Stoned Cold Country
To celebrate 60 years of The Rolling Stones, a cast of top country acts accepts the daunting challenge of reworking some of rock’s most enduring tunes. Eric Church turns “Gimme Shelter” into a blues vamp with flares of gospel fervor, while Zac Brown Band renders the iconic hook of “Paint It Black” on fiddle, lending a feverish intensity to the song’s jammy climax. It’s fascinating to hear which elements of the originals are magnified or reduced: Brooks & Dunn bring the barroom swagger of “Honky Tonk Women” right to the fore, and Steve Earle sings lovelorn lyrics with lived-in gruffness on his piano-forward version of “Angie.” The country DNA is certainly more pronounced in some of the songs’ original forms, like the hangdog ramble “Dead Flowers” (well served here by Maren Morris) and the especially poignant ballad “Wild Horses” (bestowed with communal warmth by the ensemble Little Big Town). Despite the range in stylistic readings, Stoned Cold Country plays out like a continuous love letter, thanks to the steady touch of album producer Robert Deaton.