JIM AND LESLIE MET JESUS IN A BAR
pouring whiskey in an empty heart/ when I met Jesus in a bar/ I guess
you can't fall too far." - I Met Jesus In A Bar - Leslie Satcher-Jim
Lauderdale found solace in writing with Leslie Satcher while grieving
the death of his father - a North Carolina Presbyterian minister -
The duo wrote three songs including I Met Jesus In A Bar for
two Lauderdale albums - his 14th and 15th - released simultaneously
in November of 2006.
Satcher, a prolific writer from Paris, Texas, sourced the biblical
bar song idea and it resonated with Grammy award winner Lauderdale.
"That was Leslie's idea," Lauderdale, 49, revealed of the
song, a highlight of wry disc Country Super Hits Vol 1 (Yep-Roc)
- all new, never hits, and unlikely to be until cut by mainstream
Lauderdale, who toured here in 2002, has earned hefty royalties from
his songs cut by George Strait, Patty Loveless, Dixie Chicks, Mark
Chesnutt, Jason McCoy and many more.
an interesting story," Lauderdale says of the birth of the Jesus
"During the summer of 2004, I was touring, and my dad became ill.
It turned out to be cancer, and he passed away. I kind of stopped everything,
and it really hit me hard. I had a writing session with Leslie about six
weeks after dad passed away. We wrote one song fairly quickly and she
came back in the room and said, 'I've just got this great idea! This idea
just came to me!' She had this excitement about her. I said, 'what's the
title?" She said, I Met Jesus In A Bar. And I thought, OK,
yeah. I thought that would be a great line. And she went, 'No, no. That's
what it's about.' She said, 'Just go with me on this. Just trust me.'
And we started working on it, and it just all came together. It was just
really moving for both of us. I couldn't listen to it or sing it without
They also wrote Who's Leaving Who and There Goes Bessie Brown
for Bluegrass (Yep-Roc-Shock).
has collaborations with Joe Henry on Time's A Looking Glass,
John Leventhal on Forever Ends Today and Tony Villanueva
on It's So Different.
Jim wrote seven songs solo and reprised a 1997 co-write of Love
In The Ruins that was cut by collaborator Buddy Miller.
Lauderdale is keen to make a duet disc with Buddy Miller.
"One reason why I wanted to get both of these albums out this
year is that Buddy and I have been talking about doing a duo album
for years," Lauderdale explained.
"I've got to have some space for that when that comes out as
well. I usually try to have him involved in some way on each release
I do. This round, I recorded a song that we'd written together that
he's recorded, called Love In The Ruins, and put that on
the Bluegrass record."
of bluegrass pre-dates his discs with Ralph Stanley by more than a decade.
A duet album with Roland White in 1979 hit the cutting room floor with
another Pete Anderson produced relic.
His next album Planet of Love included guest roles by Rodney Crowell
and Emmylou Harris but withered on the vine until Strait ignited a flood
Lauderdale later cut two CDs with Dr Ralph Stanley - I Feel Like Singing
Today and Grammy award winning Lost in the Lonesome Pines.
"With the Bluegrass record, I like to keep myself challenged by writing
solo, too," Lauderdale revealed.
"So I have few solo songs on that record that aren't co-writes, and
that usually takes me a little longer. It's a much quicker process for
me to write with somebody else."
But that's distant history for the singer who played George Jones in the
Ryman stage show of Stand By Your Man - the Tammy Wynette Story.
''My first dream was to make bluegrass records,'' said Lauderdale.
''Well, that didn't happen. Then I wanted to move into Hank Williams-style
country records and then on subsequent albums add drums, and that was
a progression that didn't work out. Nothing worked out like I thought
Lauderdale hired co-producer Randy Kohrs on dobro and harmony on Bluegrass
that also features guitarist Bryan Sutton and plentiful fiddle, mandolin
11 tunes with co-producer Odie Blackman on Super Hits - from entrée
Honky Tonk Mood Again and Playing On My Heart Strings to
You Can't Stop Her.
The finale is She's Got Some Magic Going On - a collaboration with
"Odie Blackman, my co-producer on the Country record, and I have
enough for a volume two," Lauderdale explains. "We wrote about
44 songs over the course of the year that I recorded with him. It was
just kind of a matter of finding the songs that were the right fit and
all that. The cover is like a K-Tel kind of thing. Odie and I thought
that was funny.''
Many artists including Martina McBride, Lee Ann Womack, George Strait
and Gary Allan have cut Odie's songs.
In 2005 Womack had a hit with Odie song I May Hate Myself in the Morning.
Odie has co-produced with Allan as well.
He and Jim also share writing credits on the title song for Allan's sixth
album Tough All Over.
Lauderdale is philosophical about his songs scoring airplay for other
artists but not for him.
"Unfortunately, I won't get the country radio airplay myself. But
if I was able to, this would have been a collection of my hits. And, perhaps,
some other country artist will make hits out of some of those songs."
Although it must have been frustrating at first to see other artists taking
his songs to the top of the charts over that.
"I think a long time ago, I was kind of down about it, but then every
time somebody would record a song, and it would do well, that really helped
to ease the pain," he added.
"Then I didn't have that expectation anymore, so it didn't hurt."
The high powered musical line up includes guitarists Kenny Vaughan, Pat
Buchanan and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Camp
no surprise Jim is equally comfortable on honky tonk and bluegrass
- his country is steeped in the Bakersfield sound and dedicated
to the late Buck Owens.
"One of my favourite songs Buck did is Will There Be Sweethearts
In Heaven," said
Lauderdale who proves a master of pure country and bluegrass on
discs destined to create hits for major artists.
"He passed last summer," Lauderdale recalled.
"He's really gonna be missed. I first met him out in California
when he was doing a record called Hot Dog."
"Later, he flew me with him to Austin, Texas several years
ago. They had these Buck Owens birthday bashes - I guess it was
about 10 years ago. So I got to sing harmony with him, and that
was a real career highlight. And then I went to his club the Crystal
Palace in Bakersfield for his birthdays. He'd have a lot of folks
come out and sing.
Dwight Yoakam and Marty Stuart were there several times. He was
a very gracious guy - just larger than life. He definitely filled
up the room when he came in."
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