Jim Lauderdale

By Garth Paulson

“We both wear a wedding ring/yours of tinfoil, mine of string/if it ain’t love at least we laugh a lot.”

That line sums up my association with country music in general and Jim Lauderdale’s Headed for the Hills in particular. Country music isn’t my first love. In fact a couple of years ago I couldn’t stand it, but like a sucker I quickly fell for alt-country. Of course at the time I assured myself that alt-country would be as twangy as I would ever get. Yet, like so many suburbanites before me, alt-country led to Americana, which brought me to all sorts of genres prefixed with “neo-“.

Inevitably all of this has served to produce an actual appreciation, God forbid, for real country music.

With Jim Lauderdale, real country music is what you get. For his entire career he has eschewed the pap coming out of Nashville, opting instead to make pure, unbridled, authentic country.

There isn’t a hint of Toby Keith or Alan Jackson on Headed for the Hills, instead offering a distinctly traditional sound seeped in American Civil War-era Appalachian influences.

Headed For the Hills isn’t going to make my year-end list or anything dramatic like that, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. Makes me wish I had a front porch.

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