March 16, 2006 has been set as the CD release date for a unique retrospective project on CMH Records from Jimmy Gaudreau. Entitled In Good Company, the CD is a mix of new and re-issue tracks, both live and studio recordings, featuring Jimmy in his role as a celebrated bluegrass sideman, or band member, over his more than 35 years in the business.
The new CD contains previously unreleased recordings with Tony Rice, Charlie Waller, The Fox Family, Bel??? Fleck with additional performances from Jack Lawrence, Sammy Shelor, Robin & Linda Williams, Randy Waller, Mike Auldridge, Dan Tyminski, John Starling, Mark Schatz and Bill Clifton.
Jimmy was first introduced to bluegrass audiences in 1969 as the new mandolinist with The Country Gentlemen, and went on to also be a part of IInd Generation (with Eddie Adcock), JD Crowe & The New South, Spectrum (with Bel??? Fleck) and The Tony Rice Unit among several others. Both as a mandolinist and a distinctive tenor vocalist, Jimmy made his mark on each of these acts, and enjoys the respect and admiration of pickers and fans alike as a result.
We had an opportunity to discuss the new CD with Jimmy recently and discovered that it is a very personal project for him.
“It started several years ago with a few tunes I had in my collection which I thought would be a good mix/foundation for a compilation CD, as this is. I then decided to go into the studio(s) and record tunes/artists…both, to complete the picture I really wanted to see and suddenly I was looking at a list of more than 30 tunes (there’s actually another album’s worth of material which I had to cut in order to trim it down to a single CD…that was tough!)”
“I was fortunate to be the 2005 inductee into SPBGMA’s Preservation Hall Of Greats, and in preparation for my acceptance speech at their annual convention in Nashville last February, I decided my ‘theme’ would focus on how lucky AND blessed I’ve been to have been able to play in bands with some of the greatest pickers and singers in bluegrass. This year I, yet another ‘baby boomer’ will turn the big 6-0 (Yikes!) and as I approach retirement (oh yes. my good friend Bill Emerson has shown me that it can be done) I look back and see that it was LUCK that enabled me (who is, in my estimation, a limited-ability player and tenor singer) to land the job with the Country Gentlemen in 1969. That position and more luck down the line, opened the doors to numerous recording opportunities and associations with several ‘name’ bands over the last 37 years and the BLESSINGS came with all the friends I’ve made during this time. It is my true intention to project this sentiment with this release…not just to say ‘Kilroy was here.’ “
Can you tell me a bit about the live recordings? Are these recordings that you have collected over the years, or were they made with an eye towards an eventual release?
“There are 3 live cuts on the project, two from the Towne Crier in Pawling, NY (Tony Rice Unit) and one from The Prism Coffeehouse in Charlottesville, VA (with Jack Lawrence). One of the TRU cuts features him on his version of the Adcock/Thatcher tune, Another Lonesome Morning, and the other features me singing the Jimmy Martin favorite There Ain’t Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone , which we decided to do when Bel??? dropped in to see the Unit and was invited on stage to do a couple tunes. Crazy Blues is a tune I had previously recorded with Spectrum and selected it for this project on the merits of Jack Lawrence’s super guitar break. All the live cuts are from my collection of digital collection and were NOT made with the intention of ever being released.”
Can you describe the mix of live vs studio tracks?
“Again there are only 3 live cuts. It turns out that the remaining 14 cuts are split evenly between tracks from existing projects (7) and tracks I put together in various studios in later years (7) which feature tunes I always wanted to record, or in one case (You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, which I originally did in 1971 with Eddie Adcock and The IInd Generation), re-record.”
Are some of these tracks where you were a featured guest on another act’s recording?
“The existing tracks I referred to are, in fact from selected projects I worked on over the years and include songs that ‘stood out’ at the time I was involved with their recording. I specifically set my sights on them when I decided to put my collection together. The songs and the artists with whom I was privileged to record are uniquely special to me. Also, because they for the most part, came out on small labels (some of which no longer exist) or in a couple cases were never released, I think I can safely say that they haven’t had much ‘exposure,’ so most people who pick up my CD will be hearing this material (all of it, in fact) for the first time.”
You can see a track listing on the CMH web site, but no online audio samples as yet. They indicate that in addition to the 17 tracks of music, In Good Company also contains detailed liner notes from Jimmy with remembrances and impressions of his 37 years sharing his music with us.