The Time Jumpers: The Time Jumpers

Written by September 6th, 2012 at 3:32 pm

The Time Jumpers
The Time Jumpers
(Rounder Records)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Time Jumpers have been drawing crowds in Nashville for years, not necessarily because of the type of music they play (Western swing, more or less), but because of the amazing and legendary musicianship they bring to the stage. Comprised of a Who’s Who of session players, stage veterans, and at least one bona fide star in Vince Gill, the 11-piece band is one of the tightest professional ensembles anywhere, and its performances are so good because the members can afford to work for the love of the music, not for the financial reward. The band brings the same energy it exhibits on stage to the studio on The Time Jumpers.

This ensemble has three ace fiddle players, a fabulous female vocalist in Dawn Sears, an amazing accordion player in Jeff Taylor (Elvis Costello, Paul Simon), a steel legend in Paul Franklin (Alan Jackson, Mark Knopfler) and a bass legend in the making in Dennis Crouch (Robert Plant, Gregg Allman). And let’s not forget Ranger Doug, “The Idol of American Youth” from Riders in the Sky, among the band’s several other players and singers. They’re all able to expertly perform Western swing and its cousin genres with the feel that God and Bob Wills intended. This eponymous album, the band’s first for Rounder, features five well-crafted originals by Gill, material from the other members, and some wisely-chosen covers (Johnny Mercer’s “Yodel Blues,” Harlan Howard’s “Someone Had to Teach You”). After a couple listens it’s hard to imagine how the album could have been done any better or any more sincerely.

Some people may not find the Time Jumpers as exciting as, say, Asleep at the Wheel, but these guys obviously aren’t trying to outdo anybody. They sound like they just want to play music they like with people they like. Given the professional work commitments of 11 Nashville musicians, they probably won’t be mounting a massive tour to support this record, and it’ll be a miracle if the album gets much non-satellite radio play. But The Time Jumpers is highly recommended for fans of top-shelf musicianship, and of Texas and Nashville music as it used to be played.

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