News Column

Della Mae and Jim Lauderdale at The Ballroom in Hamden

June 6, 2014

By Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register, Conn.

June 06--HAMDEN -- If it's true that you can judge someone by the company they keep, Jim Lauderdale -- just about the best country artist you've never heard of -- is a star of the highest magnitude.

He's performed and/or recorded albums with Ralph Stanley, Elvis Costello, Donna the Buffalo, Hot Tuna, Rhonda Vincent, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Larry Campbell, Olabelle, Nick Lowe's band and Buddy Miller.

He's written songs for and with Elvis Costello, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, George Strait, Blake Shelton, the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill and Patty Loveless.

And, yes, he'll be performing Sunday at The Ballroom at the Outer Space as an "extra special guest" with up-and-coming Grammy-nominated all-woman bluegrass band Della Mae.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m.Daphne Lee Martin opens. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door, available in advance at

Lauderdale is a North Carolina native who found his way to Nashville via side trips to New York City, where he met Miller and once worked as a messenger at Rolling Stone and performed in the national touring production of "Pump Boys & Dinettes."

He later lived in Los Angeles, where he made musical connections with a group of musicians that included Rosie Flores, Lucinda Williams, ex-Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremmer and onetime Dwight Yoakam producer and guitarist Pete Anderson.

Della Mae, based in Boston but with strong connections to Nashville, has pretty much taken the bluegrass world by storm the past few years.

They attracted attention with some high-profile appearances at major festivals, including the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill, N.Y., and also turned heads with their 2011 debut release, "I Built This Heart" and their Rounder follow-up, "This World Oft Can Be."

"The identity that we've developed as a band is a melting pot of our different personalities and backgrounds," said founder Kimber Ludiker in a bio on the band's website, Ludiker came up with the idea for Della Mae at a summer festival, then hand-picked musicians from all over the country, including singer Celia Woodsmith, guitarist Courtney Hartman, bassist Shelby Means and mandolin player Jenni Lyn Gardner.

On the latest album, produced by respected guitarist Bryan Sutton, "The whole band had a big part in arranging the songs, most written by Celia and Courtney, and together we molded them into what you'll hear on the album," Ludiker said.

"The vibe at Cash Cabin Studio," the former Johnny Cash studio in Hendersonville, Tenn., where it was recorded, "is incredible, and we did a lot of live recording," Ludiker said. "We overdubbed vocal harmonies and solos here and there, but it's basically just us playing together in the same room. 'Some Roads Lead On' was captured on one microphone, in one take."

Aside from its regular touring, Della Mae recently participated in the U.S. State Department's American Music Abroad program spending 43 days touring in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. They collaborated with local musicians, taught educational programs for children and played concerts for local audiences along the way.

Ludiker called it "a life-changing experience for us, individually and as a band."

Call Mark Zaretsky at 203-789-5722.


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Source: New Haven Register (CT)

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