Hayseed Dixie

A Hillbilly Tribute to Mountain Love

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Hayseed Dixie takes classic rock down from the mountain and into the bluegrass fields that bloomed after the soundtrack from O Brother, Where Art Thou? became a left-field hit. While this can be considered a novelty, it's actually a remarkably accomplished album taken on its own terms. The drum-less quartet follows up its hillbilly reworking of the AC/DC catalog (hence the band name) with its interpretations of eight classic rock hits. At about half an hour, the whole thing whizzes by in a blur of banjo, fiddle, guitar, and standup bass, all pickin' and grinnin' through previously thumping rock staples. Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll," Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever," and -- in a perfect turnaround -- the already mocking metal of Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom" (which segues nicely from Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls") all get the Hee Haw treatment. The album's vague theme is that all these songs can be construed as being about "mountain love," yet the versions could just as easily have come from pure bluegrass albums. The concept works because the bandmembers never overdo the elbow-in-the-ribs mockery and their chops are obviously top-notch. Sure, it's a goof, but try playing some of these tracks for your bluegrass-loving friends and see if they guess they're covers. Two originals round out the album, but neither is particularly memorable and "I'm Keeping Your Poop" (what the singer is saving to remember his girlfriend who left him) is unnecessarily trashy, even considering the context.

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