Lost in the Lonesome Pines (with Dr. Ralph Stanley)

by Jim Lauderdale

5/7/02 Dualtone


Picking up right where they left off on 1999′s classic I Feel Like Singing Today Jim Lauderdale and Ralph Stanley blend their voices — and their souls — on another estimable collection of original bluegrass songs (save for one cover, J. W. Smith’s “Boat of Love,” long associated with Bill Monroe). Spiritual themes abound in these songs (several of them co-written by Lauderdale with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter), bringing out the best in both artists. When Lauderdale and Stanley beseech the Lord for divine guidance through stormy seas on “Oh Soul,” their pleas resonate with conviction, and the deliberate music behind them accentuates the song’s anxiety-ridden text. A spirited retelling of the biblical story of “Zaccheus” brings together a compelling narrative, sparkling fiddle and banjo work, and a dramatic blending of tenor, baritone, and bass voices on the chorus. Fusing bluegrass with Lauderdale’s other favorite genre, honky-tonk, “I Think Somebody Better Come Back Home” sets a lyric bemoaning a faithless lover to a driving, fiddle-fired rhythm line. Of course there’s always time for some tomfoolery via the fanciful “Quit That” (complete with smooth, Bob Wills-like fiddle solos) and “She’s Looking at Me,” a humorous bit of male one-upmanship. As a thoughtful closer, Lauderdale’s reverential hymn “Listen to the Shepherd” gives Stanley an “O Death”-like a cappella moment that proves the perfect ending to another rich musical journey. David McGee, Barnes & Noble