Jimmie Dale Gilmore | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jimmie Dale Gilmore 

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Jimmie Dale Gilmore has a reputation as something of a mystic--or, less generously, as a space cadet--but on his new One Endless Night (Windcharger/Rounder), the only thing that sounds ready to drift off the planet is his keening, wavery, high-and-lonesome voice. Most male vocalists would have to stretch to reach the bottom of Gilmore's range, and he tops out so high that he only bothers with a falsetto when he yodels. Anchoring his supernal singing, though, is the album's straightforward, earthbound country rock, and the deeply satisfying emotional and aesthetic tension created by this tug-of-war makes his synth-heavy 1996 effort, Braver Newer World, sound merely interesting by comparison. Gilmore has only contributed three originals to One Endless Night, but for the rest of his material he's borrowed wisely. He turns in versions of songs by John Hiatt ("Your Love Is My Rest"), Jesse Winchester (the goofy "Defying Gravity"), and Townes Van Zandt ("No Lonesome Tune"), and two of the record's highlights come from his childhood friend and Flatlanders bandmate Butch Hancock--"Banks of the Guadalupe," with honey-sweet backing vocals from Victoria Williams, and the driving "Ramblin' Man" (no relation to the Allman Brothers tune). Gilmore also includes a killer cover of the Grateful Dead's "Ripple" and, to even better effect, a hypnotic, slow-motion treatment of Brecht and Weill's "Mack the Knife." Friday, 8:30 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage; 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James H. Evans.

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