Classic. That’s what comes to mind with this long-deferred first studio album from the current lineup of the Time Jumpers. That’s not meant that this is an album headed for classic status. It’s an extremely good recording, but it falls a bit short of classic. Nor should you get the idea that the 12-tune mix of western swing, honky-tonk, and classic country found here are classics from the past. In fact, none of them are, three of them being relatively obscure covers, the rest bandmember originals.
What is classic is the sound the band evokes. With all but perhaps one or two selections, I found myself writing “classic sound” next to each track. “Texoma Bound” (a three-fiddle extravaganza from fiddler Larry Franklin), for example, recalls those western swing theme songs with which such bands used to open their shows. Throw in a little accordian for a touch of Adolph Hofner, and we’re off to a classic start. In that same let-it-roll, western swing vein are “Texas On A Saturday Night” and Vince Gill’s riff-driven “On The Outskirts Of Town.” Both skip along at a quick pace and both pack a punch. A bit slower, but still working the western swing style, is Kenny Sears’ “Nothing But The Blues,” a light-hearted look at hard luck. Slower still is the album’s gem, Gill’s melodic and image-laden “New Star Over Texas.” He also contributes the country strutter “The Woman Of My Dreams,” and the torch song number, “Faint Of Heart,” sung here by Dawn Sears over hissing brushes on snare. Those are just the cream of an overall-fine album.
In short, these guys (and Dawn Sears) get it. And why not? Among them are some of the best in the business. Ranger Doug Green, Andy Reiss, Dawn Sears, Dennis Crouch, Jeff Taylor, Joe Spivey, Kenny Sears, Larry Franklin, Paul Franklin, Rick Vanaugh, Vince Gill, Billy Thomas. They play not a touch of bluegrass here, but offer some great music nonetheless. (Concord Music Group, 100 N. Crescent Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210, www.thetimejumpers.com.)BW