Here's a country-baked reformulation of the Texas blues-based power trio, and like most tribute albums, this one is highly uneven.

Here's a country-baked reformulation of the Texas blues-based power trio, and like most tribute albums, this one is highly uneven. Some artist/ song fits are categorically bad: Lonestar is far too white-bread to sop up the grease of ZZ's "Gimme All Your Lovin' "; Brad Paisley, while showcasing a mean guitar, still sounds like Hayseed Dixie on "Sharp Dressed Man"; Andy Griggs can't summon the desperation necessary for "I Need You Tonight"; Kenny Chesney is overmatched on a nevertheless interesting "Tush"; Trace Adkins drowns in production on "Legs"; and Tracy Byrd's a tad smooth for the raunch of "La Grange." Some matches, however, are killer, none more than Hank Williams Jr.'s eight-minute powerhouse "Jesus Just Left Chicago/Waitin' for the Bus," on which he is completely righteous. Montgomery Gentry have all the edge needed for "Just Got Paid," and Hank III shuffles and wails inventively on "Fearless Boogie." Dwight Yoakam brings Bakersfield soul to "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide," and the Warren Brothers nail "Cheap Sunglasses." Production and musicianship are excellent, all big guitars and bombast. But, in total, this tribute sends us running for the originals.—RW

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