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Reason & Rhyme

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Jim Lauderdale’s latest album of collaborations with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter turns away from the rock-based format of Patchwork River for a serious bluegrass workout similar in feel to 2004’s Headed For the Hills and collections like Bluegrass and The Bluegrass Diairies. Hunter works economically, crafting lyrics to the traditional country melody of “Love’s Voice” and carefully measured verses for “Reason and Rhyme.” However, in the end, this is Lauderdale’s record. It’s his weathered voice and precise acoustic play and band leading that makes this a true celebration of traditional bluegrass styles. “Tiger & the Monkey” is plenty playful. “Jack Dempsey’s Crown” lopes along like a Wild West tale more than the tale of boxers. The banjo picking of “Janis Jones” is intense. “Doin’ It On My Own” has plenty of fiddle firepower. “Don’t Tempt the Devil (With Your Love)” flows with a classic country sound. Appropriate considering both Lauderdale’s country pedigree and Hunter’s work on the Grateful Dead’s most countrified albums, Workingman Dead and American Beauty.

1 Cruel Wind and Rain
2 Love's Voice
3 Don't Tempt the Devil (With Your Love)
4 Tiger & the Monkey
5 Not Let You Go
6 Fields of the Lord
7 Jack Dempsey's Crown
8 Don't Give a Hang
9 Reason and Rhyme
10 Doin' It On My Own
11 Janis Jones