Jimmie Dale Gilmore
BackBeat • by Cindy Payne

Sitting on the porch on a really rainy Monday night in July, I tried to explain to my captured listener why Jimmie Dale Gilmore has touched so many lives.

I began with the usual adjectives: distinctive, humble, sincere, spiritual. That may have sufficed, but as I went on, the description became more mystical and cryptic; I went so far as to slip into my God given talent routine, the one where the artist has this gift and one's faith in some higher spirituality is affirmed by seeing him. OK, it was just a few glasses of wine, but I was extremely adamant about the point. Still am, actually.

Sure, Gilmore has a truly unique voice, a misty sunlit spider web cross between Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, and a touch of Kermit the Frog. His writing appears nebulous and ambiguous in practical content, but becomes concise in overall essence. He plays just fine, his guitar is consistently right on. His firm adherence to the roots of American music is remarkable, it's the country of the past, present, and future, all rolled up into one omnipotent package.

None of this wholly describes Gilmore, there's more. It's his way of capturing wandering spirits, focusing them, and casting them out to ramble once again through the room. If you're lucky enough to be sitting in the audience, you just might catch one, and you'll be forever spellbound.

There are very few people in the world like him.

By this time, I was convinced that my listener would think I was completely off my rocker, but when I finished, he was staring at me with a look that assured me that I'd gotten completely through to his psyche. He too, was sold. Now all he had to do was hear the music.

Gilmore received wide critical acclaim for "After Awhile", his debut album on the Elektra Explorer Series, including Country Artist of the Year for two years running by the Rolling Stone Critic's Poll. His second Elektra release, "Spinning Around The Sun" has just been released. Will it become as much a treasure as his earlier work? You bet. We played it in between sets at the Iris DeMent concert, (which by the way, was almost earth moving) and were amazed at how many people found their way back to the sound board to find out what it was. Besides, there's a great photo on the inside. Pick it up.

Published in the 30th issue of BackBeat, news for Seattle's legendary music club, The Backstage. Author Cindy Payne continues to write and promote music in the Pacific Northwest.