Various Artists

Wonders of Wildlife

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Enlisting the efforts of several of his peers, country star Tracy Byrd created this album to benefit the preservation and restoration of wilderness areas and wildlife habitats. The problem is that the collection offers up both moody reflections on how the country has changed and raucous cuts about getting drunk, making the package less cohesive than it might have been. All the songs are strong whether they have a message or not, but it seems odd to have so many party-boy cuts alongside the stirring, almost patriotic tunes. It's also odd and quite unfortunate that there are no women on the album. Country music has some of the best contemporary female vocalists around, and there could have been some welcome additions to this collection. Suzy Bogguss's "Souvenirs" and Mary-Chapin Carpenter's "I Am a Town" would have fit in seamlessly and helped balance some of the testosterone. Regardless, there are some heavy hitters contributing to the cause, from Alabama on "Born Country" and Waylon Jennings on "America" to Kenny Chesney on "Back Where I Come From" and Aaron Tippin on "You've Got to Stand for Something." Major stars offer good material, so even though the collection is uneven, it is solid.

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