It's been a great year for country music and this new release from Jamey Johnson only adds to that greatness. Johnson's becoming something of maverick in the country music world, not unlike some of the friends who join him on this release were in the 70s.
As the title suggests, this is a tribute to songwriter Hank Cochran, possibly a name you won't know if you're not a huge country fan, but a quick look at the titles will probably have you nodding your head as you recognise cross-over hits such as "Make The World Go Away" and "I Fall To Pieces". Those more familiar with the world of country will also instantly recognise "Don't You Were Get Tired of Hurting Me", "A-11", and lots of the others.
The finished results with the various guests vary in quality - "Make the World" with Alison Krauss is excellent, as is "Fall To Pieces" with Merle, and "Don't You Ever Get Tired" with Willie Nelson (who is joined by harmonica buddy Mickey Raphael). The addition of some of the guests adds nothing to my ears and I think I'd rather have heard "A-11", "The Eagle", and "She'll Be Back" without Ronnie Dunn, George Strait, or Elvis Costello, more like the solo version of "Would These Arms Be In Your Way".
The highlight of the whole album for me is "You Wouldn't Know Love" with Ray Price. Excellent stuff!
The instrumentation throughout is first class, with special mention needing to be made of Tommy White's steel guitar, which is liberally drizzled all over the album to great effect.
It's a fairly laidback collection that isn't going to have you dancing round the kitchen much but I recommend it highly!
Jamey Johnson is one of the best country singers around. He writes and he sings and he is fairly unique. On this album he pays tribute to one of the great country songwriters of all time. Many of the songs will be recognisable and pretty well known by even those that might not have much of an interest in country music. Johnson is very respectful in his tribute and deserves great credit for that. He shares the singing with shots of stars of today and yesteryear......Alison Krauss, Ray Price, Merle Haggard etc. The highlights include A 11, Make the World Go Away but no weak songs on this album. The weakest track is perhaps the duet with Elvis Costello in which Johnson simply outclasses Costello. Great vocals but perhaps the songs are the stars. I would have preferred an album of new material from Jamey Johnson as I already have great performances of nearly all these songs. However, this is a very good listen and it should appeal to anyone who simply loves great country music superbly performed. As tribute albums go, it is hard to beat. It is vintage country belonging to a bygone age. A good listen but new material next time please. Jamey Johnson is well capable of writing great songs himself. Recommended for those who like thier country from the 60s or those who simply want to hear classic country music. It's as 60s country as it gets with up to date recording quality.
Didnt care much about the 1st six songs (except 'make the world go away' - everyone's favourite) but then Bobby Bare and Kris and Lee Ann came on the scene and the last half of the album was excellent. 'This ain't my first rodeo is the stand-out track on the album but 'fall to pieces' is far too dragged out and deliberate. Another great cd from 'the man' Jamey - good on ya brother.
In some ways I would have liked to hear Jamey Johnson perform all the songs on his own, as some of the other better known country singers are past their best now in vocal performance. Nevertheless, it is a good well produced album, and is a good showcase for Jamey Johnson's excellent vocal talent.