What’s better than this sextet performing bluegrass? The same six players jamming on country classics.
Terry Eldredge, Jamie Johnson, and Terry Smith put their passionate vocals into overdrive for this 13-song collection, and for this project, they invited along eight of their talented friends, including Brad Paisley (“Tiger By The Tail”), Dierks Bentley (“Folsom Prison Blues”), Dolly Parton (“I Am Strong”), Tom T. Hall (“The Year That Clayton Delaney Died”), Charlie Daniels (“The Devil Went Down to Georgia”), Joe Nichols (“Mr. Bojangles”), Darryl Worley (“White Lightning”), and the Oak Ridge Boys (“Leavin’ Louisiana In Broad Daylight” [sic]).
Sharp instrumental skills are prominent again with mandolin whiz Danny Roberts, fiddler Jeremy Abshire and Kristin Scott Benson on banjo. The band tackles a medley of Hank Williams, Jr., hits (“All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight “ and “Born To Boogie”), and created the instrumental “Cracker Barrel Swing,” as well.
An extra treat is the bonus track, “I Am Strong,” featuring several guest artists already mentioned along with Terri Clark, Randy Owen, and actor/singer Steven Seagal. Band member Johnson and his wife, Susanne Mumpower-Johnson along with Jenne Fleenor wrote the empowering song about the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A portion of album sales will go to the hospital. This is a beautiful record that underscores the close relationship between country and bluegrass music. (Cracker Barrel, P.O. Box 787, Lebanon, TN 37088, www.crackerbarrel.com.) BC