Review: Nashville Allstars Lend Savvy to the Stones

The Rock House All Stars
Let It Bleed Revisited/Qualified Records
3.5 out of Five Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Despite the fact that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are among the most prolific songwriting teams in music history, it’s somewhat surprising that there have been so few outside covers of their material. Unlike Lennon and McCartney or Burt Bacharach and Hal David or even Lerner and Lowe, most of the Stones’ material stayed within the confines of their own recordings. There were exceptions of course—Marianne Faithful’s cover of “As Tears Go By” and the Flying Burrito Brothers’ rendition of “Wild Horses”—which actually preceded the Stones’ own take on the track—were novel and notable at the same time. However, for the most part, outside interpretations remain exceedingly rare.

That makes Let It Bleed Revisited all the more auspicious. A track-by-track replay of Let It Bleed in its entirety, finds a Nashville team offering their interpretations from a rustic and rural point of view. All of it finds a fine fit, owing mainly to the fact that the arrangements clearly mimic the original renditions. Likewise, for the most part, the vocalists stay well within the tone and timbre of the established precedents as well.

Jimmy Hall and Bekka Bramblett effectively recreate the dynamic established by Jagger and Merry Clayton on “Gimme Shelter,” while Rick Huckaby, Mike Farris, and Lee Roy Parnell ably affect Jagger’s strut and swagger on “Midnight Rambler,” “Country Honk” and “Monkey Man,” respectively. The covers are so precise in fact, that if one didn’t know better, one could easily swear they were outtakes or alternate versions from the Stones’ original sessions. 

That said, there are some ever-slight variations. Nalani Rothrock does an excellent interpretation of Keith Richards’ solo spotlight, “You Got the Silver,” adding a heightened sense of drama that gives its forlorn blues added emphasis. Lilly Hiatt’s opening salvo on “Wild Horses” comes across a bit of a shriek, but it’s soon tempered by Luke Bulla’s shared vocal, as he reinforces the strained sentiments the song was originally meant to imply. 

Of course, there are other Stones songs that might fit well within a Nashville mix—“Dead Flowers” and the original “Honky Tonk Women” being two obvious examples. However given the focus was solely on a single album, further interpretations may have to wait for additional impetus. For the time being, then, this revisit makes for a wonderful repast.

Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage

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