Jimmie Dale Gilmore & The Wronglers
SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 18, 2011
Jimmie Dale Gilmore & The WronglersVictorian Room at the Driskill, Wednesday, March 16
"No one would have believed down in the bowels of Lehman Brothers doing IPOs that I'd ever be up here on stage with Jimmie Dale Gilmore," investor Warren Hellman, decked out in a Star of David sequined coat and the honest-to-God tie of Earl Scruggs, quipped from behind his banjo. The beloved presenter of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco has spent years building up the bluegrass bubble, most recently wrangling legendary Flatlander Jimmie Dale Gilmore into his California string band, the Wronglers, for their upcoming album, Heirloom Music. Gilmore's West Texas warble proved ideal for the old-time revival, and there's something ageless to his tremble through "Time Changes Everything." The excellent hard-edged harmonies of fiddler Heidi Clare slid naturally into the nasal-pinched spaces of Gilmore's croon, whether striking tender on "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes" or rambling atop "Frankie and Johnny" and "Uncle Pen." Still, the highlight was Gilmore's climbing "In the Pines," shivering every note down to its harrowing core. Much of the set was rough and informal, but the crowd that nudged into the corners of the small room only seemed to appreciate the miscues all the more, hedging that anything this tried-and-true is a solid investment.