Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore

When Grammy winner Dave Alvin and Grammy nominee Jimmie Dale Gilmore made the album Downey To Lubbock together in 2018, they wrote the title track as a sort of mission statement. “I know someday this old highway’s gonna come to an end,” Alvin sings near the song’s conclusion. Gilmore answers: “But I know when it does you’re going to be my friend.”

Six years later, they’re serving notice that the old highway hasn’t ended yet. “We’re still standing, no matter what you might hear,” they sing on “We’re Still Here,” the final track to their new album Texicali. Due out Jun 21, 2024 on Yep Roc Records, Texicali continues to bridge the distance between the two troubadours’ respective home bases of California (Alvin) and Texas
(Gilmore).

The album’s geographic theme reflects Alvin’s repeated journeys to record in Central Texas with Gilmore and the Austin-based backing band that has toured with the duo for the past few years. The 11 songs on Texicali also connect the duo’s shared fondness for a broad range of American music forms. On their own, both have been prominent artists for decades. A philosophical songwriter with a captivating, almost mystical voice, Gilmore co-founded influential Lubbock group the Flatlanders in the early 1970s. Alvin first drew attention as a firebrand guitarist and budding young songwriter with Los Angeles roots-rockers the Blasters in the early 1980s.

Gilmore is primarily known for left-of-center country music, while Alvin’s compass points largely toward old-school blues. But there’s a lot of ground to cover beyond those foundations, and both artists also are well-known for transcending genre limitations. So it’s not surprising that they’ve spiked Texicali with cosmic folk narratives, deep R&B grooves and even swinging reggae rhythms. “There’s such a strange variety through the whole thing,” Gilmore says. “And I love that.”

They’re both quick to credit the musicians who joined them in the studio as crucial to the sound and spirit of the album. On Downey To Lubbock, they recorded primarily in Los Angeles with a crew that included ringers such as the late Don Heffington on drums and Van Dyke Parks on accordion. This time, though, Alvin’s longtime rhythm section of drummer Lisa Pankratz and bassist Brad Fordham played a larger role, along with guitarist Chris Miller and keyboardist Bukka Allen. “After the time we spent touring, Jimmie and I became members of this band,” Alvin says. “The band can play just about anything, which the album shows off.”

Texicali also found Alvin and Gilmore increasingly focusing on original songs. Among them are “Trying To Be Free,” which Gilmore wrote more than 50 years ago; “Southwest Chief,” a collaboration between Alvin and the late Bill Morrissey; and “Death of the Last Stripper,” which Alvin wrote with Terry Allen and his wife Jo Harvey Allen.

Just as important, however, are the choices they made for non-original material. The covers on Texicali include “Roll Around” by Gilmore’s longtime friend Butch Hancock; “Broke Down Engine” and “Betty And Dupree” from blues greats Blind Willie McTell and Brownie McGhee, respectively; and Stonewall Jackson’s “That’s Why I’m Walking,” which marries Gilmore’s country croon to a New Orleans R&B arrangement. Gilmore says he loves New Orleans music, “but it’s not the music I play.” Dave slyly counters: “It is now!”

Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Texas singer/songwriter Jimmie Dale Gilmore creates a unique style of music—some call it “progressive alternative country” and “Americana”—that blends a lifelong interest in esoteric philosophy, literature, psychology, and spirituality with elements of country, folk, pop, blues, and rock music. Three of Jimmie’s CDs, Spinning Around the Sun, Braver New World, and Come on Back, have received Grammy nominations. Along with Joe Ely and Butch Hancock, Gilmore’s legendary band The Flatlanders has been credited as fathers of the Alt-country movement.

Gilmore was born in Amarillo, spent his formative years in Lubbock and makes his home now in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin.  In addition to his work as a solo recording artist and performer, Jimmie tours, writes and records songs with Dave Alvin (and the Guilty Ones) and The Flatlanders, leading songwriting workshops at the Omega Institute and appearing in movies such as the Big Lebowski, Parkland and The Thing Called Love.

Jimmie and his son Colin have been singing and playing together for many years now. Colin recently joined the newly formed West Texas Exiles (so named because the members hail from Lubbock, Amarillo and El Paso) and when the band tried their hand backing Jimmie at Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion Festival, the experience felt natural and powerful, like a time-honored tradition was being kept alive. Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the West Texas Exiles have plans to tour together in Texas and California this year.

West Texas Exiles

There’s Texas, and then there’s West Texas. Nobody knows that better than the newly formed West Texas Exiles. Love of music and a restlessness to escape their hometowns brought them together in Austin. With a new and a few singles under their belts, they nonetheless have a deep catalog among the 3 singers/songwriters: Marco Gutierrez (Dirty River Boys), Daniel Davis, and Colin Gilmore; backed by bassist / producer Eric Harrison and drummer Trinidad Leal (Dixie Witch, Honky). With influences like The Flatlanders and Buddy Holly, they are reinvigorating the music scene with a modern interpretation of the lone star vernacular. Grounded in rhythmic and lyrical honesty, the Exile sound is the vastness of the West Texas sky and the energy of a world where nothing stands still.

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Roots music legends, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, have been friends for 30 years, but only recently realized they had never played music with each other before.  So in 2017, Grammy winner Alvin and Grammy nominee Gilmore decided to hit the highway to swap songs, tell stories, and share their life experiences.

Though Texas born Gilmore was twice named Country Artist of the Year by Rolling Stone, and California native Alvin first came to fame in the hard rocking rhythm and blues band The Blasters, they discovered that their musical roots in old blues and folk music are exactly the same.  In these spontaneous shows, audiences enjoyed classic original compositions from the two, and also songs from a wide spectrum of songwriters and styles – from Merle Haggard to Sam Cooke to the Young Bloods.  Mutually energized and inspired by these performances, Dave and Jimmie agreed to hit the road again… this time with a full band, an album, Downey to Lubbock and some new stories to share.

Roots music legends, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, have been friends for 30 years, but only recently realized they had never played music with each other before. So in 2017, Grammy winner Alvin and Grammy nominee Gilmore, decided to hit the highway to swap songs, tell stories, and share their life experiences.

Though Texas born Gilmore was twice named Country Artist of the Year by Rolling Stone, and California native Alvin first came to fame in the hard rocking rhythm and blues band The Blasters, they discovered that their musical roots in old blues and folk music are exactly the same. In these spontaneous shows, audiences enjoyed classic original compositions from the two, and also songs from a wide spectrum of songwriters and styles from Merle Haggard to Sam Cooke to the Young Bloods. Mutually energized and inspired by these performances, Dave and Jimmie agreed to hit the road again …..this time with a full band, an album, Downey to Lubbock and some new stories to share.

Roots music legends, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, have been friends for 30 years, but only recently realized they had never played music with each other before.  So in 2017, Grammy winner Alvin and Grammy nominee Gilmore, decided to hit the highway to swap songs, tell stories, and share their life experiences. 

Though Texas born Gilmore was twice named Country Artist of the Year by Rolling Stone, and California native Alvin first came to fame in the hard rocking rhythm and blues band The Blasters, they discovered that their musical roots in old blues and folk music are exactly the same.  In these spontaneous shows, audiences enjoyed classic original compositions from the two, and also songs from a wide spectrum of songwriters and styles – from Merle Haggard to Sam Cooke to the Young Bloods.  Mutually energized and inspired by these performances, Dave and Jimmie agreed to hit the road again in 2018…

this time with a full band and some new stories to share.