Jimmy LaFave’s show at Roper Ballroom not to be missed

There is a terrific singer/songwriter coming to the Roper Ballroom on Sept. 4 who you should see.

Jimmy LaFave is the artist in question here, and this is what I know. When LaFave released his first recording, “Austin Skyline,” in 1992, I remember thinking that not only was this guy not shying away from the “this is the next Bob Dylan” label that inevitably gets slapped on any musician with a guitar, harmonica and a song, he was attacking it head on by covering four Dylan songs on his first album as well as the Left Banque’s classic “Walk Away Renee.”

These weren’t just any old Dylan songs. This was “Girl From the North Country,” “Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat,” “You’re a Big Girl Now” and “Shelter From the Storm.”

In my opinion it worked well, and LaFave did a great job covering the world’s greatest singer/songwriter.

I liked his first three recordings a lot, and we tried pretty hard to sell them in the store to singer/songwriter fans.

We didn’t have a lot of luck with his first records, but that was the same story with the Jayhawks, Wilco, Dave Alvin, James McMurtry and others with their early recordings. As those artists gained more prominence, through local radio exposure coupled with attendance at various folk festivals, their music became easier to sell.

By the time “Texoma” was released in 2001, LaFave’s music was starting to sell.

His last two releases, “Blue Nightfall” in 2005 and 2007’s “Cimarron Manifesto,” have been his best-sellers and, in my opinion, his best recordings to date.

All but LaFave’s last two CDs are now out of print, which is a shame. A “best of” CD was released two weeks ago, and it covers his music from 1992–2001. In addition, LaFave should have a new release out soon.

In his review of LaFave’s “Texoma” for FAME, David Schultz said, “LaFave’s songs are reminiscent of the Dust Bowl heritage of Woody Guthrie, the early rock of Chuck Berry, the quiet folk reflections of Bob Dylan, and the rock anthems of Bruce Springsteen.

“LaFave’s music is not lubricated with advertising dollars or formulaic song structures. It’s honest, thoughtful and sincere, like baseball and Mom’s homemade apple pie.”

This is from Evert Wilbrink of FolkWax: “When my faith in Bob Dylan was still totally unwavered, long, long before I forgave him for his ungodly Christmas album, I wrote time and time again that nobody sings Dylan like Jimmy LaFave.

“I’ve heard Lucinda Williams repeatedly yell, ‘Jimmy LaFave Is God.’ And every time I’ve seen Oklahoman Jimmy live on stage, my heart poured over, and my chest started fevering. Jimmy’s voice is not just sexy, emotional, and loving, he uses his pipes the way an athlete uses his arms and legs. He raps his voice like a vine around the melody of the song and, when he attempts one of a fellow writer, his soul sinks in it, and the tune changes color and form.”

You can hear LaFave’s music on “Acoustic Sunday” and on KAFM 88.1.

I will be interviewing LaFave this week and plan to report on the interview in my Aug. 27 column.

I hope that you will consider attending his Sept. 4 show. It should be a great one.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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