Jimmie Dale Gilmore is renowned as a superlative songwriter and performer, both in his own right and as part of The Flatlanders. His more recent releases however have seen concentrate on what he describes as “heirloom music” – the songs and tunes of real country music, as opposed to its 21st century ersatz Nashville substitute. He was born today in 1945.
Roots musician Jimmie Dale Gilmore was born in Amarillo, Texas, USA. Growing up in Lubbock – a town synonymous with both Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings – the teenage Jimmie Dale emulated his father his guitar-playing father and found a kindred spirit in the form of fellow folk/country fan, Butch Hancock.
The pair played together and came into contact with other aspiring Lubbock-based artists including Terry Allen and Joe Ely – the latter introducing Gilmore to the music of fellow Texan Townes Van Zandt.
1972 saw messrs Gilmore, Ely and Hancock appear with other musicians as the Flatlanders, relocating to Austin and recording an album in Nashville that sold poorly and led to them going their separate ways within months.
Fast forward to 1980 and with both Ely and Hancock forging solo careers (and including Gilmore’s songs in their sets), Jimmie returned to Austin after living in Denver and only picking up a guitar occasionally. Playing more regularly, Gilmore would belatedly secure a deal and his maiden release, “Fair and Square” emerged in 1988.
The crossover between the trio continue with Gilmore’s self-titled follow up the following year including songs written by the other two. Meanwhile that 1972 Flatlanders record had assumed legendary status over the following years and was re-released in 1990, with subsequent new studio and archive concert material well-received when it appeared, as were “reunion” shows.
Subsequent solo releases cemented his place alongside the likes of Dave Alvin and Tom Russell as a credible American roots artist, blurring the boundaries between country, blues and folk. 2000′s Buddy Miller-produced cover-heavy collection, “One Endless Night” found Gilmore at the top of his game. An earlier live effort with Hancock (“Two Roads”) is also worth seeking out.
More recent albums have seen Gilmore continue his campaign to keep “proper” country music alive, 2005′s “Come On Back” seeing him revisit classics such as “Walking The Floor Over You” in tribute to his recently-deceased father, Brian. And in 2011, Jimmie Dale teamed up with San Francisco bluegrass collective the Wronglers for a new set of recordings, continuing to mount a rearguard action against stetson-toting imposters, who prompted him to comment that:
“For my taste, and for what I call country, there’s almost none of it left anymore. If you turn on a mainstream country station right now, the music that they’re playing is watered-down, inferior pop music, with stupid lyrics, stupid predictable melodies and occasionally a funny pun. I find listening to it difficult.”
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And here’s some footage of Gilmore in action: