Honey Songs (with The Dream Players)

by Jim Lauderdale

2/19/08 Yep Roc

As the “Dream Players” billing suggests, Jim Lauderdale shares the spotlight with his supporting cast on this stellar country release. Though the strength of his songwriting and his distinctively twisted vocals remain staples, here Lauderdale has recruited the most luminous musical lineup ever to back him. Legendary guitarist James Burton trades licks with pianist Glen D. Hardin, a fellow Elvis Presley alum, and Flying Burrito Brothers’ steel ace Al Perkins, with Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless, Buddy Miller, and Kelly Hogan all contributing background vocals. Highlights include breakup balladry (“It’s Finally Sinking In”), Western gallop (“The Daughter of Majestic Sage”), and, as a thematic change of pace, the intervention plea of “Hitting It Hard.” Lauderdale has never released an album that fails to satisfy, but the powerhouse backing makes this one exceptional. –Don McLeese