Reason and Rhyme (Sugar Hill)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., July 8, 2011
Jim LauderdaleReason and Rhyme (Sugar Hill)
After Jerry Garcia's death, no one would have pegged Jim Lauderdale as Robert Hunter's favorite co-writer, but Reason and Rhyme teams Nashville's song machine with the Grateful Dead lyricist once again. Last year's highly-touted collaboration Patchwork River was a roots-rock affair, and this time they get high and lonesome, with bluegrass featuring some of Music City's foremost pickers, including Mike Compton, Scott Vestal, Tim Crouch, and Randy Kohrs. Together, Hunter and Lauderdale straddle what Ralph Stanley calls "mountain music" and a contemporary ethos with phenomenal ease. They revisit a past century on "Jack Dempsey's Crown," a nod to the famed boxer, but also affectionately portray a present-day technophobe on "Don't Give a Hang." "Tiger & the Monkey" demonstrates a goofy side, while a spiritual leaning leavened with a breakneck pace emerges on "Fields of the Lord." Lauderdale's prolific pace continues – as should these collaborations with Hunter.