Jimmy LaFave

Jimmy LaFave
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Wills Point, TX
July 12, 1955 -

Jimmy LaFave was born in Wills Point, Texas, a small town 30 miles east of Dallas. He began school down the road in Mesquite and by Junior High was making music perched behind his Sears & Roebuck drum kit. It wasn't long before his mother traded a drawer full of green stamps for his first guitar and the switch to singer-songwriter was in progress. His family later moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he finished High School. Although he has lived in Austin for the past 17 years, many people think of him as being from Oklahoma, because of his strong musical ties to the state and what he often refers to as his 'red dirt music'. It was in this landscape that he began to define his sound, which was in part, a combination of his experiences there among authentic songwriters from the tradition of Woody Guthrie. Here he did some independent recording and toured the southwest with the first version of his band, Night Tribe. He moved to Austin in 1986, where he continued to write songs and to develop his musical ideas. Shortly after arriving he was asked to help launch the songwriter nights at a new performance venue, the Chicago House. In 1988 he recorded his self-produced tape, 'Highway Angels...Full moon Rain', which won the Austin Chronicle Reader's Poll 'Tape of the Year Award'. This led to a recording contract with a small independent label and allowed LaFave the opportunity to work with Bob Johnston, producer of several of LaFave's favorite albums including Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and Nashville Skyline. Although these recordings were never released, by 1990 LaFave had put together an Austin version of Night Tribe and had become, according to the Austin American-Statesman, 'a perennial presence upon the Austin music scene'. In 1992 Jimmy released a self-produced CD, Austin Skyline, which drew international attention to his songwriting and vocal talents, and led to a publishing agreement with Polygram Music. Due to his growing popularity and radio play on more than 200 stations Austin Skyline and its label, Bohemia Beat, received national distribution through the Rounder Record Group. His second album, Highway Trance was released in 1994 followed by his third CD, Buffalo Return to the Plains, in 1995. The grass roots demand and critical acclaim for Jimmy's music, which led to extensive touring in the United States and Europe, was recognized in 1996 when he was asked to tape a performance of for the PBS musical series Austin City Limits, and was invited by Nora Guthrie to appear in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 'Tribute to Woody Guthrie'. And, in a town known for its songwriters, for the second consecutive year, The Austin Music Awards named LaFave 'Best Singer-Songwriter'. His fourth CD, Road Novel, which was released in early 1997, received many glowing reviews. That year he was asked by Nora Guthrie to speak and perform at the induction lf Woody Guthrie into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He traveled to Europe twice and also toured the USA and Canada. In early 1988, he returned to Europe to tape the prestigious German television show Ohne Filter. That summer he was back in the USA and Canada touring and doing festivals and taped his third appearance for National Public Radio's Mountain Stage. Jimmy also organized a project dear to his heart. He produced and hosted a benefit for the American Indian College Fund. The show featured twenty of Austin's best singer-songwriters and was named by the Austin American-Statesman and Third Coast Music as one of the best concert events of the year. In the fall of 1998 Jimmy and record label President, Mark Shumate, began compiling a 15 year retrospective of bootleg tapes, live performances, radio shows and studio out takes. LaFave kicked off 1999 with the release of the CD entitled Trail. The double CD contains 31 tracks recorded in Texas and around the world. Including 12 Dylan songs, it also answered the demand of fans for a 'LaFave does Dylan'CD. From the liner notes by Dave Marsh: "Jimmy LaFave has one of America's greatest voices, and this album is the story of what he has learned to do with it. It's a unique instrument, sith startling range and its own peculiar sense of gravity, liable to swoop in and wreck your expectations at any instant." In 2001, Jimmy released Texoma, a celebration of the Americana spirit with a heartfelt valentine to the heartland. KGSR Program Director, Jody Denberg called it a "phenomenon." Denberg said, " the phones lit up immediately after it was added to the playlist, and they stayed lit." Since the release of Texoma, Jimmy combined his solo dates with the Woody Guthrie tribute tour titled "The Ribbon of Highway - Endless Skyway." March 8, 2005 marks the release of LaFave's latest CD, Blue Nightfall. This stunningly soulful album is LaFave's first in 4 years and his first on St. Paul, Minnesota based Red House Records. Jimmy will be touring heavily with his band throughout North America in support of Blue Nightfall and continues to perform on the tour titled Ribbon of Highway Endless Skyway ~ a Tribute in the Spirit of Woody Guthrie.
Date Venue City State Note
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09/06/2009 - LaFave still a Red Dirt fave  - Read More
02/11/2007 - Live, It's LaFave - Read More
09/23/2006 - Rockin' for Rights '06 - Read More
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03/01/2005 - Jimmy LaFave Q&A - Read More
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Average Rating : 4.4              Total Reviews: 27

Jimmy LaFave  04/26/2009            
First time I saw and heard Jimmy and his band, was at a Wine Festival New Braunfels Texas. His new record that summer was Cimarron Manifesto~ I could feel the music, and the sound was "WOW" I very seldom miss them, If they are playing within a 100 miles I will make the trip..I have a great collection of his records. I saw the Ribbon of Highway Endless Skyway, in Austin bought the record and play it all the time. What a great tribute to Woody, and what a great job putting it together. Jimmy has so much talent, how fortunate we are to have this great Singer and Song Writer and Musician here in Austin. I never tire of listening to him and his band. Along with Unique sound of his voice, "he can play that guitar, he gets in his own little world, and what an "AWESOME" world it is.. Thanks Jimmy!!
Jimmy LaFave  01/28/2009            
Jared Winstead
First i would like to say i grew up listening to country and texas country music with a litle alternative rock. Although i've always been open minded to any style of music. I first heard Jimmy Lafave about 4 months ago and immediately fell in love with hi music. The feeling it puts inside of you is unlike any other stlye of music. When listening to his music you can not help but feel overwhelmed by joy. After getting into his music i can now way that i am a folk music fan and supporter. I encourage anyone who has a love for music of any kind to sit down and listen to his work, i promise you will not be diappointed. I look forward to any forward releases.
Jimmy LaFave  12/23/2008            
Uncle John
I first listened to Jimmy in 1994 when Bohemian Beat released Highway Trance. I didn't think any release would ever top it, but Jimmy has become better with every release. No one can take a balled and put as much feeling into it as Jimmy can. I have been a long time Dylan fan, but Jimmy does Dylan better than Dylan. Just listen to his version of "Not Dark Yet" on Cimmeron Manifesto and you to will be transformed into a die-hard Jimmy fan. I'm lucky enough to have discoved Jimmy early on, because here in the Northwest we aren't priviledged enough to hear the real soul of music. If you're looking for the real deal don't you dare miss Jimmy LaFave, if you do you will be missing an important part of real American Music. I truly believe that Jimmy has to be discovered by the masses, he is to important of an artist and writer to be ignored.
Jimmy LaFave  11/20/2006            
New yorker
Here's a review from a NEW fan of Jimmy's... he said it better than I ever could... "Jimmy mentions the names of his influences often in his work. In my opinion he has eclipsed or surpassed them!!. His own material is as good as anything ever written. His interpretations of other peoples work are phenominal. He`s turned songs that I liked, into songs that haunt me (ie: "Walk Away Renee", "San Fransisco"). I`m a long time Dylan fan, but the melodies that Jimmy can wring out of Bob`s songs make the originals redundant!. Sorry Bob, but you`re probably a Jimmy fan too !!. I`d compare Jimmy`s unique vocal delivery to Willie Nelson`s guitar style. Totally original, defying all constraints, & straight from heaven (& I`m not religious!). It`s amazing how he can switch from Rock to Blues to Folk to that "Red dirt" country/bluegrass sound.His backup bands are without parallel. God, I sound like a gushing fan !. Well, guess I am. If you`ve gotta have an "idol", you could do much worse. Which brings me to the question, "Why do most people not know who he is" ?. GOD BLESS ELVIS, & JIMMY LAFAVE !!! (not necessarily in that order!)." Ditto on that...My fav. of his is "rain falling down" is gives me chills EVERY time... Jimmy..."Glory halleluhiah you are sight for sore eyes" (sorry charlene you dont know what ur missing)
Jimmy LaFave  08/21/2006            
Hands down, a GREAT album. Jimmy is flawless live and you can really see and feel the passion he has for his music. This is a great album. Buy it.
Jimmy LaFave  03/25/2006            
Vinny The Shark
Charlene... Are you serious? Slacks? Vinny's never heard Jimmy LaFave's stuff, so he won't comment on that, but Slacks? Maybe Tom Jones or Wayne Newton are more your speed. Vinny can just see Cody Canada or Shooter Jennings up on stage in a pair of Khaki Dockers with a nicely tucked in buttoned down light blue long sleeved shirt. Slacks? If you don't like the music, that's fine, but to bitch about the guy not wearing Slacks? Wow, that's a first!! Have a nice Ragweed Day!!!
Jimmy LaFave  03/24/2006            
I saw my first LaFave concert tonight and I must say I was disappointed. The lyrics were virtually undecipherable and all the songs sounded the same. Some a little faster or slower or louder or softer but not really much of a difference at all. And he mumbles so the names of his musicians were also undecipherable. (I came to this web site hoping to find out more about his keyboard guy, who was fantastic. But none of the LaFave sites I have seen say one word about the other musicians.) And I wish that performers these days would get the message that the grunge look is out, and just wear a pair of slacks and a shirt. These guys looked like they just came in from washing the car and were going to clean out the garage when they were through. Their grunginess was distracting.
Jimmy LaFave  01/21/2006            
Dylan fan from OH
One of the true gems in my collection. So many artists who try to cover Dylan are simply not up to the task...they should stop here for a listen. Even relatively lightweight Dylan songs like "I Threw It All Away" are given a new lease. And the originals - try "How It Must Remain" are breathtaking. These cuts are taken from a variety of sources so sound quality varies, but don't let that stop you. Absolutely essential.
Jimmy LaFave  01/18/2006            
red dragon
This CD is proof that singer-songwriters should NEVER, NEVER produce their own records. Lafave has been getting away with inarticulate, mannered vocal performances for years and this performance is no exception. The material overall is weak, with the exception of Gretchen Peter's "Revival" which is ruined by an annoying sustained organ note. The skill level overall of Lafave's players seems to have dropped considerably, with the exceptions of Warren Hood and Gurf Morlix. It sounds like Lafave is attempting a particularly bad version of a JJ Cale record, but without decent lyrics, arrangements or soul- it simply sounds like slop. His previous CD, Texoma, at least had a very good drummer and an exceptional keyboardist to recommend it, even if it was overlong with about 5 too many covers. Overall, this is disappointing, since Red House has a reputation for putting out decent records...
Jimmy LaFave  01/04/2006            
I Saw this awesome performer on Mountain Stage TV show a couple years ago on PBS. I went out and bought Texoma and fell in love with his music. Bus To St Cloud really moved me I heard Jimmy @ Skippers in Tampa and now own all seven Albums he has out! One pure ballader bluesman and Rocker, his voice has such range. "Its gone" on Blue NightFall is a tribute to Native Americans...
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