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The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Heirloom Music – 2011 (Redeye)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore

From the dawn of his storied career, Texas singer/songwriter Jimmie Dale Gilmore has sprinkled his set lists with songs that comprised the soundscape of his childhood. As he grew, artistically and personally, Gilmore began learning even more about the music of the generation that preceded him and becoming even more enamored of the material that guided and informed his own unique hybridization of folk, country and blugrass. And yet, even as Gilmore's repertoire of old time songs expanded, he found that he lacked the contextual circumstances to actually take them into the studio.

Gilmore found the context he sought with The Wronglers, fronted by banjoist Warren Hellman, an old friend and the brains/money behind San Francisco's long-running Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Together, Gilmore and The Wronglers have created "Heirloom Music," an album that doubles as a wonderful tribute to the bluegrass of the '30s and '40s and proof of the contemporary impact of those songs' musical and lyrical messages.

Gilmore's voice is the perfect instrument to translate this timeless era, and The Wronglers are up to the task of channeling the period's authenticity while injecting it with a touch of 21st century perspective and energy. Gilmore does whimsy (Way Downtown, Big Rock Candy Mountain with help from Hellman), heartbreak (I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes, In the Pines) and hopefulness (Time Changes Everything) with equal measures of passion and sincerity while Hellman's Wronglers match him stride for musical stride on the aptly titled "Heirloom Music," a beautifully bound sonic scrapbook of songs that are as old as the hills and as fresh as a morning headline.