Back in 1999 Jim Lauderdale approached longtime Jerry Garcia collaborator Robert Hunter about writing music for Dr. Ralph Stanley. The pair struck up a successful partnership and 5 years after the wrote music for Stanley’s I Feel Like Singing Today the pair teamed up for Headed For The Hills . That album, which featured such guests as Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Allison Moorer and Tim O’Brien, was such a success that Lauderdale and Hunter have opted to do it again. The results are even more winning this time, highlighting both Hunter’s gift for words and Lauderdale’s ability to craft a memorable melody.
There are two types of songs on the album and ultimately they prove compatible. Some of these feel like classic Garcia-Hunter compositions such as “Patchwork River”, “Up My Sleeve” and “Alligator Alley.” Others are a bit more traditional country and western (with some Gram Parson thrown in for good measure). Like its predecessor Patchwork River also finds Lauderdale once again teaming with some notable players including drummer Ron Tutt (who worked with both Garcia and Elvis Presley), as well as Presley’s longtime guitarist James Burton and singer Patti Griffin. All in all the disc is something of a cosmic cross-country tour, as told by an enlightened truck driver. A unique and recommended release.