Butch Hancock & Jimmie Dale Gilmore | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Butch Hancock & Jimmie Dale Gilmore 

Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore have been playing together for more than 20 years. Last year, Rounder Records released the almost legendary Flatlanders album, the original 1971 recordings of the seminal country rock group (Joe Ely was in it, too). The ensuing decades haven't exactly lavished money or fame on any of the three (Ely's best off, and even he's still playing clubs), but along the way they've all made their mark: Ely as the country's finest proponent of slashing roadhouse rock 'n' roll; Hancock as an extremely sensitive songwriter (he wrote Ely's famous "She Never Spoke Spanish to Me"), and Gilmore as a gifted writer ("Dallas") and a heart-melting singer of almost atavistic force. The Texas brand of country rock that Hancock and Gilmore essay today goes back so far and cuts so deep that live on stage (I'm thinking of their last visit here, particularly a reading of Townes Van Zandt's "Poncho and Lefty") the effect is sometimes shattering. You hear Jimmie Rodgers and Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Waylon Jennings, all in the uninflected interplay of their voices and simple choice of songs. For their acoustic Chicago shows this weekend they're joined by Austin pal Jesse Taylor, onetime guitarist for Ely. Not to be missed. Saturday, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620. Sunday, FitzGeralds, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, 708-788-2118.

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