Nashville, Tennessee – December 1, 2013 – This past fall The Time Jumpers made their way to the Swiss alps to play at the 25th anniversary of Country Night Gstaad. A two day festival that has been known for getting legendary acts like Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Kenny Rogers, Buck Owens and George Jones to a European audience while also welcoming new acts like Joe Nichols, Craig Campbell, Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert.
All but one of the eleven members of the band made their way to Europe and surprisingly all of them also showed up for the interview. Who would’ve though that was going to happen! It was clear that this group of people have so much fun together. They joke around and really enjoy spending time talking to each other and were happy to share a bit of that time with us.
Your western swing music that reminds of Bob Wills, in my eyes, really invites people to dance. Out here you were playing for a sit down audience. Do you get people dancing back home or is it mainly a sit down audience as well?
Dawn Sears: Sitting.
Jeff Taylor: So far we haven’t really played dances. We haven’t played anywhere where there’s a dance floor. There are some of those kinda places in Texas. I would love to play something like that. You’ll feel like you’re part of the community as apposed to being stared at by people who listening to your music. I’ve played country dances back home or at Irish/Scottish ceilidhs and I always feel like the musicians are just a part of this wonderful community when there’s dancing going on. We’re playing this great dance music and that’s a dream of mine. I hope we end up going to Texas some time and playing some big dance halls.
Vince, how did you come to join The Time Jumpers?
Vince Gill: The funny thing is, we’ve all know each other for over thirty years. I’ve been friends with most of these guys up here for a long time. Billy’s been the drummer in my band for twenty five years, Dawn for twenty and I know Kenny obviously because he’s married to Dawn and Joe for his long history with John Anderson. I played with Andy when we toured with Reba McEntire. So this band as it sits here has a lot of history, many many years of history. They played every Monday night for years at a little club in town, in Nashville, called the Station Inn, and it was where everybody wanted to go to hear something great. It was one of the only places where you could go and find a really traditional element of out music.
A lot of people have been talking about how country music has changed over the years and I’m oke with that. I’m oke with that it changes but this is just a bunch of people that grew up in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas. We knew that music growing up. Western swing music was a big part of our past and all this is is a bunch of people wanting to play music that we love. Nobody played much Bob Wills music in Nashville. Asleep at the Wheel should get all the credit for keeping swing music alive for the last years. We just love it. We’re just doing it for fun. I used to go down on Monday nights and would fill in for Andy or Ranger Doug when he couldn’t make it. So eventually they asked me if I would ever consider joining the band. And I was like: ‘Man this is fun, of course. All I ever wanted to be was a musician”. This allows me to continue to be that. Just be a guitar player, sing a couple of song a night and get better. The reason I wanted to do this is the musicianship with these people is unheralded but their history proves it. Even at 56 years old, that how old I am, I’m a better musician now then three years ago when I first started playing with these guys. I’ll never grow tired of trying to get better and none of us do. We’re having a ball. Everybody listens to each other, everybody respects each other. This is, at this time of my life, the most fun as I’ve ever had playing music that’s probably as traditional and authentic as I’ve ever played in my career and that’s what really speaks to me. I’m playing country music better then I ever had the opportunity in my life. So I’m gonna keep doing it, I love it.
I noticed that you guys play without a set list. Evidently you don’t need it. Do you just play whatever you feel like playing?
Joe Spivey: We just decide as the show goes along. We refer to Kenny as our musical cop. He will decide who’s next and it will be up to that individual what they feel like playing. What might be good for the moment. We wanna feel good about what we’re doing and a set list, as great as it can be some times, is limiting. You never know what people wanna hear. One night might be a different kind of mood and we get a chance to pick up on that and aim towards what they need. It keeps it fresh for us too.
You’re all sought after studio musicians. Is it hard to get together, get the planning right to do shows or even a tour?
Dawn Sears: Yes, we’ve been touring in the US and enjoying it a lot. We’ll be doing it more and more. Next year we’ll even have more dates. It’s not something that was necessarily planned but it’s happening and we’re enjoying it.
So how should I imagine that happening? Will there be eleven busses? One for each of you?
Brad Albin: Not yet! We all get along really well….right now…haha.
Dawn Sears: But seriously, that’s one of the things that I’m so impressed with. We’re like a family. There’s not one ego in this whole group. A lot of stars have a big double bed in the back of the bus, which is the start bus. Even our biggest star, Vince, has always had a bunk like everybody else. This is a great group of people right here.
Talking about the big number of people in this band, eleven, Can I just say that it’s amazing for you all to come out for an interview. Here I thought I was gonna get the chance to talk to 3 or 4 of you. But you are missing one, where is “Ranger Doug” Green?
Vince Gill: He’s on a cattle drive. He’s pushing cattle around in Wyoming….Neh, I don’t know where the hell he is, I’m just messing with ya…haha
Kenny Sears: As you might know, Doug has been with this other group, The Riders In The Sky, for over thirty years. When our dates overlap like this we can easily do a show without Doug and they can not so he then goes and works with “The Riders” and that’s where he is now.
Vince, the last time you were here in Europe you had your daughter with you. Are any of you and Amy’s kids at all interested in the music business?
Vince Gill: Very much so, all the kids. Between Amy and I we have five kids and all of them are musical, love music and express it in different ways. Corrina dances, sings and pays the piano. Jenny and I made a record together, that I produced for her, and we’re trying to find someone that believes in her project.
When you go back 15 years, has anything changed for you out here?
Vince Gill: No, I wish I could remember better. I just remember I had a great time. After doing this for almost 40 years. That’s a remarkable thing about this band. If you added up the histories that we’ve had, all eleven of us, everybody’s had close to 40 years of experience in this business. That’s why we don’t have issues with egos, it’s why we are able to do what we do because we’re all basically in the latter stages of our careers. We’ve all played for other people and been on everybody’s records. So there’s no surprises out here for us. We have a ball.
What can we expect from The Time Jumpers in the future?
Vince Gill: With our current record we didn’t have a plan for it. We just made a record and found out that people wanted it very badly. They understood what this band was about, the musicianship. We have every intention of making another record with this band. We didn’t think things would happen like this. We thought, if we’re just gonna play Monday nights, for the rest of however long this band stays together, that’d be oke. Nobody would frown at that. But if we get the opportunities like we’ve been given to come over to Europe and share something this authentic, this great, this honest, then we will.
In a world where we’re competing with mainstream country music we found that there’s an audience that is craving, desiring and loving this kind of music. That’s what we’re attempting to do, to fill in that void.
Have a look at two Grand Ole Opry performances by The Time Jumpers below
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