NASHVILLE country singer-songwriter, recording act Jim Lauderdale stepped up on stage like he was back home and set to play the Grand Ole Opry. Dressed in his country attire he set it up perfectly, for California born and raised for an on the rise, Sam Outlaw and his band.

Lauderdale’s wealth of product and experience place him on a level few will ever dream of achieving.

His stories and varied collection of songs crossed an inner boundary or two as bluegrass, soul country and rock’n’roll were highlighted.

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His pure country tune King Of Broken Hearts figured alongside songs from his latest album, London Southern; plus and Lost In The Lonesome Pines (a song he originally recorded with the late Dr. Ralph Stanley).

Entertaining throughout Lauderdale kept one gem up sleeve for his finale.

It was a co-write with a man whom he shares a radio show and has worked with for many a year, the iconic Buddy Miller and the killer song Hole In My Head.

Follow that Sam Outlaw, and he did up to a point. Accompanied by a seven-piece band he might have over cooked the goose a little but afterwards there were still lots of smiling faces.

Despite my reservations, Outlaw with the aid of harmony vocalist Molly Jenson eased his way through material from his critically acclaimed albums Angeleno and Tenderheart.

With such highlights as Trouble, All My Life (loved the pedal steel guitar) and one occasion when he dispensed with the band as Jenson and him served up a terrific version of Love Her For A While Outlaw set himself a high benchmark.

Otherwise, the music, though good it was a little too frenetic and his diction lacked sharpness as he sacrificed more than was gained on a night where he could easily have moped up.

Why he thought he needed a band of this size when he already had all that was needed puzzled me. Since he had in a set of well-written songs, his fine singing voice and basic set of players all that was required already in place.

Maurice Hope