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Jim Lauderdale
Alternative Folk

Coming off his powerful bluegrass album with Ralph Stanley, I Feel Like Singing Today, Jim Lauderdale continues making a stand for tradition with The Other Sessions, a rock-solid excursion through hard country. Augmenting a basic band with fiddles and pedal steel, Lauderdale keeps it lean and mean on standout tracks like the atmospheric weeper "Honky-Tonk Haze" and the prototypical honky-tonk love ballad, "I'd Follow You Anywhere," which is graced with simple, straightforward lyrical vows of devotion, sealed tight with a plaintive, high-lonesome vocal. Along the way there's also a worthy contribution to a venerable subgenre by way of the steady-rolling "Diesel Diesel Diesel," in which a big-rigger jams gears like crazy to get back home to his baby. And in an amusing nod to one of the patron saints of this music, the boozy, Bakersfield-styled tearjerker "Merle World" recounts the slow dissolution of a fellow drowning in Haggard-like sorrow after losing his girl. Tough and uncompromising, but always with a tender heart, The Other Sessions finds Lauderdale doing it his way, and that's a boon to country music. David McGee

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