Recasting country and bluegrass standards in a Celtic light isn't that much of a stretch, but hooking up Irish legends the Chieftains with a diverse range of Nashville-based artists is a savvy move an

Recasting country and bluegrass standards in a Celtic light isn't that much of a stretch, but hooking up Irish legends the Chieftains with a diverse range of Nashville-based artists is a savvy move and results in an exuberant, enjoyable album. The title cut—with John Hiatt, Bela Fleck, Jeff White, and Tim O'Brien—is a joyful, foot-stomping ride. "Country Blues" and "Whole Heap of Little Horses," with Buddy & Julie Miller and Patty Griffin, respectively, are ominous and mournful. Bluegrass standard "Sally Goodin," with Earl Scruggs, soars high, with banjo and fiddle melding seamlessly with flutes and Irish instrumentation, while soulful bagpipes behind Alison Krauss' ethereal vocal power the dirge-like "Molly Ban." Lyle Lovett seems right at home amid the Celtic musicality on the rambling "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," and the slow-rollin' "Rain and Snow" is a meeting of the titans in the Chieftains and Del McCoury Band. Hearing an Irish brogue cop to hillbilly lyrics on songs like "Tennessee Stud" is a hoot, but this project is more than a curiosity: It is inspired.—RW

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