Jimmie Dale Gilmore

One Endless Night

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After two critically acclaimed albums on Hightone Records in the 1980s, Jimmie Dale Gilmore moved up to major label Elektra in the '90s. But the kudos did not translate into sales -- only one of his three Elektra albums scraped into the bottom reaches of the country charts -- and by the turn of the century he was back on an independent: the folkie label Rounder (distributing his own Windcharger imprint). Three and a half years separated Braver New World, the last Elektra album, from One Endless Night, his Rounder debut, but Gilmore apparently hadn't spent much time writing in the interim. Of the 12 listed songs (there was also a bonus track, the rockabilly "DFW," referring to Fort Worth and Dallas), only two are co-written by the singer. One Endless Night is a compendium of Texas songwriting, including the work of Gilmore cronies and mentors Butch Hancock, Townes Van Zandt, Willis Alan Ramsey, and Walter Hyatt, as well as such familiar names as John Hiatt, Jesse Winchester, Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, and Steve Gillette. Though Gilmore had always mixed his own compositions with covers, this album presents him basically as an interpretive singer, and you have to wonder what it was that he is bringing to the Grateful Dead's "Ripple" or the standard "Mack the Knife" that is all that special. The answer is, not much. Gilmore's voice had become less pinched and more confident in the course of his belated solo recording career but not enough so that he could be recommended as a singer rather than as a singer/songwriter.

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