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Reason And Rhyme

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 21, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

2011 release from the Roots/Country hero, a collaboration with legendary lyricist Robert Hunter. Reason And Rhyme makes a compelling case for the continued vitality of the Lauderdale--Hunter partnership--and for Lauderdale's unique and deeply satisfying approach to Bluegrass. "This one's back to total bluegrass," Lauderdale says of the collaborative follow-up to 2010's electric Patchwork River, and so it's no surprise that it features many of the musicians involved in previous bluegrass efforts like Could We Get Any Closer (2009) and 2007's Grammy-winning The Bluegrass Diaries.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 21, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugar Hill
  • ASIN: B004ZLBV0I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,436 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
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Jim Lauderdale
"Reason & Rhyme"
(Sugar Hill, 2011)
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Another brilliant, weird outing from Jim Lauderdale. This country auteur's take on bluegrass music is as kooky and idiosyncratic as his approach to Top 40 songwriting, but since he's had so much success in both fields -- penning numerous Nashville hits and making two albums with the venerable Ralph Stanley -- I figure he's got the right to take a few liberties. This album is a collaboration with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, who also takes a square-peg/round hole approach to Appalachian mountain music: the songs don't generally follow the standard-issue verse-chorus-verse/couplet/quatrain format, but somehow they all wind up being pretty compelling. I hear echoes of the blues-inflected, late-1950s/early '60s work of bluegrassers such as Jimmy Martin and Hylo Brown, both in the sincerity of Lauderdale's vocals, the purity of his sentiments and the caliber of the musicianship. A quirky, catchy album. Definitely worth checking out! (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue.com Guide To Country Music)
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Format: Audio CD
There's a select set of modern musicians who've found fortune in Nashville, yet maintained (or in the case of Patty Loveless and Dolly Parton, developed) bluegrass credentials. Jim Lauderdale hasn't had the level of commercial success as Vince Gill or Ricky Skaggs, but his songs have been turned into hits by George Strait, Mark Chesnutt, and Patty Loveless, and he's won critical accolades for this own work. He's a favorite of roots listeners, a valued collaborator to a wide variety of other musician's projects, and like Gill and Skaggs, he's maintained a deep connection to bluegrass, including collaborations with Ralph Stanley and Donna the Buffalo, and his own Grammy-winning Bluegrass Diaries.

For the past few years, Lauderdale's work has intertwined with the history of the Grateful Dead, including his participation in The American Beauty Project, and extensive songwriting with former Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Lauderdale's previous collaboration with Hunter, Patchwork River, was an electric affair that blended country, rock, blues and Southern soul. Their latest set reaches back to the string band and harmony sounds of 2004's Headed for the Hills, but with purer (but certainly not pure) bluegrass arrangements.
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No matter what the canvas looks like, you can always tell when Robert Hunter's been painting on it. His talent for taking common phrases and twisting them to his will remains remarkable after all this time. When one thinks of Nashville, the word "Deadhead" doesn't usually immediately follow, but remarkable songwriting usually does. I'm delighted that RH is able to widen his reach this way and thanks to Jim Lauderdale for making this third collaboration happen.

"There no time like the future" indeed......
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Robert Hunter and Jim Lauderdale are writing some of the best Americana flavored music coming down the pipe. This record is very close to their brilliant "Head for the Hills." Fans of bluegrass and classic country (and "Workingman's Dead") should find a tune or two that fits the bill.
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