It’s one thing when an established musical star starts a side project to explore new creative avenues. It’s another thing entirely when an established musical star is willing to become an ensemble member in a lesser known, already existing band. It speaks to the musical integrity of the established star and to the irresistible talent of the lesser known band. Such is the case for The Time Jumpers whose music so impressed Vince Gill that he felt compelled to join the group.
Their latest album, Kid Sister, is the culmination of over fifteen years’ experience playing together. Mixing Texas Swing with traditional Country ballads, the Time Jumpers jump back in time to another era when swing was still king. Rousing numbers like “My San Antonio Rose,” “I Hear You Talkin’,” “Honky Tonkin’,” and “Bloodshot Eyes” make you want to channel your inner Bob Wills and shout out “Ahhh Haaa!” The band even channels their inner Light Crust Doughboys while singing the self-promoting, “We’re The Time Jumpers.”
The ballads, like “Table For Two,” “Empty Rooms,” and the smokey, bluesy, “Blue Highway Blue,” are classic, “tear in my beer,” Country Blues. As a ten piece band, they have a rich, full bodied sound. With multiple vocalists taking turns singing lead, the band creates a richly textured mosaic from song to song.
But what makes this album so moving is the kid sister for whom the album is named. Singer Dawn Sears was a Time Jumper for ten years before succumbing to cancer at the end of 2014. Her last two vocal recordings are featured here in “My San Antonio Rose” and “I Miss You.” The latter is a haunting, yearning ballad of loss and longing. Sung as a duet with Vince Gill, this song and the title track, “Kid Sister” are tearful goodbyes to a beloved friend. In Kid Sister, Vince sings, “I smiled when you laughed and I wept when you sang.” This album celebrates Dawn’s life by sharing the joy she brought to others through song and the sorrow that came with the silencing of that voice.