Jim Lauderdale's Shoot-Out At O.K. Corral

ATN's Ben Edmonds reports: When roots rocker Jim Lauderdale set out to record

his just released CD Every Second Counts -- the follow up to the

critically hosanna'd 1994 release Pretty Close to the Truth -- he

didn't have the songs but he had a plan. "My co-producer Dusty Wakeman owns

some cabins in Pioneertown in what they call the 'high desert' of California,

not far from Joshua Tree," the singer- songwriter explained. "I love that

area, and actually wrote some of the last album there. I wanted to take it a

step further this time."

Pioneertown was a movie set town built by Roy Rogers and Gene Autry to

facilitate shooting their westerns of the '30s and '40s. The area is

imprinted on boomer consciousness as the sagebrush vista across which rode

the Cisco Kid every Saturday morning. Lauderdale and company pulled a mobile

recording unit into a barn that had doubled as a sound stage, set up and let

it rip. "I only had two or three songs finished when we started, " remembers

Lauderdale, "but that high desert atmosphere inspires so much in me that they

other songs just came tumbling out. It was almost mystical."

Mystical is probably not the best adjective to describe the resulting

Every Second Counts , but its amalgam of honky-tonk country, barroom

rock, and almost Beatlesque melodicism and the passion of soul music is

certainly unique. Though his songs have become huge country hits for such

performers as Mark Chestnutt and Patti Loveless, Lauderdale doesn't really

belong in the country section either. Anything upon which Spin and

Rolling Stone can agree has got to be beyond category.

"My stuff usually gets filed under country," Lauderdale says with a vocal

shrug. "But I don't really care what bin you put me in, as long as I'm

somewhere in the store."