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- Posted on Mar 12th 2010 1:23PM by Robyn Adams
Grammy award winning artist Jim Lauderdale knows a thing or two about singing and songwriting. Name a few of his tunes to any country music fan, even if they don't know his name, they certainly will recognize his music.
With the likes of George Strait, Patty Loveless and the Dixie Chicks belting out the tunes he wrote, Jim Lauderdale is well-known among Nashville's elite.
Spinner.com caught up with Jim Lauderdale to find out what he has been up to and what he will be doing at SXSW.
Describe your sound in your own words.
It's kind of a mixture of different styles of both progressive and traditional country, blue grass, and blues. That's why I'm considered Americana. I'd say American roots music and Americana is that.
My last two records were blue grass. And then before that I put out a record with a bunch of guys that had played with Gramm Parsons and Elvis Presley. I like those records a lot and wanted to use those guys. My new record coming out in May has James Perkins, Al Perkins, and Patty Griffin on it. I've written everything with one of my favorite writers named Robert Hunter, who was the lyricist of a bunch of songs that Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead did. That record is kind of a mixture, as well. I'm due to do another straight ahead country record before too long so I kind of mix up styles.
How did get your start in music?
I was playing the banjo when I was in high school and started playing whenever I could, with pick up bands, or what not's. When I was about 19, I moved over to acoustic guitar and I just really had a goal of trying to get a record deal. And it took me many years longer than I thought that would happen. But, along the way, I just wrote more and more. I got a publishing deal, too. From there, other people started recording my songs, like George Strait, Patty Loveless, John Mayall, Solomon Burke, and people like that. That was like this other career I never planned on but I'm real glad that it happened.
What are your musical influences?
I would say George Jones, Ralph Stanley, Buddy Waters, Keith Richards, Gramm Parsons, those are some of my biggest influences. There are many others, but if I had to choose 5, I would say those guys.
You have won a lot of awards during your career. What is the most meaningful award you have won?
The Americana Music Award (for Artist of the Year) because it was the first time they had ever done that. Then, the Grammy, the first one that I got with Ralph Stanley for Bluegrass. After many years of struggling, that was a real meaningful thing.
What is your favorite song you have written?
I really like, 'The King of Broken Hearts.' I wrote it as a tribute for George Jones and Gramm Parsons. George Strait recorded that. It was one of the first songs he ever recorded of mine and that kind of got the ball rolling for me as a songwriter professionally.
Then, 'You Don't Seem to Miss Me' that Patty Loveless did with George Jones. Most recently, a song called 'Twang' that I co-wrote with Jimmy Ritchey and Kendall Marvel. That meant a lot because it was a title track for George Strait and I had not had a song recorded by him in about 7 years.
Do you have a favorite artist you like to write for or work with?
George Strait has done the most, he's done 14. I really love it when he records something.
I have been recording for his last two records with Elvis Costello. We just got done with one last week. I have been singing harmony with him and tour occasionally with him. That record should be out in the fall. We wrote a couple of songs on tour last fall. I'm not sure but I'm hoping one of them will be on the record because he cut a lot of songs. But just the fact that he recorded something. I'm such a big fan of his and that meant a lot to me.
Which do you prefer: writing a hit song or performing on stage?
They are both so different but I am really, really grateful for either one. Just the opportunity to be on stage is always fulfilling. It's just real rewarding, too, to get a cut from somebody.
What's in your SXSW Survival Kit?
I've done at least 15 or 16 South by Southwests. It might even be 18. I always enjoy it but it is a pretty hectic pace there. It's really great seeing so many people you know that you only see there. It's real fun. I try to pace myself when possible because I know it's going to be kind of tiring, but rewarding.
Beatles or Stones?
They equal themselves out because when I was a kid I saw the Beatles when they first came on Ed Sullivan and it was a huge influence.
I didn't get turned on to the Rolling Stones until I was about 20. But then I couldn't get enough of them! That's why they equal out. The Beatles were an earlier influence and the Stones were later.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
When I was 18 I was in a country band for a little while in North Carolina. We had to stop the gig because during our second set a guy started waving a gun around. They cleared everybody out.
When is your next album coming out?
Yes, May 11, 2010 my record comes out and it's called 'Patchwork River' and that is a musical collaboration with Robert Hunter. I'm real excited about that. Those are most of the sets we will be doing at South by Southwest.
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