I heard the late great Utah Phillips say "Folk Music is boring" during one of his own performances.
I hate to admit it, but as a folkie myself I've thought the same thing. I've been hard pressed to find anything within contemporary folk music that's caught my attention in the past ten years save a few gems scattered here and there. Oh sure, there's your Darrel Scotts, your John Prines, some Wailing Jennys and others that have earned serious spins on the iPod but it takes old Guthrie, Gillian Welch and everything in between that doesn't sound hokey or sing-along to keep my attention. I prefer my writers raw, stripped down and ragged, like an old road time forgot...the road less traveled...steering clear of the pearly white truck stops and idyllic towns. Trading the strip mall eateries for the unknown greasy spoon. The star-struck latte for the best worst cup of coffee money can buy. Once you find that old road there's no turning back -any direction it leads is a roll of the dice...you never know where you'll end up. - that's the road Jim Pipkin has been traveling down, writing and singing about for years now; and I'm confident in saying I feel he's released one of the best damned independent contemporary folk albums in the last decade.
I would put Jim somewhere between a polished Woody Guthrie and a rebel Steve Goodman. Equal parts man's man and quintessential road warrior. His songs tell stories, some of them outlaw, some of them about love. I can relate to every track on this album and put myself in every song. Jim makes this music personable, he makes it something the listener can own - that's the true strength of honest to goodness folk music...it's for the people. Not an ounce of hipster pretension or patchouli soaked political rants...this is real stuff…not for the light of heart. This is Gasoline in the engine of the true rounders...stuff of legend. As I listened to every track on this album I could see myself as an actor on Jim's stage; an extra on the movie set; one moment I'm the graying troubadour starring at my reflection in a tinted window, the next I'm the ghost of Billy the Kid, my whole life ahead of me or all of it trailing behind. On top of all that, the man has written one of the best love songs I've ever heard..."Silver in the Leaves" - real love...no fleeting romance, no morning doves - the love that lasts and takes root; a love that could weather any green tornado sky.
I could say more, but I think it's best you take the trip with Jim yourself. Don't be looking for a corduroy clad hand-clapping young up and comer here. No. This is the wise and willing trucker that's scaled every inch of the dirt highways; he knows his stuff. Only thing you need to bring is a willing heart and your ears wide open. He’ll introduce you to his talented band of lost souls and desert pickers. There's a healthy dose of rebel wisdom to be found and a lot of life left to live. After hearing this album I realized how fortunate I am to know Jim and to call him a friend...it's an even greater joy to discover how truly talented of a friend he is. Greatness is a roll of the dice away and all bets are on. What are you waiting for? Lay your money down…you’re bound to hit the jackpot with this one. -Md
You can purchase Rollin the Dice and other great titles from Jim Pipkin at CD Baby.com, iTunes and other fine digital outlets that sell bad ass music like this!