Concert Review: The Time Jumpers at The Hamilton
I go to a lot of shows – between 75-100 a year – but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band make playing music look as effortless as The Time Jumpers did Thursday night at their first performance in Washington, DC (a town that Vince Gill praised for its vibrant country and bluegrass history, even if “y’all don’t do much politically.”)
Operating without a set list, the all-star band delighted a sold out crowd at downtown dinner club The Hamilton with two hours of timeless Western Swing. There were, of course, a number of Bob Wills covers, including “Sugar Moon,” “I Hear You Talkin’,” and “Corrine Corrina,” and a couple of unexpected song choices, like a swinging version of “Six Pack to Go” and fiddler Kenny Sears’ take on his former boss Mel Tillis’ 1970 hit, “Heart Over Mind,” interspersed among originals from the group’s self-titled, Grammy-nominated record.
The Jumpers have a few centuries’ worth of professional musicianship among them, and that experience radiated through every note played on every instrument. Perhaps the only misstep occurred when Vince Gill briefly forgot the lyrics of an otherwise gorgeous version of “Together Again,” singing, over Paul Franklin’s crying steel guitar, “The key to my heart is…somewhere.” He had enough charm to pull it off, though, joking, “It’s hard for a big fella to watch pizza after pizza go by.” The rest of the Time Jumpers subsequently delighted in busting their bandmate’s chops for the rest of the set, zipping through “food songs” like “Roly Poly” and “That’s What I Like About the South.” Gill may be the most famous Time Jumper, but the star of Thursday’s show was singer Dawn Sears, whose slow-burning delivery of “Faint of Heart” was a highlight in a concert full of them, and whose stunning take on the torch song “Sweet Memories” earned a standing ovation.
The Time Jumpers’ weekly gigs (first at the Station Inn, now at 3rd & Lindsley), what Kenny Sears calls their “Monday night therapy sessions,” have long been a Nashville treasure; it’s taken years for the band to hit the road, but the wait was worth every second.
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