"The things that we meant to do/ But we didn't get to . . ." At 61, Jim Lauderdale, on the everyman confessional title track, is at that stage when reflection calls. Perhaps it is his workaholic tendencies – almost an album for every year of his career – that have made his work seem more prose than poetry.
Certainly his energy cannot be faulted nor his ability to comfortably wear different hats from bluegrass to newgrass, and country reference points past and beyond. But that adaptability comes at a price.
It is hard to define Lauderdale, other than by his winning smile, his penchant for Nudie suits and his determination to make good music, solo or in collaboration. This 11-track collection deserves a place among his best.
His respect for tradition is apparent in the tearjerker If the World's Still Here Tomorrow and the front-porch philosophy of Slow as Molasses. He adopts a more edgy persona for the rueful When I Held the Cards but then slips easily into Western swing for the engaging Wild on Me Fast and the tongue-twisting While You're Hoping.
The Road Is a River references his environmental concerns and also proves Lauderdale's ability to craft and perform a great song.