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Published: 2012/12/19
by Nancy Dunham

Jim Lauderdale
Jim Lauderdale: Carolina Moonrise: Bluegrass Songs by Robert Hunter and Jim Lauderdale

Sky Crunch

For all of the excitement over the musical partnership between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss or The Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin, the pairing of much-admired Nashville songwriter Jim Lauderdale with Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia lyricist Robert Hunter could top them all. The two esteemed songwriters are back with their fifth collaboration, the 13-track Carolina Moonrise. The songs shift from the fiddle- and steel guitar-filled bluegrass ballad “On the Level”—complete with classic lyrics about dying love—to the up-tempo, banjo-filled, newgrass leaning “Iodine” about “the meanest man in Tennessee [whose] woman is even meaner.” Not only do the songs showcase the two virtuosos’ strengths, but they also combine to breathe fresh life into the format. As they say in Nashville, it’s a match made in Hillbilly Heaven.

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