Hayseed Dixie

A Hot Piece of Grass

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Hayseed Dixie know how to have a good time, even when they attempt to bring you some of the heaviest and most renowned hard rock and metal tunes of all time with a huge dose of Appalachian mountain arrangements. The album opens with the bizarre but effective cover of Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog," with the electric guitar of Jimmy Page usurped by some nifty banjo, guitar, and mandolin playing. The kitsch factor is quite obvious with this album, but Hayseed Dixie manage to adopt these songs as their own. And while they often stay true to the original arrangements, their cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" has that definitive toe-tapping bluegrass vibe running through it despite the dramatic flourishes at times. Deacon Dale Reno's meticulous manic mandolin-playing shines during the bridge. Meanwhile, "Holiday" by Green Day is a swinging, Celtic-tinged ditty with rootsy elements. A rowdy, no-nonsense hoedown occurs with the frantic "Ace of Spades," which has nearly as much energy as the version by Motörhead. A couple of efforts are quite cheesy, though, particularly "Whole Lotta Love," which ambles along as Barley Scotch even dishes out some wailing à la Robert Plant. "I'm going to give you every inch of my love, every centimeter in the U.K.," Scotch sings. Hayseed Dixie manage to make the most of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie," which has a definite boogie feel. The second half of the album tosses the covers aside for original material, starting with a gorgeous but hellacious-paced "Blind Beggar Breakdown" that could give you carpal tunnel syndrome just listening to it. Generally though, none of the remaining songs are outstanding, with "Mountain Man" a run-of-the-mill slice of bluegrass and country. When they opt for a lighter approach as in "Marijuana," it sounds like the song was crossed with the instrumental "Tequila," and it falls flat. The only memorable effort is "Corn Liquor," which has them resembling a well-oiled hoedown machine -- that and the almost obligatory "Dueling Banjos."

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