Sep 13, 201212:59 PMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
New Tunes: A Few Words With Time Jumper Vince Gill (And A Roundup Of New Albums)
Western swing and other classic country styles become new again with this week’s release of the Time Jumpers’ self-titled album (Rounder Records). The group’s large roster features several of Nashville’s most respected players — among them pedal steel ace Paul Franklin, bassist Dennis Crouch, vocalist Dawn Sears and, of course, Grammy-winning Hall-of-Famer Vince Gill.
I rang up Gill a few weeks ago for another story that’s coming up in a future C&I issue, but we found a minute to discuss Time Jumpers. Gill explained how the group came to prominence in Music City.
“Time Jumpers is a side project for me. It started as a [jam session], a way to have fun on Monday nights. More than anything, it was a place for people who loved that kind of music to go and hear it.
“One thing has led to another, and we decided to make a record. I'm hoping it'll get some notoriety and attention.”
The release is but one of Gill’s current musical endeavors. Says the artist behind hits such as “When I Call Your Name” and “I Still Believe In You,” as well as more recent critically acclaimed albums These Days and Guitar Slinger: “I’m going to continue to tour and make records, and do the things I’ve always done.
“I have about 20 ideas, and can’t figure out which one to land on. I’ve kind of taken a page from Willie Nelson, how in the last 15 or 20 years, he’s probably recorded more than he did in the first 40 years of his career.”
For now, though, lovers of old-school country can hear Gill sing both lead and harmony on several of the Time Jumpers tracks. Grab it on vinyl in a couple of weeks for that added authenticity.
MORE NEW RELEASES
We’ve got longer pieces coming on several of the acts who put out new music this week, but here’s a quick rundown.
The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter – While I put the finishing touches on an interview with member Seth Avett, you should go ahead and get the North Carolina act’s latest Rick-Rubin-produced collection. It’s all killer, no filler, from the unbridled melodies of first single “Live and Die” to the necessary bombast of “Down With The Shine.” Bluegrass, pop, hard rock, and other styles are brought together with skill.
Kix Brooks, New To This Town – It’s the former Brooks & Dunn member’s first album after he and Ronnie ended the duo’s legendary run, and it’s custom-made for honky-tonks. Read more about it in C&I’s recent piece on Kix.
Calexico, Algiers – Quite possibly the most mellow, groove-filled album to hit stores this week, it’s the ninth studio set from the Tuscon group. Founding member John Convertino told me about the recording process in a phone chat for a piece that’s coming soon: Algiers is named after the New Orleans neighborhood where he and his fellow band members set up shop to record. Their studio was a converted church, and their surroundings had a profound impact on the record’s sound – from the somber brass to the international rhythms.
Bucky Covington, Good Guys – While talking to the former American Idol contestant for an upcoming piece, I was struck by his laid-back confidence. He’s stuck to his guns since appearing on the pop-heavy singing competition, keeping his tunes as twangy as he wanted and working with folks he respected along the way (like Shooter Jennings on Good Guys’ first single, “Drinking Side of Country”). More on Bucky later.
Ali Dee, Sweet Southern EP – The star of CMT’s Texas Women is no stranger to the pages of C&I — she recently appeared in a feature on the clothing line ATX Mafia. Her four-song EP leads with previous single “Sweet Southern Song,” and continues pumping out easy melodies with “Moonshine,” “Just A Diamond,” and “The World’s Gone Crazy.”
Bob Dylan, Tempest – The man’s going strong at age 71, with a rich and gritty new collection of country, rock and blues tracks. He weaves the saga of the Titanic in the 14-minute title track, but if you want shorter highlights, try the subtle boogie “Narrow Way” or the blues-riffing “Early Roman Kings.”
Chris Knight, Little Victories – Speaking of well-worn, no-apologies voices, Kentucky singer-songwriter Chris Knight is one of the most underappreciated songsmiths in country music. He weaves a powerful web of down-on-luck, blue-collar references in his new album, whose title track sports a cameo by none other than John Prine.
Little Big Town, Tornado – Is there a finer feel-good tune from the summer than this group’s lake-lovin’ hit, “Pontoon”? I think not. And the four-part harmonies keep on meeting the crazy hooks on the rest of LBT’s fifth album. Judging by the quality of their recordings and their infectious live energy, the foursome should be a dominating force in country for years to come.
Kathy Mattea, Calling Me Home – Mattea goes up on the mountain and embraces Appalachian song stylings for her new album. And she sings with as much conviction and passion as she did on “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” 25 years ago.
ZZ Top, La Futura – One of Southern blues-rock’s biggest groups turns in its first album in nearly a decade. Get out your fake beards, and work on those dance moves!