Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Downey to Lubbock review – Cali-Tex duo dig deep into their roots

Downey to Lubbock
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Artist: Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Genre: Alternative
Label: Yep Roc

Given its name, it is no surprise that roots music always privileges the past. The deeper the roots, the more revered the songs and the artists.

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore are high priests of the genre with careers of consistent distinction, notably and respectively with The Blasters and The Flatliners, as they reference in the title track of their debut album as a duo.

The title refers to their Californian and Texan birthplaces and the mainly covers album revisits well-seasoned songs such as Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Stealin' and Woody Guthrie's still moving Deportee – Plane Wreck at Los Gatos.

This sets the bar pretty low for musicians of their calibre, but they make the most of it with a loose-limbed, enjoyable set that showcases how their particular strengths complement each other.


Gilmore's high lonesome voice is in great shape, not least on Deportee . . .", while Alvin's mellow Californian drawl works well, especially when they swap verses as on the colourful imagining of Billy the Kid and Geronimo, one of two new tunes (the title track is the other), or on the Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee staple Walk On, which closes with a characteristically fiery Alvin guitar solo.  davealvin.net