The Time Jumpers, “Kid Sister” Album Review
by Stephen Scruggs
What do musicians do on their nights off? They play music of course. At least, if you’re the 4-time Grammy nominated The Time Jumpers, that’s what you do. With their third album ‘Kid Sister,’ The Time Jumpers send us a touching tribute and celebration of long-time female vocalist Dawn Sears, member of the band for 10 years, backup vocalist for Vince Gill for 22, and wife of fiddle player and fellow band member Kenny Sears. Dawn was affectionately referred to as the ‘Kid Sister’ of the 10-piece group, which includes Vince Gill, Kenny Sears, Joe Spivey, Larry and Paul Franklin, “Ranger Doug” Green, Billy Thomas, Jeff Taylor, Andy Reiss, and Brad Albin. If you think that you have not heard of some of these people, I can assure you that if you have listened to anything coming out of Nashville for the last 40 or 50 years, then you have heard them.
The first two tracks on the album contain the last vocal recordings of Dawn before the cancer which eventually took her from this world stripped her of her amazing voice. “My San Antonio Rose” is a wonderful duet between Dawn and husband Kenny Sears. Originally sung only by Dawn, there were parts she wasn’t satisfied with, but unfortunately was not able to re-record. At Gills suggestion, Kenny Sears sang the parts he knew his wife would be unsatisfied with and transformed the song into a duet. “I Miss You” includes Dawn singing harmony with Vince Gill on a song originally intended for one of his own albums, Gill rewrote lyrics to reflect Kenny’s perspective on losing his wife and The Time Jumpers put their respective spin on the rest of it. The result is a haunting tribute to a lost loved one.
On a personal note, just a few short months after the world lost Dawn Sears, I, and my family, went through the loss of my mother. “My San Antonio Rose” reminds me of dancing in the living room with my mother to classic country artists like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. It took me back to those times when you forgot everything that was going on around you and just laughed and cried and enjoyed being alive. “I Miss You” had me pulling out old photo albums and looking at pictures of Mom, smiling and crying. Somehow, it is comforting to me to think that maybe, just maybe, while my family was holding each other close and grieving our loss, that The Time Jumpers were in the studio recording “I Miss You,” working through their own grief the only way they know how.
“The Time Jumpers” is a fun, and fun-filled theme song styled after the seminal show-opener of The Texas Playboys. “Sweet Rowena” will have your head bobbing, with a little curl to your lip as that gritty blues groove takes control. The rest of the album is peppered with outstanding renditions of classic country songs from the 1940s and ‘50s to more modern originals. I thoroughly enjoyed every song on “Kid Sister” and would even go so far as to say this should be required listening. It brings to mind images of watching your favorite local honky-tonk band over a beer with friends, slow dancing with the love of your life, or just being around family and knowing that you could not imagine yourself anywhere other than where you are right now.
That this album is a masterpiece of a production is not in doubt. When you have Grammy Award winners, Country Music Hall of Fame artists, Nashville Legends and a group of people that would be still playing on Monday nights at 3rd and Lindsey in Nashville regardless of their accomplishments, collectively or individually, because the music is in their blood. It’s their passion and it’s their gift to everyone with the ears to hear it. It just reminds me that music crosses all borders, boundaries, religions, and cultures. Even if it is not the style you are accustomed to, there is beauty in it, there is heart and soul, and there is every reason you listen to what music that you do listen to.
“Kid Sister” is an absolute masterpiece of an album. It is a heart-warming, uplifting, and nostalgic tribute to one of their own. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will raise your glass in a toast to those that, while no longer here, will never leave us and will remind us to smile every once in awhile, even if it hurts. If I’m ever in Nashville on a Monday Night, you know where I’ll be, and I’ll be raising my glass to celebrate Dawn, The Time Jumpers, and my Mom.