Jim Lauderdale

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Jim Lauderdale
Jim Lauderdale 2010
Jim Lauderdale 2010
Background information
Birth nameJames Russell Lauderdale
Born (1957-04-11) April 11, 1957 (age 67)
Troutman, North Carolina, United States
OriginNashville, Tennessee
GenresAmericana, Blues, Country, Bluegrass
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
Years active1986–present
LabelsYep Roc, Sky Crunch, New West, Sugar Hill, Thirty Tigers, Dualtone, Proper

James Russell Lauderdale[1] (born April 11, 1957) is an American country, bluegrass, and Americana singer-songwriter.[2] Since 1986, he has released 31 studio albums, including collaborations with artists such as Dr. Ralph Stanley, Buddy Miller, and Donna the Buffalo. A "songwriter's songwriter,"[3] his songs have been recorded by dozens of artists, notably George Strait, Gary Allan, Elvis Costello, Blake Shelton, the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, and Patty Loveless.

Jim Lauderdale hosting Music City Roots

Early life[edit]

Lauderdale was born in Troutman, North Carolina, the son of Barbara Ann Lauderdale (née Hobson)[4][5] and Dr. Wilbur "Chap" Chapman Lauderdale.[1][6] Lauderdale's mother was originally from Kansas.[5] In addition to her work as a public school and piano teacher, she was active in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Churches in Troutman, Charlotte, and Due West, South Carolina, where she served as music director, church organist, and choir director.[4] His father was born in Lexington, VA, the son of Reverend David Thomas and Sallie Ann Lauderdale (née Chapman).[6] Lauderdale's father was a noted minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.[6] Lauderdale has one sister.

He grew up in Due West, South Carolina.[2] Both of his parents were singers. He too sang in his early years, and learned the drums at 11, the harmonica at 13, and the banjo at 15.[7] He has cited the influence of Ralph Stanley and bluegrass music from an early age. He played a variety of music, including bluegrass, Grateful Dead, and folk in a duo with best friend Nathan Lajoie as a teenager.[8]

During his childhood in Due West, many music acts came to Erskine College. Lauderdale remembers enjoying the album Will the Circle be Unbroken by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Neil Young's Harvest.[9] He attended the Carolina Friends School in Durham NC and then went on to the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC, studying theater. He played in country and bluegrass bands during college.[8]

Lauderdale is a long-time resident of Nashville, Tennessee.[10]


Jim Lauderdale at MerleFest in 2007.

After graduating from college, Lauderdale lived in Nashville for five months in the summer of 1979 while he tried to get a recording or publishing deal. He hung out a lot with Roland White, an accomplished mandolin player, with whom he cut a record. But things never took off, so he decided to move to New York,[3] where he played in Floyd Domino's band and performed as a solo artist. In 1980 he met singer-songwriter Buddy Miller.[3] He played in Miller's band in the active twang music scene that was evolving at the time.[8]

During his time in New York City, he also worked in the mailroom and as a messenger at Rolling Stone magazine.[11] He often was assigned to pick up and drop off photographer Annie Leibovitz's equipment.[8]

Lauderdale joined the national touring production of Pump Boys & Dinettes, which eventually reached Los Angeles where he met musicians Rosie Flores, Billy Bremmer, Pete Anderson, Lucinda Williams, Dale Watson, and others.[8] John Ciambotti became Lauderdale's manager and Lauderdale relocated to Los Angeles in the late 1980s, recording an album for CBS (which was later released as The Point of No Return). The record was influenced by the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens.[8]

Armed with a catalog of a few hundred songs he had written, Lauderdale was able to get a publishing deal with a small company called Blue Water Music (based in Houston, with a small office in Nashville). Living in Los Angeles he made a record with Anderson producing, but it was never released.[3]

Lauderdale then got a publishing deal with Reprise and moved into the second floor of Buddy and Julie Miller's house until he got his own place in Nashville.[3]

In 2013, Lauderdale started his own record label, Sky Crunch, so that he could release his many albums on a schedule that suited him.[12]

In April 2018, Lauderdale signed to Yep Roc Records.[13]

Solo career[edit]

Lauderdale's solo debut, Planet of Love, was produced by Rodney Crowell and John Leventhal and released in 1991.[8][14] Lost in the Lonesome Pines, a 2002 collaboration with Ralph Stanley, won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. The Bluegrass Diaries won the same award in 2008. In 2003, Lauderdale was joined by roots/jam band Donna the Buffalo on the album Wait 'Til Spring. Could We Get Any Closer? was nominated for a Grammy in 2009.

In 2013, Lauderdale released Old Time Angels (a bluegrass album) and his first solo acoustic album, Blue Moon Junction, followed by Black Roses, with the North Mississippi All-Stars.[15] Lauderdale appears on Laura Cantrell's 2013 release No Way There From Here.[16] 2014 saw the release of his album I'm A Song.[17] Lauderdale will release his new album Time Flies on August 3, 2018, along with Jim Lauderdale and Roland White.[18]


In 2007, he began a collaboration with Larry Campbell, the band Olabelle, and others in the American Beauty Project, a loose collection of musicians dedicated to reimagining in performance the Grateful Dead's two classic 1970 albums, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty.

In 2011, Lauderdale toured with Hot Tuna, an ensemble act that included Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Barry Mitterhof, G.E. Smith, and, for a time, Charlie Musselwhite. He has also toured with Elvis Costello, Rhonda Vincent, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and others.

Dr. Ralph Stanley[edit]

Lauderdale wrote and produced two bluegrass records with Ralph Stanley. Their first collaboration, I Feel Like Singing Today, was nominated for a Grammy.

Buddy Miller[edit]

Lauderdale released a record called Buddy and Jim with long-time friend and collaborator Buddy Miller in 2013.[11] Lauderdale said they recorded it in three days in Miller's home studio. Miller did the mixing and producing.[17]

Robert Hunter[edit]

Lauderdale has often collaborated with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.[17]

Lauderdale's first collaboration with Hunter was Headed for the Hills and the second was Patchwork River in May 2010. The June 2011 release Reason and Rhyme was their third collaboration. Additionally, they wrote songs for a North Mississippi Allstars record that was released in the fall of 2013.[7]

Two 2013 releases, Black Roses and Blue Moon Junction, were co-written with Hunter. Black Roses features North Mississippi Allstars' Cody and Luther Dickinson, whom Lauderdale met in Nashville at the Americana Music Festival,[19] as well as Muscle Shoals musicians Spooner Oldham and David Hood. The album was recorded at their father Jim Dickinson's studio, Zebra Ranch in Mississippi.[19]

2013's Blue Moon Junction features Lauderdale's work as a singer and songwriter, some of them co-written with Hunter in a solo, acoustic format. Lauderdale produced the record.[19] Lauderdale says that they have more material that might make a good follow-up album, and hopes they will have time to collaborate again soon.[17]

Nick Lowe[edit]

Lauderdale said he worked on a yet-to-be-released record with Nick Lowe's band during a time he spent in England.[17]

Roland White[edit]

On August 3, 2018, Lauderdale released Jim Lauderdale and Roland White, a previously lost record made with mandolin master Roland White. The disc was recorded in Earl Scruggs' basement in 1979, and the songs were only found recently by White's wife.[18]

The Jim Lauderdale Phenomenon[edit]

The term "the Jim Lauderdale Phenomenon", coined by singer-songwriter Kim Richey and cited in an April 2000 article in The Tennessean by writer Peter Cooper, is an ironic reference to the fact that Lauderdale was nominated for a Grammy for his work with Stanley but was released from a record deal with RCA not long after. He was also released from contracts with Warner Bros., Columbia, and Atlantic Records.[20][21] The article notes that many country artists that were signed to major labels in the 1990s failed to get radio airtime and had their contracts dropped after making one or two albums.[20] The problem became widespread in Nashville during this period, when a lot of good music was being created and recorded, but the megastars dominated the airwaves.[22]


Lauderdale has had a long-time, successful[14] Music Row career writing songs for many mainstream country music singers under four separate major-label record contracts: CBS, Warner/Reprise, Atlantic, and RCA/BMG.[8][23]



Year Album Label Featuring Peak chart positions
US Country US Heat US Grass
1991 Planet of Love Reprise Rodney Crowell and John Leventhal (co-producers)
1994 Pretty Close to the Truth Atlantic
1995 Every Second Counts Atlantic
1996 Persimmons Rounder Select / Upstart
1998 Whisper BNA Harlan Howard, Melba Montgomery, Frank Dycus (songwriters)
1999 I Feel Like Singing Today Rebel Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
Onward Through It All RCA
2001 The Other Sessions Dualtone Del Reeves, Harlan Howard, Melba Montgomery, Kostas, Clay Blaker (co-writers)
Point of No Return: The Unreleased 1989 Album Westside Records
2002 The Hummingbirds Dualtone
Lost in the Lonesome Pines Dualtone Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
2003 Wait 'Til Spring Dualtone Donna the Buffalo
2004 Headed for the Hills Dualtone Robert Hunter (co-writer)
2006 Bluegrass Yep Roc
Country Super Hits Vol. 1 Yep Roc Odie Blackmon, Leslie Satcher, Shawn Camp (co-writers)
2007 The Bluegrass Diaries Yep Roc 10
2008 Honey Songs & the Dream Players Yep Roc James Burton (guitar), Ron Tutt (drums), Garry Tallent (bass), Glen D. Hardin (piano),
Al Perkins (pedal steel); vocals: Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Patty Loveless, Kelly Hogan
2009 Could We Get Any Closer? Sky Crunch Records Scott Vestal (banjo)
2010 Patchwork River Thirty Tigers Songs by Robert Hunter and Jim Lauderdale 47 38
2011 Reason and Rhyme Sugar Hill Bluegrass songs by Robert Hunter and Jim Lauderdale 9
2012 Carolina Moonrise Compass Bluegrass songs by Robert Hunter and Jim Lauderdale 15
Buddy & Jim New West Buddy Miller 67 20
2013 Old Time Angels Sky Crunch Records
Black Roses Sky Crunch Records / Smith Music Group Songs by Robert Hunter and Jim Lauderdale
Blue Moon Junction Sky Crunch Records Songs by Robert Hunter and Jim Lauderdale
2014 I'm a Song Sky Crunch Records
2015 Soul Searching Sky Crunch Records
2016 This Changes Everything Sky Crunch Records
2017 London Southern Proper Records
2018 Time Flies Yep Roc Records
2018 Jim Lauderdale and Roland White Yep Roc Records
2019 From Another World Yep Roc Records Sara Douga (co-writer)
2020 When Carolina Comes Home Again Yep Roc Records Sara Douga (co-writer)
2021 Hope Yep Roc Records
2022 Game Changer Sky Crunch Records
2023 The Long and Lonesome Letting Go Sky Crunch Records The Po' Ramblin' Boys


Year Single US Country Album
1988 "Stay Out of My Arms" 86 Point of No Return
1989 "Lucky 13"
1991 "Maybe" Planet of Love
1992 "I Wasn't Fooling Around"[24]
"Wake Up Screaming"
1999 "Still Not Out of the Woods" Onward Through It All
2000 "If I Were You" The Other Sessions
2002 "She's Looking at Me" (with Ralph Stanley) Lost in the Lonesome Pines
2006 "I Met Jesus in a Bar" Bluegrass
2007 "Who's Leaving Who?"
"There Goes Bessy Brown"
2008 "This Is the Last Time (I'm Ever Gonna Hurt)" The Bluegrass Diaries

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Album
2009 "Love's Gonna Live Here" Tanya Tucker My Turn

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1989 "Lucky 13" Kevin Downs
1991 "Maybe
1992 "Wake Up Screaming"
1999 "Still Not Out of the Woods" David McClister
2000 "If I Were You"
2002 "She's Looking at Me" (with Ralph Stanley)
2006 "I Met Jesus in a Bar" David McClister
2007 "Who's Leaving Who?" Travis Nicholson
"There Goes Bessy Brown"
2008 "This Is the Last Time (I'm Ever Gonna Hurt)" Jarboe
2018 "Wild On Me"
2019 "The Secrets of the Pyramids"


  • A Town South of Bakersfield Vol. II (1988) – "What Am I Waiting For"
  • Happy Birthday, Buck! A Texas Salute to Buck Owens (2002) – "Sweet Rosie Jones"
  • Touch My Heart: A Tribute to Johnny Paycheck (2005) – "I Want You To Know"
  • Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins (2008) – "Easy Times"

Other activities[edit]

Lauderdale has hosted the Americana Music Awards since winning their first Artist of the Year and Song of the Year awards in 2002.[25] He was a judge for the second,[26] 10th and 11th[27] annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers. He is Honorary Chairperson for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest each April at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC.

He hosted "The Jim Lauderdale Show" on WSM Radio. He hosts, along with Buddy Miller, "The Buddy & Jim Show" on SiriusXM Outlaw Country. Lauderdale is also a frequent host and performer on "Music City Roots", a weekly Americana music show web-streamed live from The Factory at Franklin just outside Nashville.[7]

Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts[edit]

A documentary film called Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, directed by Jeremy Dylan, was released in 2013. Using interviews with Elvis Costello, Buddy Miller, John Oates, Gary Allan, Tony Brown, and Jerry Douglas, the film describes Lauderdale's successes and failures as a recording artist.[28]


  1. ^ a b "Wilbur Lauderdale Obituary". The Greenville News. September 8, 2004. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Shone, Mark (2012). Michael McCall (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Country Music (2nd ed.). Oxford, MS: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199920839. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e Dye, David (April 11, 2013). "Buddy Miller And Jim Lauderdale On World Cafe" (audio interview). NPR. National Public Radio. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Barbara Hobson Lauderdale (July 10, 1930 – 8 March 2011)". Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home and Cremation Services. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Barbara Lauderdale Obituary". The Greenville News. March 9, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Wilbur "Chap" Chapman Lauderdale (August 29, 1924 – 7 September 2004)". Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home and Cremation Services. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Lane, Baron (May 10, 2013). "A Song of Perseverance – An Interview With Jim Lauderdale". Twang Nation. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Patterson, Rob (November 25, 1999). "The grass is blue: Writing hits for the Dixie Chicks has given Jim Lauderdale his own wide open space". Dallas Observer. Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  9. ^ Cooper, Peter. "Hometown Heart: Due West native Jim Lauderdale comes to Greenville for an important performance". Greenville / Spartanburg Arts & Entertainment. Creative Loafing Online. Archived from the original on October 9, 1999. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  10. ^ Ochs, Meredith (December 12, 2013). "For The Bloodiest Tales In American Music, A Revenge-Themed Sequel" (radio show). All Things Considered. National Public Radio. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale: Tiny Desk Concert" (video performance and interview). Tiny Desk Concert. National Public Radio. May 13, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  12. ^ from an interview on Americana Music Show #275, published December 1, 2015
  13. ^ "Yep Roc Records Welcomes Jim Lauderdale!". April 24, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Winkworth, Bruce. "Go to the Country, Turn Left". The Music Monitor. Archived from the original on November 6, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  15. ^ Netherland, Tom (January 9, 2014). "Lauderdale brings new tunes, standbys to town". Tri Cities – Bristol Herald Courier (Bristol, VA). Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  16. ^ "Laura Cantrell to Release New Album No Way There From Here, 1/28; Plays Joe's Pub in NYC, 1/29". Broadway World. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  17. ^ a b c d e Zimmerman, Lee (February 19, 2014). "Jim Lauderdale: "Slugging Along and Slugging It Out"". Miami New Times. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Gage, Jeff (May 16, 2018). "Hear Americana King Jim Lauderdale's Rippling New Ballad 'Time Flies'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c Atkinson, Brian T. (January 9, 2014). "Jim Lauderdale Teams Up for New Albums, Grammy Nod". CMT Edge. Viacom / Country Music Television, Inc. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  20. ^ a b Cooper, Peter. "Without 'star-level' clout, Lauderdale released from RCA". The Tennessean. Archived from the original on February 21, 2001. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  21. ^ Kelly, James. "Music: Jim Lauderdale, Whisper". Creative Loafing. Archived from the original on February 22, 2001. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  22. ^ Rowland, Hobart (May 21, 1998). "Pen pal: Jim Lauderdale is the write man in the wrong place". Dallas Observer. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  23. ^ "Jim Lauderdale – Credits – Writing & Arrangement". Discogs. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  24. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. March 28, 1992.
  25. ^ Durchholz, Daniel (September 29, 2014). "Jim Lauderdale Reflects on Legendary, 'Left of Center' Career". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  26. ^ Independent Music Awards – Past Judges Archived July 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "11th Annual IMA Judges. Independent Music Awards. Retrieved on September 4, 2013.
  28. ^ "About the Film". Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts. Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.

External links[edit]

None recognized before
AMA Song of the Year (Songwriter)
Succeeded by
None recognized before
AMA Artist of the Year
Succeeded by