Album Review: The Time Jumpers — The Time Jumpers

Henry L. Carrigan, Jr. | October 9th, 2012

timejumpersRun, don’t walk, to your nearest record store to buy this album. From the time you drop the needle on the record’s first groove until the album’s final fiddle runs, you’ll be dancing, laughing, crying, and wonderstruck, but mostly, you’ll be swept away by the virtuosity and the creative genius of this tight and group of musicians.

These eleven virtuoso players and singers, each a master musician in his or her own right, have been getting together for over fourteen years to noodle around and jam with friends on Monday nights (then the slowest night of the week) at the Station Inn in Nashville. Mondays weren’t the slowest nights for very long, as word traveled about these super sessions, and the jams have moved to a more spacious club, Third and Lindsley, but not before The Time Jumpers honed their craft, releasing a live album, Jumpin’ Time, to Grammy-nominated acclaim in 2007.

On their first studio album, The Time Jumpers deliver ten rollicking, driving, lighthearted, and mournful tunes—seven of them originals—that showcase the band’s love of Western swing music and their way with a well-turned lyric. If all we had were the album’s opening song, “Texoma Bound,” then it would be enough. There are moments when a piece of music lifts you out of yourself and carries you along palpably along a wave of lyrical spirit. As the triple fiddles weave in and out of each other’s lines, coming together for a moment and then soaring off in their own decided directions, it’s impossible not to be swept away with the infectious joy of the musicians as they play off of each other.

Every member of the band gets a turn to shine on this album. In “So Far Apart,” which recalls stylistically Patty Loveless’ “You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are,” Dawn Sears, whose voice channels Kitty Wells, achingly mourns over “wasting the love we’re not making, sweetheart, for we’re too close to be so far apart.” Sears’ classic country ballad follows fast on the heels of Vince Gill’s up tempo lament, “The Woman of My Dreams,” in which Paul Franklin’s crying steel guitar carries Gill’s moans: “Here comes the heartache/Here comes the pain/She was my baby/She was my everything/There goes the woman of my dreams.” In a slow country shuffle, “Three Sides to Every Story,” the singer admits, with a tone of resignation and comic irony, the complexity of the forces that led to the breakup of a relationship: “Someday we’ll both admit it/There’s three sides to every story/Your side, my side, and the truth.”

There’s not a bad song on this collection. The music simply reaches out and grabs listeners, sweeping in and carrying us along at breakneck speed over the hills of Western swing, around the corners of jazz, through the hollows of country, and into the valleys of pop. It’s a whirlwind journey that gets wonderfully repeated with each drop of the tone arm.

5 Stars

Preview or purchase The Time Jumpers

  1. Janice Brooks
    October 9, 2012 at 9:01 am

    This will be on my top 10 album list for sure. Western Swing is alive and well.

  2. Ben Foster
    October 9, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Wow! All that praise AND comparisons to Kitty Wells and Patty Loveless. I am definitely buying this.

  3. Rick
    October 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Western Swing is one of my favorite sub-genres in the country music realm and the fact an album of this nature came out of Nashville is almost a revelation in this day and age. While western swing remains popular in Texas and Oklahoma (because they still know how to dance to it in those states), this style of music has been forgotten in most parts of the country after it faded from country radio in the late 1950’s. It’s fantastic that the members of the Time Jumpers personally love this music enough to keep it thriving in Nashville, with special kudos to Vince Gill for joining the band and giving them a high profile.

    As much as I love this album I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I listen to a lot of vintage Bob Wills and modern stuff from bands like The Hot Club of Cowtown and The Marshall Ford Swing Band. I just wish this new Time Jumpers album had that kind of wacky exhuberance that inhabits the best of western swing music as studio slickness does not serve the genre well. For me there’s just a little too much Naashville in the production of this album.

    This is truly a fine album by any measure though and will appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in the western swing style. All they really needed was a lead male vocalist that sounds like Tommy Duncan…

  4. Occasional Hope
    October 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    This is an excellent record.

  5. Reagan
    November 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I saw these guys live the other night, and they were absolutely OUTSTANDING. They continually mentioned their new album, so I decided to look up some reviews, and judging by what I’ve read…I think I’m gonna have to pick it up. There’s just so much talent here.

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