Various Artists

Southern Rock: Country Style

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The concept behind Southern Rock Country Style is simple enough: take classic Southern rock songs, mainly from the '70s, and get a bunch of modern country singers to sing them. So simple, in fact, that it's been done before, most notably on the 1994 compilation Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles, which was conceived by Ralph Sall, who also is behind Southern Rock Country Style. Sall makes the smart move of using a house band to give the album a unified feel (two tracks -- Trace Adkins' "I Know a Little" and Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Tuesday's Gone" -- are previously released, while Dusty Drake uses a different band for "Hold On Loosely"). This helps the album through a couple of rough patches, when either the singer and the song aren't well matched, or when the arrangement isn't quite right (as on Jimmy Wayne's unsteady "Midnight Rider"). However, there aren't many rough spots here. There's not much that's surprising either -- for instance, Charlie Daniels' "Sweet Home Alabama" pretty much replicates the original Lynyrd Skynyrd arrangement -- but that's not bad, since these are good songs, professionally, often engagingly, performed. Plus, there are a couple of real gems scattered through the record, including Tracy Byrd's take on the Ozark Mountain Daredevils' "If You Wanna Get to Heaven," Mark Chesnutt's version of the Marshall Tucker Band's "Heard It in a Love Song," and Brian McComas' nice version of the Pure Prairie League's "Amie." Maybe Southern Rock Country Style isn't a major album, but it is a good time, and that's what counts.

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