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Jim Lauderdale

A Conversation with Jim Lauderdale (continued)

PM: I see my old pal Kenny Vaughan played almost all the electric tracks here, and mighty fine ones.

JL: Yeah, he did. And Kenny was on some of Persimmons. But yeah, he's on the bulk of this record. It was really great to be in the studio together.

PM: Isn't he kind of a new go-to guy for you? Was it because Pat [Buchanan] was out with Faith or something, or you just decided that flavor was what you were looking for?

JL: Well, Odie kind of suggested that. And he wanted to try some different things. I, of course, have worked with Kenny in the studio, like I said, on Persimmons. And he did some gigs with me several years ago, and I really loved playing with him. We'd also worked together in Lucinda Williams' band during the Car Wheels on a Gravel Road tour. I was opening up for her, solo acoustic.

PM: That's right.

JL: Then I'd sing harmonies. Also Kenny was in the band for a long time.

PM: Unbelievable dude.

JL: Yeah. Oh, he's a great guy, a really great guy. And now he's with Marty Stuart. And really, boy, what a band!

PM: Oh, yeah. [see our interview with Marty Stuart]

JL: The show Marty puts on, and just what a stellar band. They're just really, really great.

PM: I've never seen Kenny so happy in a band as he is with the Superlatives. It's really great.

JL: Yeah.

PM: So on to the record called Bluegrass. First thing is [laughs] how about that [dobro player] Randy Kohrs?

JL: Yeah, man, he's really great. Randy, through the years, when I really kind of started playing bluegrass again after many years, and was kind of getting back into it before I did the records with Ralph [Stanley], Randy was just such an influence. I love singing with him. He kind of can finish any twists and turns I might do vocally. It's like he intuitively knows what I'm going to do.

PM: It's unbelievable how he follows you, as you say, through every appoggiatura, every little turn.

JL: Yeah. And he's just such a great player. He's really been helpful in directing me to players. And I felt like it was really natural to have him co-produce the record. I wanted to work with Bill Vorndick, who's a great engineer, and has a really terrific studio, called Hillside Audio Lab.

PM: Way out there on the ridge, right?

JL: In Bellevue, yeah. And Bill has worked with, gosh, you know, for over thirty years with just tons of great people, and great music.

PM: So many fine records.

JL: Yeah. So it's just a good natural feel to work with him.

PM: I love the playing of Randy Kohrs. I mean, he's the most aggressive dobro player I think I've ever seen.

JL: Yeah. Yeah, he's really got his own style, and he's just really a consummate musician.

PM: I mean, I've never heard the dobro sound so macho, because the bar and that slidey--the nature of it, it's just kind of a mellow thing. I mean, Jerry Douglas gets a lot out of it. But Randy is just so macho. He makes it much more like a slide guitar, or I don't know what, a whole different thing.

JL: Yeah, oh, yeah.

PM: And here, on the Bluegrass album, you write half the tunes yourself, and spread the rest around.

JL: Uh-huh.

PM: Leslie Satcher pops up again with a great tune.

JL: Yeah.

PM: "Who's Leavin' Who" It was reminiscent of one of my favorite Lauderdale songs "What's On My Mind."

JL: Huh. That's right. Another Lauder-Satch composition. We used to joke years ago that we would call our publishing company Lauder-Satch.


PM: That's catchy. So what's Leslie like? I've never met her.

JL: Oh, she's just really creative and full of life. It's really fun writing with her, it's really inspirational. And she has great ideas. Really a good person. Yeah, it's very good to be around her.

PM: Do you ever write three-ways, as is often done in this town?

JL: I'm trying to think--I haven't done that too much. I've only done it a few times. I'm not opposed to it. It hasn't really happened that... Well, actually, I did--Odie and I wrote several songs with Gary Allan last year. And actually, chronologically, I guess I started writing with Odie about a year and a half ago. Yeah, but we wrote several tunes with Gary Allan. And I think he's recorded one for his upcoming album.

PM: I hear he's a good dude.

JL: Oh, yeah. He's a good guy.

PM: Somebody told me a funny Al Anderson story. [laughs] I don't know if it's true. But the way it goes is: A new co-writer asks, when they're just getting started, I guess just to break the ice, "Well, Al, what kind of a song do you want to write today?" [laughs] And Al just gave him the hairy eyeball and said, "A f*!#in' hit. What the hell do you want to write?"

JL: I never heard that one.      continue

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