Various Artists

Poor Little Knitter on the Road: A Tribute to the Knitters

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When X's John Doe and Exene Cervenka stepped out as the Knitters to explore their interest in country music, their efforts indirectly spawned the No Depression movement -- essentially, the group's lone album, 1985's Poor Little Critter on the Road, signified punk's return to its musical roots a half-decade before bands like Uncle Tupelo and the Jayhawks made such a move a genre unto itself. Poor Little Knitter on the Road celebrates the original album in style, assembling a dozen contemporary alt-country bands to re-create the record in its original running order; there's even a previously unreleased Knitters leftover, "Why Don't We Try Anymore," tacked on at the end for good measure. Without a vast catalog of songs to draw from, the disc is far more consistent and focused than the standard tribute record, highlighted by pairings like Kelly Hogan and the Rock*A*Teens' scorching collaboration on "Someone Like You" and the Sadies' take on "Walkin' Cane," featuring Freakwater's Catherine Irwin; the Old 97s' "Cryin' But My Tears Are Far Away" even sports vocals from John Doe himself, guaranteeing -- in true country music tradition -- that the circle remains unbroken.

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