Throughout the nearly 30 albums he has released, Americana stalwart Jim Lauderdale has increasingly become a musical Picasso, cultivating an unrivaled reputation for eclecticism and at the same time redefining the standard for each of the genres he has effortlessly explored. Lauderdale's latest, London Southern, is his 29th LP and takes much of its inspiration from the musician's travels throughout England and Scotland, where a half-century ago, young fans were falling in love with America's R&B and country roots, forming bands and rewriting music history on both sides of the Atlantic.
Out June 30th, London Southern was produced in a pair of sessions at London's Gold Top Studios by Neil Brockbank and Robert Trehern and features collaborations with legendary songwriter Dan Penn ("The Letter"), as well as Odie Blackmon, Kendell Marvel and John Oates, with whom he penned the tantalizing "If I Can't Resist." Lauderdale closes the LP with a cool rockabilly groove on "This Is a Door," which takes its title from a sign he spied on a trek to Liverpool's historic Cavern Club.
One of the album's most affecting cuts, "I Love You More" showcases Lauderdale at his soulful and vulnerable best. Produced with a smoky, delicate touch, the tune about deeply-held feelings unable to be fully expressed finds Lauderdale beautifully channeling the country-soul spirit of Ray Charles. Adding a heartbreaking footnote to the album's upcoming release, however, is the unexpected death of producer Neil Brockbank earlier this week. Listen to the track below.
"'I Love You More' was finished after a show in Glasgow at the Oran Mor on the first night of four gigs in the U.K. that I had booked starting London Southern," Lauderdale tells Rolling Stone Country. "The manager said of the venue allowed me to go to a room adjacent to the bar to write. I had part of the song started, but most of it came out late that night. I really liked the stripped-down version we recorded, but Neil really wanted to add strings and woodwinds. I felt strongly that we should leave it as is, but I gave in to his idea of having the talented Kate St. John do the string arrangement. Needless to say, I was blown away at the results and it was the first of many steps in trusting Neil's instincts as a producer. He took me to new places musically that I had not gone before. We are stunned and deeply saddened that Neil passed away Tuesday, May 30th. The world has lost a great man."
1. "Sweet Time" (Lauderdale)
2. "I Love You More" (Lauderdale)
3. "We've Only Got So Much Time Here" (Lauderdale, Blackmon)
4. "You Came to Get Me" (Lauderdale)
5. "What Have You Got To Lose" (Lauderdale, Penn)
6. "If I Can't Resist" (Lauderdale, Oates)
7. "Don't Let Yourself Get in the Way" (Lauderdale)
8. "No Right Way to Be Wrong" (Lauderdale)
9. "Different Kind of Groove Some Time" (Lauderdale, Oates)
10. "I Can't Do Without You" (Lauderdale, Marvel)
11. "Don't Shut Me Down" (Lauderdale, Penn)
12. "This Is a Door" (Lauderdale)