When country-rock pioneers of the late ’60s and early ’70s emerged, whether it was the Byrds, Burritos, Poco, Michael Nesmith, and others. – The Rolling Stones tend to be left out of the conversation. Maybe that’s okay: It’s not like there aren’t any other reasons to bring them their (dead) flowers. Still, they were experimenting with hybrid genre elements as early as 1968’s “Beggars’ Feast” LP. For the most part, these hidden elements remained kind of hidden: although Keith Richards, a fan of Merle Haggard and a close friend of Gram Parsons, took it very seriously, Mick Jagger said, “I don’t know if I can do it without it. It’s kind of a joke.” But if the band eventually came only this close to country, country certainly came close to them over the years.Imagine how much the loud and boisterous Southern rock movement took cues from the Stones before they began to hybridize with country at the end of the century.
A new album produced by Robert Deaton, longtime executive producer of the CMA Awards, combines mainstream country stars with Stones classics with mostly satisfying results. Rather than transforming the Jagger-Richards catalog into pure country sound, “Stoned Cold Country: A 60th Anniversary Tribute to the Rolling Stones” gathers and sculpts some genre practitioners with a strong rock ‘n’ roll bent. Pretty close to the Stones originals… with more steel guitars. Now, “…with more steel guitar” might sound like a bullshit, condescending phrase, but when it comes to players like Paul Franklin or Dan Dugmore coming up for long solos – what they do in Steve Earle’s “Angie” or Elle King’s “also like. Tumbling Dice in turn” – suddenly it was that steel who could feel like a real star for a minute, not the Stones or the Tennessee suitors.
Not everything in the 14 pieces in the collection pays off. Sometimes the brought-in stars Glimmer Twins sound like they’re about to disappear into the dictionary, but sometimes they look a bit like Stones stopped by for karaoke—which in itself isn’t a terrible thing, so even the least of these tracks still carry some sort of kick. All-star players (including veteran bassist Michael Rhodes, who sadly died earlier this month) can recreate the work of Richards, Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor almost from scratch. Lick Sometimes, the most promising combinations of a great artist and a great song result in something that is literally enough. Earle seems like the perfect choice for “Angie,” but the suffering isn’t there. (Maybe not with Mick either, but he did a great job pretending.) Ashley McBryde has everything it takes to start “Satisfaction”, but the treatment feels brutally slippery.
Elle King has a much more distinctive voice, but that’s not what “Tumbling Dice” should begin with. Maren Morris seems like a good match for “Dead Flowers” in theory – and she’s one of the best country stars we’ve ever had, God bless her – but she just can’t turn herself into a convincing heroin monster. (Many of them owe it to his credit, of course.)
However, the highlights are plenty, especially when you get singers with a strong Southern soul leaning towards their voices, filling in some of the melodic licks that Jagger is always going through. That’s when Brothers Osborne teamed up with Black Americana duo War and Treaty on “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll,” or Jimmie Allen’s “Miss You” mercenary disco into something only a few degrees closer to current R&B. by conversion. Brooks & Dunn is an inspiring choice for “Honky Tonk Women,” a song that is a direct descendant of something like their own “Play Something Country.”
The vocal quartet Little Big Town makes the hidden land of “Wild Horses” beautifully obvious without a little help from lap dawg Franklin. Eric Church finds a completely different internal rhythm for “Gimme Shelter”, a kind of gas. (Her permanent backup singer on stage, Joanna Cotten, had probably been waiting years for her to record the Merry Clayton episode so she could cry.) And as wrong as it sounds on paper, there’s something delicious about Lainey Wilson’s sweet, overpowering song. The Louisiana accent combines with the narcotic surrealism of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” He knew he was going to meet the country-rock connection and he did!
A television-turned-record producer, Deaton, like many of the award shows he has produced, is meticulous in making these pieces feel like they belong in the Stones cinematic universe. So, Stones fans who just want to hear new versions of these songs but don’t have to be big nationwide won’t quite feel like things are too high-sounding for them here, by no means, even if it’s just a handful of tracks. bring steel into the spotlight. Still, a small opportunity may have been missed here to take some of the Stones’ more rocking songs and bring them into the traditional country realm. Remember how Alan Jackson once sang “Shake the jukebox / I want to hear some Jones / ‘Cause my heart isn’t ready / For the Rolling Stones”? It would be great to hear a Jackson or George Strait take a Jagger-and-Richards classic and turn it into something George Jones would truly recognize as provincial. But that would have been someone else’s album to do.
Anyway, as outstanding as some of the tracks here are, the best is by a non-provincial artist, rising blues rocker Marcus King, who rips up “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” with his band. a lead guitar that sounds like it could cut steel wheels. You walk out of “Stone Cold Country” wanting to hear King release an entire Stones cover album – and you walk out knowing that Mick and Keith are a great “blues cover band” just like they used to be, before and after they got into some kind of slum. rival Paul McCartney said.