Picks and Pans Review: Braver Newer World

updated 07/01/1996 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/01/1996 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jimmie Dale Gilmore

At 51, the Texas-bred Gilmore can be forgiven for beginning to chafe under his moldering mantle as one of the Lone Star State's best-kept secrets. Down home, his starkly beautiful songcraft and his voice—a reedy, quavering cross between Roy Orbison and Willie Nelson—are much appreciated. But beyond the panhandle, his slightly mystical country blues is seldom heard. And while Gilmore may hope that this, his third major label album—produced by a fellow Texan, T Bone Burnett—gets him beyond cult-hero status, his unorthodox style may always be shunned by format-driven radio. Which is a shame, because tunes like "Headed for a Fall," in which Gilmore cautions a lover not to leap into another's arms ("Don't put your dreams way up there in the clouds ..../ I'll be waiting here when you hit bottom"), and the Buddy Holly-esque "There She Goes" would make great driving music on the lone-some highway. But then, as Gilmore admits in the low-slung rocker "Outside the Lines," maybe he's just not meant for the mainstream: " 'Cause every single choice I ever made was mine/ And now I find myself/ A little outta line." (Elektra)

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