Album Review

Various Artists - Stoned Cold Country

Stoned Cold Country does The Rolling Stones justice, delivering back-to-back country-fied bangers full of fire, fun and feeling.

Album - Various Artists - Stoned Cold Country
March 14, 2023 4:40 pm GMT
Last Edited March 18, 2023 12:29 pm GMT

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Various Artists - Stoned Cold Country

Label: Broken Bow Records

Release Date: March 17, 2023

Producer: Robert Deaton

Tracklisting:

1. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Ashley McBryde
2. Honky Tonk Women – Brooks & Dunn
3. Dead Flowers – Maren Morris
4. It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It) – Brothers Osborne & The War And Treaty
5. Miss You – Jimmie Allen
6. Tumbling Dice – Elle King
7. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking – Marcus King
8. Wild Horses – Little Big Town
9. Paint It Black – Zac Brown Band
10. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Lainey Wilson
11. Sympathy for the Devil – Elvie Shane
12. Angie – Steve Earle
13. Gimme Shelter – Eric Church
14. Shine A Light – Koe Wetzel

Tribute albums are fairly common in country music. It seems almost like tradition for artists to tip their hats to the legends that came before. What is unique about the genre’s latest tribute collection, Stoned Cold Country, is who they’re honoring.

Rock icons The Rolling Stones have undoubtedly left their mark on music, and the country genre is no exception. Swapping testimony of the band’s influence, country mainstays and sensations du jour have banded together to countrify some of their biggest hits. As a result, Stoned Cold Country is a 14-track love letter to the rockers as they ring in their sixth decade together.

The collection opens with Ashley McBryde’s hard-driving take on ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. Her twanged-up rendition gets most of its power from her defiant vocals. As she sneers the resolute lyrics, the song begins to twist, taking the shape of a song all her own.

Many more songs on the tribute also pack a punch. Brothers Osborne and The War and Treaty deliver a burning version of ‘It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)’. The tune starts out with warm vocals that soon ignite into a smoldering earworm. Jimmie Allen’s blues-tinted ‘Miss You’ is also all heat as the intense harmonica opener sets everything ablaze.

Several renditions of the Stones’ classics just make sense, like Brooks & Dunn’s ‘Honky Tonk Women’. If the duo knows two things, it’s honkin’ and tonkin’, so the song, while not necessarily a standout among the bunch, seemed a natural fit. Elle King ’s take on ‘Tumbling Dice’ was also perfect for the country newcomer who injected a lot of her rock origins into the attitude-fueled tune. Lainey Wilson was another well-suited artist for ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’. She ditches the children’s choir and the subtle symphonics of the original for a three-chords-and-the-truth take on the hit, a stripped-back version that echoes with the songwriter’s sincerity.

Where some tracks rock, others roll to the wayside. While Steve Earle’s strained vocals on ‘Angie’ are the perfect match for the pained ballad, his rendition gets lost in the bunch. The same goes for Eric Church’s take on a powerhouse classic like ‘Gimme Shelter’. The star tries out his Jagger-isms for a spell, but they fall short against the raucous arrangement. Little Big Town’s distantly wailing ‘Wild Horses’ wouldn’t stand out either if their glorious four-part harmonies hadn’t come through in the chorus.

Not one song on the album really strays away from the original. The artists certainly turn up the dial, but by no means do they toss out the blueprint. Overall, Stoned Cold Country does The Rolling Stones justice, delivering back-to-back country-fied bangers full of fire, fun and feeling. The tribute album is a well-rounded re-imagining of some of the rock icons’ greatest songs.

9/10
Stoned Cold Country is out now via BBR.

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Written by Alli Patton
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