Listeners of Heirloom Music, the new release from The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, might be tempted to label the music “old timey”. But Gilmore says that tag doesn’t really fit.
“There’s something dismissive about the term ‘old-timey’”, he said. “But our point is that the music may be really old, but it’s also really good and really still pertinent.”
Heirloom Music is a collection of songs that were born as early as the 1930s and ‘40s, and includes such classic titles as “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” “Leaving Home,” “Uncle Pen,” “Columbus Stockade Blues,” and “Footprints In The Snow.”
“This is music I discovered because I became interested in where the music that I was in love with as a kid came from,” Gilmore recently told Terry Gross of Fresh Air. “I’m not a folklorist. I’m not a scholar in it. But I did become curious with a lot of it. I’ve been doing these songs for 30 or 40 years now, and never really had the context to record them in.”
That opportunity to record the songs came with Gilmore’s friendship with Warren Hellman, the banjo-playing financier behind the fantastic Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Hellman’s band The Wronglers seemed to be the perfect match for the old heirloom tunes.
“Warren and I have a common love of old, old music, and we share a similar absurd sense of humor. We keep each other laughing all the time.”
Jimmie Dale Gilmore is an acclaimed Texas Troubadour known for his heartfelt singing style, and is credited for creating a genre called ‘sagebrush soul.’ And, in addition to his long, distinguished solo career, with its three Grammy nominations, Gilmore is a longtime member of The Flatlanders which also features fellow Lubbock-ites Joe Ely and Butch Hancock.
The Wronglers are Warren Hellman (banjo/vocals), Nate Levine (guitar), Bill (mandolin) & Krista Martin (fiddle), Heidi Clare (fiddle/vocals) and Colleen Browne (bass/vocals), and has built a reputation as an old-time band, born at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2006. Over the years they have played around the Bay Area, opening for the likes of Steve Earle and Gillian Welch, as well as nationally at festivals such as South by Southwest, Old Settler's Festival, Strawberry Festival and The Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis.