Certain Songs #789: Jimmie Dale Gilmore – “Santa Fe Thief”

Album: Spinning Around The Sun
Year: 1993

Jimmie Dale Gilmore is part of an unfortunately large cohort of country (or country-associated) singer-songwriters whose work has either completely missed my radar or only touched it occasionally. It’s a big world, and I’m just one bad hombre.

And while Gilmore has been at it since 1972, when he was part of a legendary-in-some-circles band called The Flatlanders, the only albums of his I think ever heard were the ones he recorded for Elektra, After Awhile, Spinning Around The Sun and Braver Newer World, and the only that ever stuck was Spinning Around The Sun.

Most of the songs on Spinning Around the Sun are low-key: acoustic guitars, quiet drums and fiddle for coloration, with Gilmore’s utterly unique quiver on top. They’re also incredibly gorgeous, with choruses that feel at once ancient and fresh.

No more so than the long, aching chorus to “Santa Fe Thief”

He’s a thief in the night
And he’s stealing for life you won’t know it
He’s already found you
His arms all around, you won’t show it
Maybe one day you’ll know more of
You’ll know enough to say
Look over yonder, he’s already coming
Look over yonder, he’s already coming
Look over yonder, he’s already coming your way

By the time he gets to the third “Look over yonder,” I’ve completely melted and surrendered to the absolute loveliness of the melody.

“Santa Fe Thief”

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