Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Roots music legends, Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, have been friends for 30 years, but only recently realized they had never played music with each other before. So in 2017, Grammy Award winner Alvin and Grammy Award nominee Gilmore, decided to hit the highway to swap songs, tell stories, and share their life experiences.
Though Texas-born Gilmore was twice named Country Artist of the Year by Rolling Stone, and California native Alvin first came to fame in the hard rocking Rhythm & Blues band The Blasters, they discovered that their musical roots in old Blues and Folk music are exactly the same. Mutually energized and inspired by these performances, Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore agreed to hit the road again in 2018… this time with a new album, a full band and some new stories to share.
Downey To Lubbock (released June 2018)
Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore have been filling canvasses with music of the American West for decades, coming from two very different directions.
Downey, California to Lubbock, Texas is a thousand-mile straight shot across the heart of the American West, with not much in between. The cities at each end of the line are one-time cowtowns that grew into symmetrically-platted working-class communities with very little to interrupt the horizon plane, making for big empty canvasses that require a vivid imagination to fill in all that blank space.
The title track explains Alvin is a Strat-packing, wild Blues Blaster, a nod to the Roots Rock band he formed with his brother Phil in 1978 before Dave peeled off to go his own way in 1986. He’s been part of the bands X, the Knitters, and the Flesh Eaters, tours relentlessly with his own band, the Guilty Ones, and continues apace on musical quests informed by his love of California and its history, and by Texas and the South, where most of the great music that was made in Los Angeles before and after the Second World War came from.
Gilmore is the old Flatlander from the Great High Plains, acknowledging his first group, the Folk-Country trio formed in Lubbock 1972 with Joe Ely and Butch Hancock who continue performing and recording today. In addition to the Flatlanders and an extended solo career, he has been part of several ensembles including the Hub City Movers and The Wronglers with Warren Hellman, who started the Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco.
Alvin is a rowdy baritone. Gilmore, the timekeeper of the high lonesome, warbles. Each is an avatar, an authentic, original creator with a strong sense of place and music.
That combination might seem like oil and water. But mixed together in the forms of Downey To Lubbock is powerful stuff.
Taking on all kinds of American music from the 1920s to the present is a very ambitious, very difficult feat to pull off. These two very particular, very peculiar, very not intellectual music-makers make it a joy to behold.