Album Review

Jimmy LaFave - The Night Tribe

Jimmy LaFave - The Night Tribe

This is the first Jimmy LaFave disc in what is too long a stretch for this singer-songwriter.  He often seems to fly under the name recognition radar.  When he comes out with a new disc, there are all these cries about where was he and so forth, and his music is some of the most beautiful, for many reasons, and accomplished, that we can find.  When you listen to the images he paints with his words, with their delicate shading and the way he emphasizes those with the instrumental highlights, wow there are very few that come close to painting such a stunning picture.  He is someone who epitomizes  what songwriting is all about; it is using not only the words but also the music to paint, shade, and nuance our memories.  His music/his voice have that space that materializes at night and seems to come from those places inhabited by the thoughts and dreams that float through on night winds, picked up by those creative souls who wander the night, the all-night waitresses, late night radio hosts, those that don’t sleep the regular schedule but find their inspiration that the shades and dim light of night allow to creep into the consciousness.  

Texas born, Oklahoma raised he came to prominence in the Austin song writers special assemblage with all those others who seem to get more notoriety, not ofter for relevant reasons.  He has a voice that has enough of an edge to it that you sit up and say, “Yeah, I like this.  Be quiet so I can listen.”  

Then the words start to filter in and your mind begins to wake up and you can’t tell whether it was the way the words were put together for meaning, or the image they create in/on that canvas of your mind.

There are a baker’s dozen songs and he penned 11 of them; “Talk To An Angel” he co-wrote with Kelcy Warren, there is a beauty by Neil Young, ”Journey Through The Past” that fits right in there, and one by Bob Dylan, “Queen Jane Approximately.”  Mr. LaFave takes other people’s songs and completely reworks them, re-forms them, and makes them something new again and they become his song.  This disc is filled with his word pictures, painted in his brush strokes, and though a couple of the songs have different songwriters as songs they are brand new.  A beautiful collection of music that was needed to refresh the landscape.