Which may be why, the first time you hear a Jimmie Dale Gilmore song, you feel as if you’ve heard it before—even as you’re surprised by a turn of phrase or a melody that you know you haven’t. He can wring more out of a three-chord, three-minute song than you thought was still possible. No formulaic, mini–soap operas here, though—Gilmore writes adult love songs: “Whatever I give up, love, it won’t be you”; “You’ve forgotten that life’s a treasure, not a trial.” He also sings of, and from, a deep love of life and humanity: “Love, I am alone and I am not afraid to walk this world with anyone, and never walk it crying, to live my life with all the world and never live it lying.” As Debbie Elliott said about him on NPR’s All Things Considered, “This is country when it was less glitz and more guts.”
Gilmore was a founding member of the Flatlanders, one of the great country cult bands of all time, but for the last couple of decades he’s had a solo career. His recordings always feature great musicians and just-right arrangements and production. When he comes to the Ark on Monday, October 13 (see Nightspots), though, Gilmore will be accompanied by only one sideman. It will be a chance to hear mostly his compelling voice, singing his songs just the way he first wrote them.
[Originally published in October, 2008.]