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The Time Jumpers wear the crown well

Clark State Performing Arts Center, Springfield, Ohio, April 30, 2017

Reviewed by Devin Adams

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If Bob Wills was the king of western swing, The Time Jumpers are without a doubt wearing his crown today. Few, if any, are keeping traditional western swing music alive these days, but The Time Jumpers are doing just that and more; they are taking it to a whole new level. It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and if that were indeed true, Wills would be floored.

Ten members in all packed the stage, and every one of them was a master of his craft whether behind triple fiddles, twin lead guitars, piano, accordion, pedal steel, drums, doghouse bass or an archtop guitar. Vince Gill is perhaps the most well know of the group, but his talent was matched or even exceeded by his band mates, except, possibly, vocally. Gill may be unmatched for his vocal talents, but was not the only singer working the mic. Ranger Doug Green, Billy Thomas, Jeff Taylor and all those fiddle boys performed admirably. With so many different voices, an entirely new dynamic was explored with each song.

Without an opening act, the band came right out of the gates doing tunes like "Trouble in Mind" and "Corrine, Corrina." Wills would have been proud, but the crowd was amazed.

The band was upfront about their love of western swing music and even said that if they could make a new song sound old, they had done their job. "Table for Two," "We're the Time Jumpers" and "Sweet Rowena" proved that they take their job seriously. Ranger Doug, singing "Bloodshot Eyes," drew laughter from the crowd.

Watching the band interact during songs was astounding. The different instrument breaks were perfectly choreographed. The fiddles traded licks, and then suddenly, Paul Franklin would slip in a perfectly timed pedal steel ride, or Jeff Taylor would work in a lead run on piano or accordion. The instruments weaved in and out like a giant rug on a loom.

More influences were paid homage as well such as Buck Owens and "Together Again" and yet more from Wills with "Big Balls in Cowtown." Several of Gill's previous solo hits were reworked for the band. Filling the demand for a slow country ballad was "Just Look at Us" followed by a version of "What the Cowgirls Do."

For 90 minutes, the band entertained and had a genuinely good time before saying thank you and farewell; however, the crowd had other ideas and were not ready to leave just yet. One fan near enough to the front to be heard yelled, "One more hour!" to which Gill replied, "We will play one more song that will feel like it took an hour." Laughing, the band reassembled and played a slow, super bluesy version of Hank Thompson's "Six Pack to Go." The final song lasted just over 10 minutes with each band member again showed staggering talent before leaving the stage to catch the bus back home to Nashville.