Though Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore began their careers in different parts of the country, performing entirely different kinds of music – Alvin in punk outfit the Blasters, Gilmore in country-folk band the Flatlanders – they both got to experience the highs and lows of being a working musician. There’s a mutual respect and genuine love for their own biographies in “Downey to Lubbock,” the freewheeling, joyous title track from Alvin and Gilmore’s forthcoming collaborative album.
“Downey to Lubbock,” which references the California and Texas towns where each man got his start, begins in a humid, “Boys of Summer”-style guitar mist before settling into an uptempo, blues-based shuffle. Alvin, a “wild blue Blaster from a southern California town,” and Gilmore, an “old Flatlander from the great High Plains,” swap lines about the always-arriving, always-leaving existence they’ve known and the potentially harmful habits (“still surviving on Advil, Nyquil and nicotine,” per Alvin) that often come bundled with it, grinning their way through every second.
Downey to Lubbock, which will be released June 1st via Yep Roc Records, came about after longtime friends Alvin and Gilmore embarked on a 12-city tour in 2017 and decided to record together for the first time. Alvin penned the title track and one other tune, while the rest of the album consists of covers of Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Lightnin’ Hopkins and more. The two men will return to the road this summer, kicking off their tour May 25th at the Strawberry Fest in Grass Valley, California.