Jim Lauderdale's June 12 debut album for Dualtone Records, "The Other Sessions," derives its title from the fact that it was recorded after the completion of his originally intended album last August.

Jim Lauderdale's June 12 debut album for Dualtone Records, "The Other Sessions," derives its title from the fact that it was recorded after the completion of his originally intended album last August.

"I'd just finished a country record with acoustic leanings for my first album since recording [1999's Rebel Records album] 'I Feel Like Singing Today' with Ralph Stanley," Lauderdale says. "Since that album, I'd played a lot of bluegrass festivals where there'd be a mixture of country, bluegrass, and folk [with] people like Peter Rowan, Donna the Buffalo, and Tim O'Brien. Being around those people really influenced the record, but a few months later I started writing with [Warner Bros. artist] Leslie Satcher. That charged me up and got me excited about traditional country."

At about the same time, Lauderdale performed at the Grand Ole Opry. "I was lucky enough to play there several times, which was really a lifelong dream," he says. "So it was a combination of writing that song with Leslie ["What's on My Mind"] and playing the Opry that made me hold off on the album I'd finished. I had a lot of other stuff in the can that needed to come out now."

Lauderdale, who in 1999 also released "Onward Through it All" on RCA, "cleaned up" the older material and went back and recorded new songs to go with it. "I brought both albums to Dualtone and told them I'd like to put the 'other one' out first, and everything fit together," he says.

Additional "Other Sessions" cuts cited by Lauderdale include "You'll Know When It's Right," which he co-wrote with Harlan Howard, and "Diesel, Diesel, Diesel," which he co-wrote with Del Reeves and Jeremy Tepper for Tepper's 1996 "Rig Rock Deluxe: A Musical Salute to the American Truck Drivers" compilation. Melba Montgomery, Kostas, and Frank Dycus are among his other collaborators.

"All the songs reflect a different color of country music for me," Lauderdale says. "Some are slightly more progressive, and some are retro-sounding or something that you may have heard a long time ago."

For Wherehouse chain senior buyer Geoffrey Stoltz, Lauderdale's disc "is one of the strongest records he's put out in quite some time. It's great to hear him back to doing what he does best, which is great traditional, country, honky-tonk music-pure unadulterated 'Lauderdale country.'"

Dualtone Music Group president Scott Robinson agrees. He says he's "completely floored" by the album's old-school style of country music.

The self-managed artist will now wait to put out his held-back acoustic country album "in a timely manner," he says, "once we let this one have its life." He's also working on several other projects, which include a fruitful songwriting collaboration with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Another record with Ralph Stanley is practically complete, but is also being withheld because of Rebel's recently released Stanley compilation and shortly forthcoming next album.

In addition, Lauderdale is rapidly filling his play dates for summer and fall. "I'm freer than I've ever been to go out on the road and stay out longer," he says. "It's the first time since [1994's Atlantic album] 'Pretty Close to the Truth' that I plan to tour as much."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print