John Batdorf / James Stanley

All Wood and Stones II

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After eight years -- and, for Stanley, a 2011 detour to play Doors songs with Cliff Eberhardt -- John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley reunite to once again reinterpret the Rolling Stones catalog on All Wood and Stones II. Like their 2005 effort, this 2013 album doesn't find the singer/songwriters taking an easy route and simply strumming along with songs we all know by heart, but rather they strip out Keith Richards riffs, add sweet harmonies, and substitute swing for straight-ahead folk. Even "Wild Horses" is not immune from this rampaging revision, as Batdorf and Stanley figure out a way to get the Gram Parsons out of there. It is the Rolling Stones as if they were a folk-rock act called Jagger/Richards, not a rock & roll band, and while that will surely dismay anyone who pledges allegiance to three chords and Charlie Watts, this is nevertheless an inventive little record that does one thing covers albums rarely do: it surprises.

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