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Wait Til Spring (with Donna the Buffalo)

by Jim Lauderdale

7/1/03 SkyCrunch Records/Dualtone

It’s difficult to pigeonhole musicians like Jim Lauderdale. He’s been called “country,” but that seems more of a convenient label than an accurate description of his talent. Lauderdale, after all, recorded an album with Ralph Stanley in 2002, and joined with Donna the Buffalo in 2003 for this album, Wait ‘Til Spring. Country singers, after all, don’t make a habit of associating with jam bands (imagine Merle Haggard recording with the Grateful Dead). The combination, however, works remarkably well here. Lauderdale obviously wanted a sonic twist to his homegrown songs, and Donna the Buffalo obliges. The six-piece band, in fact, has a bewildering arsenal of instruments, ranging from fiddle, accordion, electric guitars, and an organ, and also helps out on background vocals. Lauderdale delivers a lovely, soulful vocal on “Ginger Peach,” while Jim Miller and Jeb Puryear’s guitar work lovingly underlines the melody. The upbeat, reggae flavored

“Sapphire” seems custom-made for serious dancing, and “This World Is Getting Mean” cuts a bit deeper than the average country song. Interestingly, Donna the Buffalo’s work here, sandwiched between Lauderdale’s three and four minutes songs, seems more focused than usual. Both artists take a leap of faith on Wait ‘Til Spring and come up with a finely executed album that should please fans on both sides of the aisle. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr., All Music Guide