Jimmie Dale Gilmore displays a more traditional sound than on his last release, 1996's "Braver Newer World," while maintaining the edge that has identified him as one of the leaders of the alt. country world for nearly two decades.
Ten of the 13 songs are covers from some of Gilmore's favorite writers. A couple of tunes ("Ramblin' Man," "Banks of the Guadelupe") by fellow Flatlander Butch Hancock are obvious choices as is Townes Van Zandt's "No Lonesome Tune," which Gilmore describes as "the closest he ever got to writing a happy song." Gilmore's music has always blended country, rock and folk, so it's not surprising that the Grateful Dead's "Ripple" would be a good fit. The classic "Mack the Knife" would seem to be a stranger pick, but the song works for Gilmore largelybecause of the steel guitar work of Darrell Scott.
Of the originals, the title track, which features Emmylou Harris on harmonies, has most in common with Gilmore's recent work. "Blue Shadows," co-written with Hal Ketchum, has a Roy Orbison feel.
The closing track "DFW" is inexplicably unlisted and uncredited in the liner notes, presumably because Gilmore and/or co-producer Buddy Miller thought the upbeat rockabilly tune might appear to be out of place with the rest of the album. Though Gilmore relies primarily on the work of other writers, this disc shows that he remains at the head of the alt. country class.