If you’ve ever fantasized about the perfect western swing concert (or if you’ve ever been to Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, Texas — where the venue itself makes any concert the perfect country music experience), you’ll want to catch The Time Jumpers next time they’re playing nearby. They don’t spend much time on the road, so you might just have to visit Nashville, where they play at Third and Lindsley (the home of “good music/good food/good friends”) most Mondays. Trust me — the trip will be worth it; where else can you jump through time and find yourself floating on a cloud of timeless country music instrumental toss-offs and sweeter than honey vocals?
The Time Jumpers are a “who’s who” of Nashville musicians and when they get together, it’s all about doing what they love, with fellow musicians they love, and all for the love of the music itself. You know — kinda like the activity that built Nashville. To check out their album (on the impeccable Rounder Records label) on iTunes, click here.
Who are The Time Jumpers? They’re only some of the best country musicians you could hope to hear. In fact, they’ve all played with so many country stars (in concert and on recordings), that you’ve no doubt heard all of them in one way or another. For the record, the current band that I experienced at City Winery in New York City recently included: Dennis Crouch (upright bass), Larry Franklin (fiddle), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Vince Gill (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars… Yes, THE Vince Gill), “Ranger Doug” Green (vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar), Andy Reiss (electric guitar), Dawn Sears (vocals, or as she described herself — “the chick singer”), Kenny Sears (vocals, fiddle), Joe Spivey (fiddle, vocals), Jeff Taylor (accordion, piano) and Billy Thomas (drums, vocals).
That’s a lot of music spilling over a stage not much larger than a typical Manhattan studio apartment… and it was glorious. The evening was full of old and new songs, each of them given a treatment that made them stand apart. Classic highlights included: Merle Haggard’s “Roots of My Raisin’” (a song I can never hear enough times); Dawn Sears evoking the spirits of Patsy Cline and Brenda Lee (and a voice that’s just as uniquely her own) with “My San Antonio Rose;” and Vince Gill’s pitch-perfect rendition of Hank Owens’s “Together Again” (featuring a steel guitar solo that most definitely “jumped time” — back to a time when your Mama had dinner cookin’ and was putting pink, foam rollers in her hair, getting pretty for your Papa’s truck to roll in from a hard day at work while, in the living room, the country vinyl spun, setting the mood for some of the usual weekday evening love in the house). Original tunes that stood out were: “All Aboard” (a Paul Franklin composition whose insistent rhythm successfully evokes life on the rails); and “Faint of Heart” (a sultry Vince Gill song featuring some even sultrier accordion stylings). Hands down, The Time Jumpers are probably the best thing to come along in the country music scene this century.
To find out where The Time Jumpers are playing in the future, click here.