Planet of Love

Jim Lauderdale, a North Carolina songwriter with a Los Angeles attitude, earned some important credits recently when Vince Gill, Kelly Willis, and Shelby Lynne recorded his tunes. Now comes his first album as a performer, Planet of Love, a progressive country offering tempered by forays into traditional honky-tonk and blues. Lauderdale likes to pair offbeat, modern lyrics with older sensibilities-rockabilly guitar fills or piano riffs straight from the theme song for Route 66, for example. Not all of it works, but what does is memorable — ”Wake Up Screaming,” set to a sensual snake crawl of a rhythm, recounts an amusing dream about the singer’s potential wedding. And ”The King of Broken Hearts,” edged with lacy harmony vocals from Emmylou Harris, emerges as a clever tribute to George Jones. Although not a distinctive vocalist, Lauderdale has a decided vision of modern country music — one that is sure to court aging baby boomers with an ear for droll sophistication. B

Planet of Love
  • Music