Heirloom Music

There’s a reason country artists—even great songwriters like Jimmie Dale Gilmore—keep coming back to ’30s and ’40s bluegrass. The era’s proto-country songs have it all: humor, heartbreak, outlaw spirit and wellsprings of emotion. Backed here by the virtuosic pluckers, pickers and fiddlers of California’s Wronglers, Gilmore revisits the classics, delivering each in his trademark nasally West Texas croon. More often than not, his characters wind up lonesome, dead or incarcerated. Even in “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” a vision of hillbilly heaven, the locals have their own jail. Of course the bars are tin and you can drink from streams of whiskey once you bust out, so it’s not exactly hard time.

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