Jimmy LaFave: Cimmaron Manifesto (Red House/Elite)

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Jimmy LaFave: Cimmaron Manifesto (Red House/Elite)

Austin-based singer-songwriter LaFave has perhaps covered too many Dylan songs in his long career (usually very well indeed it must be said) so it's amusing to find on this album he shifts his sights and does Donovan's Catch The Wind.

But he also does Dylan's Not Dark Yet so he's still finding that influence hard to shake. LaFave has a voice which aches with passion and he can turn it to inspired treatments of other people's songs -- his (possibly definitive?) cover of Walk Away Renee 15 years ago remains a career highpoint. However often this has meant casual listeners don't appreciate his exceptional originals. This album -- with guests Carrie Rodriguez, Ruthie Foster and an excellent band -- is full of typically thoughtful and thought-provoking originals, most of which convey a sadness for a lost America and the certainties of youth and yesteryear.

It evokes the open spaces and wide promise of America and while there is a political subtext in places it never feels anything less than deeply personal.

Quite something.

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