Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Downey to Lubbock (Yep Roc)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., June 22, 2018
Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Dave Alvin bridge a broad musical spectrum. Between the Flatlanders' High Plains folk mysticism and the Blasters' blueprint cowpunk blues lies the history of American roots. One of only two originals, the title track opens as a worn, enthralling highway manifesto, Gilmore's pitching croon striking against Alvin's baritone like a hot desert wind. The two Americana stalwarts push each other throughout, most notably in Gilmore's creaking blues howl on "K.C. Moan," the hopping "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," and Lightnin' Hopkins' "Buddy Brown's Blues," which breaks into a horn-ripped romp, all matched by Alvin's glowering guitar. The latter's moments out front are equally provocative, from John Stewart's "July, You're a Woman" to Chris Gaffney's "The Gardens," while Woody Guthrie's "Deportee" receives timely, emotional reprise. The Texas warbler meets the California ripper and results in a barnstorming burner.