Jim Lauderdale’s Released 32 Albums — Here’s What He Thinks About Each of Them
"When I first started writing songs, I would be able to get a title and maybe a few lines first."
Jim Lauderdale is reflecting on the beginnings of his life as a songwriter. "Melodies would come so much easier and faster to me," he admits, "and they really still do. Lyrically, I have to challenge myself, and Buddy Miller has always been the one to give me music and push me to write and finish songs. That keeps me on my toes."
Though Lauderdale has written songs that have been recorded by everyone from the Dixie Chicks and George Strait to Elvis Costello and Blake Shelton, the North Carolina-born, Nashville-grown, New Yorker Angeleno loves talking about his own records, too. It's not that he revels in his personal glory; there is a sincere recognition of how fortunate he's been to get to work and write with so many different artists over the last few decades, and record as many discs as he has.
"It's funny, these past few years, I feel like I'm writing more than ever, and I'm really glad I haven't lost that," Lauderdale says. "I go through phases of co-writing a good bit, and then to balance that out, I don't do any co-writes at all to make sure I still have those chops to write on my own."
Between 1991 and 2018, Lauderdale released 31 albums, and in 2019, he celebrated the release of his 32nd LP, From Another World. With a hint of pride in his voice, the prolific writer took a few moments to chat with The Boot about every single one of those records, sharing some of his favorite memories, from writing with the Grateful Dead's Robert Hunter — "I was a big fan as a teenager, and was always enamored with Robert's work" — to finally releasing his long-lost record with Roland White.
Click through the gallery below for Lauderdale's thoughts on his discography -- a great primer for fans new and old.
After thinking through his career, Lauderdale admits there are still some items left on his bucket list.
"There are so many people I'd still like to work with," he confesses. "Van Morrison, Nick Cave, Loretta Lynn, Norah Jones and Keith Richards. I'd love to do some kind of collaboration with [Bob] Dylan. I'd like to do some more singing with Del McCoury. Eric Clapton, I've always wanted to record with him.
"Sadly, so many of the bluegrass and country greats that I've wanted to work with have passed away," Lauderdale adds. "But a lot of the artists around today, like Brandi Carlile, the Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Margo Price ... those are some folks I haven't gotten to record with but would love to."