Here at EF Country we know that country music has always rocked, and the Stoned Cold Country album, celebrating the 60th anniversary of The Rolling Stones, features 14 sonically glorious reimagined tributes to the British rock and roll legends.
Iconic anthems nestle alongside slightly lesser known Stones’ tracks on this energetic offering from some of country’s favourite rock stars, including Ashley McBryde, Brothers Osborne, Zac Brown Band, Lainey Wilson and Eric Church.
The Rolling Stones began their career in the early ‘60s as R&B artists, covering songs from Muddy Waters, Slim Harpo, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye and Solomon Burke on their first few albums, alongside their co-write – either as Jagger/Richards or their band’s pseudonym of Nanker Phelge. It’s fitting that we have a homage album to the inspirational Stones’, produced by acclaimed Nashville-based Robert Deaton who spent several years bringing together this stunning album, rightly calling it “A love letter to The Rolling Stones from Nashville”.
McBryde leads the parade, kicking off with her hugely entertaining and heartfelt performance of ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. Ironically, you’ll be proper satisfied listening to these four minutes of musical bliss.
Maren Morris delivers a stunning rendition of the ballad ‘Dead Flowers’, from The Stones’ 1971 ‘Sticky Fingers’ country-rock album (the first to feature the iconic tongue and lips logo, as well as artwork by Andy Warhol). Morris’ earnest, blues-laden voice effortlessly pours across the song, subtly reminding us that she knows how to use her voice. A steel guitar and drum help us drift away as if we’re listening to a piece of history.
The outstanding musical moment on Stoned Cold Country? Definitely the collaboration between Brothers Osborne and The War and Treaty on ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)’. Was there ever a guitarist ready to rock a Stone’s classic like John Osborne? I can’t wait to see TheWar and Treaty in August for The Long Road Festival; imagine if a couple of Maryland brothers trod the same stage.
Zac Brown Band’s rendition of “Paint it Black”, which went down a storm at C2C performances festival last weekend, also sounds absolutely phenomenal, largely thanks to the legendary opening guitar riff being performed on a solo fiddle for thirty-six seconds, before that body-wrenching kick-drum takes over a western movie-esque landscape of sound.
Jimmie Allen’s laidback, Latino-funk celebration of the 1978 disco track ‘Miss You’ is so smooth and fluid I’m going to have another listen of Jimmie’s music when I’m done with this review.
Lainey Wilson’s stripped back intro to ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, just a steel guitar and her succulent vocals is likely the most identifiably country reawakening of a Stones’ classic, and it absolutely works.
‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ receives the most faithful Stones’ sound, thanks to Marcus King’s vocals and the ‘70s sound guitar arrangement. Five minutes of sheer musical joy that will have you delving further into the Stones’ back catalogue.
The piano and a gospel choir help to close out Stoned Cold Country, with Koe Wetzel’s interpretation of ‘Shine a Light’, the punk-country Texan’s vocals breathtaking throughout this enlightened, resonating wall of sound.
When you’ve caught your breath, after listening to Stoned Cold Country in full, I would urge you to listen (again) to each of the original 14 songs performed by The Rolling Stones, just to appreciate the sheer musical clout that spans six decades.
Thank you from the bottom of my music-loving heart to everyone involved in the making of this album. Stoned Cold Country will draw a new audience to The Rolling Stones. Out on CD and Vinyl from BMG, on 17th March.
I’ve also included a Spotify playlist of the original songs in the same order as ‘Stoned Cold Country’ if you want to dig the originals as well.
Tracklist: 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 Record Label: BBR / BMG Release Date: 17th March Buy ‘Stoned Cold Country’ now