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Jimmie Dale Gilmore talks his way through fine music

Johnny D's, Somerville, Mass., February 17, 2005

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

A few songs into the first night of a short tour, Jimmie Dale Gilmore told the crowded house "I sort of in a way dread going out without The Flatlanders," referring to his other existence as a member of the well regarded trio which reformed a few years ago.

And in a way, perhaps he was right. There is safety in numbers when you can count Joe Ely and Butch Hancock as fellow band members. Not that Gilmore was totally alone on stage with his acoustic guitar. Long-time guitarist Rob Gjersoe was along for the ride as well.

One part of being with The Flatlanders that probably would have helped is Gilmore would not have done as much talking as he did. Ultimately, it became too much, but fortunately not to the extent of say Billy Bragg, where it actually overwhelms the music.

Gilmore seemed to need to get his viewpoints out about President Bush and the Iraq War (he's certainly not a fan of either) and told a story about a fan who came to a Houston concert only to be so upset with Gilmore's comments during that show that he gave Gilmore an album back that he had bought.

"I really apprediate you putting up with my preaching tonight, which is not my gig," Gilmore said near the end of the 90-minute show.

Funny that Gilmore talked so much since right before he got on stage, he talked with his wife on the phone who told him to play more and talk less. Guess he didn't take her advice.

But with that said, Gilmore sings and plays well as does Gjersoe, and Gilmore certainly offered a slew of well put together songs. A bit of a quiver in his voice goes a long way.

He played three songs from an upcoming Rounder album based on songs his father loved. Gilmore did good turns on all of them, including Lefty Frizzell's "Saginaw, Michigan" and a Carter family song, "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy."

Other highlights included the heartfelt "Just a Wave," on a request from a fan, the opening "Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown," Butch Hancock's "Bluebird" and a closing blues tune from Blind Lemon Jefferson.

Gjersoe was quite solid on guitar, often taking over the musical interludes without ever overplaying. Sometimes, though, the songs could have gone on a bit longer instead of coming to too quick an end, but that could be opening night issues.

Gilmore needn't dread going out on his own. He's obviously quite good and puts his heart into it. Next time, though, a little less talk, could lead to a lot more musical action.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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