Much like the 1993's"Common Thread: The Songs Of The Eagles", "Nashville Outlaws" is a tribute album. This time, the unlikely target is heavy metal. The honoree, MÖTLEY CRÜE is arguably its most famous band. "I thought the idea for the tribute album was cool until I started talking to everybody," Vince Neil told Billboard.com. "Then I thought it was cooler and cooler and cooler!"Big Machine label group president and CEO, Scott Borchetta is among the legion of devoted CRÜE fans. The joining of forces with Motley Records and Eleven Seven Music was a tall order and results in an uneven 15-song collection. The more successful numbers date back to the early Eighties and are performed by acts that are as borderline rock crossover already. Brantley Gilbert showed that he could seamlessly step in for Neil with a convincing version of the band's signature and this collection's clear highlight, "Girls, Girls, Girls." A close second is the Mavericks' Latin laced "Dr. Feelgood. Save for Gretchen Wilson's scorching "Wild Side," most of the female fronted numbers are tepid versions of the originals. Leann Rimes' watery "Smokin' In The Boys Room" is more suited to the "Coyote Ugly" soundtrack and out of place here. Cassadee Pope fares a bit better on the more aggressive "The Animal In Me" but the "Without You" duet from Nashville TV stars Claire Bowen and Sam Palladio feels gratuitous.
FGL's "If I Die Tomorrow" is representative of the whole effort. It is raw and gritty but like the entire collection, lacks authenticity. The album has the washed out texture of a covers compilation. The artists seem like they are trying too hard to create a sound and energy from two genres that mix like oil and water. Nonetheless, it sold 31,000 copies its first week and landed at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.