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on 24 November 2013
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.
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on 11 December 2015
I’m partial to the 50’s twang of Bakersfield honky-tonk. Merle Haggard and Buck Owens created that working-class country sound in the bars of Bakersfield, California the town that gave the sound a name.

I was listening to the sweet sound of Vince Gill’s tenor singing “Go Rest High On That Mountain” when I came across his CD Bakersfield. It’s the sweetest honk- tonk album since Dwight Yoakam mined the vein in the late 80s and early 90’s.

In 10 songs, Vince Gill and Paul Franklin pay tribute to those great Bakersfield songs, sounds and artists. 5 songs from Buck Owens and 5 from Merle Haggard in a walk down memory lane that plays honest with the past without being note-for-note.

In an interview with, Gill said the album came out of their regular Monday night gig at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley which is probably why the album sounds so well oiled.

“We were sitting there together every Monday night, playing all of the great songs that we love to play,” Gill explained to, “and every now and then I get my belly full of swing music and I’d say, Hey, let’s play ‘Together Again’ or let’s play ‘Holding Things Together,’ both Buck Owens and Merle Haggard songs, and the crowd would go crazy. I told Paul, ‘There’s something here. Maybe we can find a way to do something to honor those guys.’”

Dwight Yoakam was the bad-boy honky-tonk artist back in the 90’s. Vince Gill’s voice is so pure he nails the sadness in each song. Besides Vince Gill is so danged self effacing it’s impossible not to like him where he sings or plays.

Paul Franklin is one a top-ranking pedal steel guitar player who has won numerous AMA awards and played on over 500 albums.

I just love this CD. It feels like Saturday night and we’re down at the bar, dancing to those great songs. Are you lonesome? Did you girl or guy leave you for someone new well these songs are for feeling that pain while having a good time. No wonder people like country music.

The rhythm section of Greg Morrow on drums, Willie Weeks and Brad Albin on bass hold things together. Vince Gill plays lead and rhythm guitar backed by JT Corenflos on rhythm guitar, John Hobbs on piano. The Time Jumpers – Kenny Sears, Larry Franklin, Joe Spivey, fiddles – fill out the sound.

The Bakersfield sound is Telecaster guitars, steel guitars played off against fiddles in a country dance beat. It owes just as much to rock and roll as it does to country with those guitar lead licks.

The style lay dormant through most of the 70s’ and 80’s until Dwight Yoakam made a hit of his duet with Buck Owens on “The Streets of Bakersfield.”

Merle Haggard was one of the pioneers of the Bakersfield sound. His early hits were due in part to the singing of Bonnie Owens, Buck Owen’s former wife.

And if you get a hankering for a bit of the old songs, try the 2-CD set from Rhino The Very Best Of Buck Owens, Vol.1 and The Very Best Of Buck Owens, Vol.2.
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Vince Gill has been endowed with far more than his fair share of talent ! Not only does he sing beautifully and unfailingly place himself in fabulous settings but he is one of the most exquisite guitar players in his genre . His solos are little compositions that literally make you smile as you listen to them .... and he is a good looking chap .
I hate him !
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on 17 April 2014
This 10 track tribute to the `Bakersfield Sound` by Vince Gill and Pedal Steel Guitarist extraordinaire Paul Franklin can easily be counted as one of the finest country albums for a very long time.

The vocals are a almost an echo from the past. Nothing fancy or`modern`, just straightforward interpretations as they should be. The accompaniment is superb, not only the work from Paul Franklin, but the other musicians as well. The most familiar songs for me are "Foolin` Around", "Branded Man", "Together Again", "The Bottle Let Me Down" and "The Fightin` Side Of Me".

I have one minor criticism and that is Vince Gill`s vocal on "The Fightin` Side Of Me" is lacking in the oomph factor and I did not feel he really meant want he was singing, unlike the original version by Merle Haggard. The only other `fault` is that the CD is far too short. Maybe another one is in the offing?
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on 5 August 2013
Just when you think there is nothing contempory worth buying,Vince brings out an album which marks the zenith of a wonderful career.Five songs associated with Buck,and five from Merle.Superlative musicianship led by the steel guitar of maestro Paul Franklin.Reviving music that is almost fifty years old doesn't always work,but these versions, while sticking pretty close to the originals manage to sound completely fresh,and modern.This is country music heaven.There will not be a better country album released this year.This will be on my c.d. player for months to come.Don't miss out on this one.
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on 28 September 2013
I've never bought a Vince Gill album before but saw a good review and had a preview listen. With pedal steel guitar man Paul Franklin getting equal billing this is a straight rendering of a batch of old country songs. Vince is in fine voice and Paul's steel guitar brings out the country flavour. The recording quality is excellent and it's impossible to tell whether it was knocked off in one take or took ages to record.

One can imagine going into a western bar and hearing this great singer and band in the corner. It doesn't take any listening effort. There are no tricks or recording gimmicks. This is just a bunch of musicians having a great time and the end result is surprisingly uplifting. Well worth a listen.
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on 1 August 2013
Thanks goodness there's people like Vince Gill and Alan Jackson around in this "Pop country" drivel times!!! Vince is the all round class act. Great singer,songwriter and Fab guitarist!!! Not many of the "new crap" can come close to this guy, and this new album is absolutely great. Although cover versions, it's the "Goods" Warning if you can't listen to class give it a miss.I'ts your loss.
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on 6 September 2013
These aren't just 'cover copies', they are brilliant interpretations of the Bakersfield sound. Vince and Paul complement one another perfectly on this album. It's clear that Buck and Hagg have had a colossal influence on them, even thought their sound is so different. (And if you're ever in Nashville on a Monday night, be sure to get down to 3rd and Lindsley, and hear Paul and Vince at their laid-back best with all the rest of the Timejumpers - (PS, Get well soon, Dawn)
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on 10 February 2014
Vince won't break the UK market with this length of playing time!
The country music industry wants to get its act together!
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on 9 September 2013
I had high expectations because it was Vince Gill and Paul Franklin and was not disappointed.
I love Merle Haggard he's my number one and also Buck's songs and important era of country music. these recordings
are a joy to listen to and remind me why I love country so much. These are simple arrangements which still showcase Vince and Paul's ability but let the song tell it's story. I just love it and am so pleased I bought it.
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