In complete contrast to the majority of contemporary so called "country" recordings, this is a grand slice of retro country - a tribute to Nashville's one-time West Coast rival, Bakersfield, by two of the music's finest, Vince Gill and Paul Franklin. With Gill blending fine vocals with dazzling guitar work and Franklin showing that he's among the best steel guitarists in the business, the ten track programme mixes familiar (including "Branded Man", "Together Again") with lesser known material ("He Don't Deserve You Anymore", "Nobody's Fool But Yours") from Bakersfield icons, Buck and Merle. Although keeping fairly close to the originals, the arrangements make these oldies sound completely fresh, with plenty of opportunities for instrumental breaks aided by an equally superlative line-up of musicians - and hardly bettered than "Holding Things Together", where the vocal is followed with a 2 minute instrumental turnaround. And, as a bonus, Dawn Sears - frequently seen with Gill as members of the much acclaimed Time Jumpers - adds harmony vocals to several of the tracks.
Completely agreeing with other reviewers, "Bakersfield" rates among the finest albums of the year and is essential listening for all devotees of real country music.