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Various Artists: The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers: A Tribute
Various Artists: The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers: A Tribute
turnover time:2024-06-25 06:03:29

Jimmie Rodgers has been called The Father Of Country Music, and while that's high and accurate praise, it doesn't quite cover the scope of his work. Collaborating with, among others, Louis Armstrong, Hawaiian musicians, and jug bands—in addition to introducing an unmistakable singing style—Rodgers drew on sources as diverse as the artists he inspired. It's fitting, then, that a wide variety of musicians, from Iris DeMent to Aaron Neville to Bono, would turn out for this tribute album. The problem is that the singer's distinctiveness doesn't always lend itself to interpretation, most notably when it comes to his trademark "Blue Yodel," a mournful, wordlessly expressive wail present in most of Rodgers' work. Jerry Garcia's bungled contribution demonstrates just how difficult it is to pull off, and most artists wisely put their own spin on the technique—or shy away from it altogether. Not that this weakens a generally enjoyable collection, with the strongest tracks ranging from lovely (Bono's "Dreaming With Tears In My Eyes," Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Somewhere Down Below The Mason-Dixon Line") to raucous (Steve Earle's "In The Jailhouse Now," Dwight Yoakam's "T For Texas"). It's a little too VH1, especially when compared to the still-fresh sound of the originals, but The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers is a decent primer for an essential musician.

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