Picks and Pans Review: Every Second Counts

updated 10/23/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/23/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jim Lauderdale

After Roseanne Cash, Jim Lauderdale is America's best ex-country singer. A critical favorite who still hasn't found the mass listener ship he deserves, Lauderdale made one of 1994's best country-rock albums, Pretty Close to the Truth. That's a hard act to follow, but Every Second Counts comes, well, pretty close. The difference, in the end, is a matter of heights—the former album contained two songs, "Why Do I Love You" and "Run Like You," that are as good as any pop tunes this decade. But if Every Second Counts lacks its predecessor's exhilarating peaks, it is still tough, intelligent roots-rock, a uniformly excellent high-wire act. Lauderdale continues, moreover, to add to his already large musical vocabulary. "Charmed" has an old-timey, Tin Pan Alley jauntiness; "Echo" is Latin-tinged; and "Bluebell," with its rusty-sounding, vibrato-drenched electric guitar, is gutbucket, down-home blues. As always, Lauderdale sings as if his life depends on it. Few singer-songwriters have Lauderdale's talent, curiosity and spine. He remains one of pop's best-kept secrets. (Atlantic)

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