“I’ve been a member for two years now,” the country singer and razor-sharp guitarist says. “The whole band started playing years ago just to go have fun on a Monday night at a little club in [Nashville] and play some music that everybody loved. We’re trying to help further the cause of that great Western swing music that we feel Asleep at the Wheel has single-handedly kept alive for the last 35 years.
“We finally decided, let’s make a record just for fun.”
The Time Jumpers certainly deliver. The new, self-titled collection immediately spotlights the deep connection with Texas and Ray Benson’s legendary Austin-based swing group. At heart, three consecutive songs — “Ridin’ on the Rio,” “New Star Over Texas” and “Texas on a Saturday Night” — directly reference the Lone Star state.
“It’s a really neat band,” says Gill, who was honored with an ACM career achievement award this year. “It’s an 11-piece, and five or six different people sing. It’s a blast with triple fiddles and an accordion and upright bass and arch-top rhythm guitar and twin electric guitars and steel. It’s much fun.”
Cue the duet “Texas on a Saturday Night” for evidence. The word “Jump” clearly belongs in the band’s name as guitars and fiddles boost the album’s high point, a tune perfectly fit for the Gruene Hall on a fall evening.
In fact, the band might well visit venues like Central Texas’ legendary dancehall someday soon.
“We’ll go on the road to some degree,” Gill says. “We’re not gonna go out and slug out 100 dates on the road because everybody’s pretty long in the tooth for any of that, but we’ll do some festivals. Plus, I got a message from Ray Benson not long ago that he wants to do a Western swing festival maybe down in Texas somewhere. That’d be fun.”