Tuesday, July 29, 2014


CD: "Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue"
ARTISTS: Various
LABEL: Big Machine
REVIEWER: Jennifer Smith
Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @Lovinlyrics

As a die hard child of the 80's headbanging hair metal and to the bone country music fan, I will be the first one to admit that I rolled my eyes and let out a big heaving sigh of "Oh God, nuh uh" when I first heard that country and metal were gonna come together on a tribute CD to one of my favorite 80's bands on the planet, Motley Crue. I thought to myself "Ok, we don't have to cross every genre line do we? Can't we just leave some things alone?"  So, like many others, I just shook my head as I waited for the first mediocre single by Justin Moore, "Home Sweet Home", which is also my favorite Crue song, to be released. Release day came and I have to admit, I absolutely love his anything but mediocre rendition of it. I said to myself, "Self" (I knew it was me because I recognized my underwear), "maybe this won't be as bad as you think" to which my other self replied "Oh it's probably gonna suck." Turns out my other self was wrong. I'm not a fan of tribute albums, I think they're done far too often and just don't care for them but this one surprised me. It's not bad, for the most part, it's actually pretty decent. It's not outstanding, but there are a handful of tracks that I think are the standouts on the cd so those are the ones I'll mention.

Track 15.) "Time for Change" -  Darius Rucker 

If anyone knows about change, it's Darius Rucker. Coming from being known as the frontman for
Hootie and the Blowfish and taking on a whole new musical identity as one of country's most loved
artists, Darius changes this song up very well. I love what he's done with it, he puts emotion into
it and personally makes me want to stand up and make a change, whether it be to my surroundings, my outlook on every day life or to help someone else make a change. It is time for change and I think we all need a change. The song is upbeat with Darius' signature style, one that has you singing along before you even realize it. Love this song, loved it as Crue and love it as Darius, maybe even a little better as Darius.

Track 9: "Don't Go Away Mad" - Eli Young Band 

Eli Young Band was the perfect choice for this remake. They bring life to every song they sing and they gave a breath of new life into this one. I love the twang, the tempo and the attitude they bring. I don't know about you, but I am always thinking "Don't go away mad, just go away" at least twice a day, now I can sing it and get away with it.

Track 8: "Without You" - Sam Palladio / Clare Bowen 

I absolutely love what Sam and Clare did with this track. I never really cared for the original but they made me take another listen and it's amazing what a country turn and a few tweaks to tempo and emotion can do to a song. They slow it down, make it personal and make you feel that this is truly a conversation between 2 people expressing their love for each other. Honestly, it kinda reminds me of a cheesy 70's love song that you can't help but fall in love with. It's the Barry Manilow "Mandy" on this generation's playlist. Love it.

Track 6: "Afraid" - Aaron Lewis

I am huge fan of Aaron Lewis but admittedly wasn't sure what to expect when I saw him listed as an artist on this cd and having never heard "Afraid" as a Crue song, that made me even more anxious to see the outcome. I love the "Country Boy" feel of this one with the crying steel and the lonesome guitar. Aaron Lewis has a special way of making you listen to what he's singing and he does just that on this song. I really love the lyrical content - "It's only life, so afraid to kiss, so afraid to laugh, and she's runnin' from her past. It's only life, she's so afraid to love." I think a lot of people can identify with this song because we're all afraid of something. Well done. This is probably my favorite track on the whole cd. 

Track 4: "Home Sweet Home" - Justin Moore

This was the song that I really had my doubts about. I knew this was gonna be one of those songs when cut by someone else, was going to be one you either really love or really hate. I really love it. I love that they chose to keep Vince Neil as a part of the remake, his vocals are really a necessity to make it the hit it was meant to be. I think this song really gave Justin a chance to show his range, his vocal strength and to really unleash what we really haven't heard before. A hard one to really impress, I admit I am impressed. I have seen a lot of stations adding this one and I sure hope to see more follow suit. I think Justin blew it out on this one.

Is this gonna be a top selling cd? Probably not. Is it gonna be an addition to my playlist as a whole?
Nope. Am I going to purchase the tracks above? Yep. In my opinion, it's not a "must have", it's a "track by track, listen and see" cd.

There, now we've done the country + hair metal thing, we've done the country + rap thing, we've done the country + pop thing, can we stop with the mindset that we have to infuse country with everything else and give it a chance to stand on it's own again? There are plenty of great writers and songs out there to let it live on it's own merits.

You can PRE-ORDER Nashville Outlaws on iTunes and Amazon now.

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