ironically, the only Americana disc I’ve heard lately that tops it is Lauderdale’s other release Lost In The Lonesome Pines, which reunites him with bluegrass god Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys. As it was on 1999’s I Feel Like Singing Today, theirs is a match made in hillbilly heaven. Lauderdale’s hickory vocals and Stanley’s ghostly wail complement each other perfectly, while the Clinch’s downhome fiddles and banjos invest tunes like Deep Well of Sadness, Redbird and the sweet-hearted She’s Looking At Me with an easy back-porch elegance. If you liked O Brother, Where Art Thou?, you’ll love Lost In The Lonesome Pines.