If you ask most Waylon Jennings fans, they’ll probably tell you that no one could ever do his songs justice. I know this because I’m one of those people; however, “The Music Inside, Vol. 1” (the first of three tribute albums due out this year honoring the outlaw pioneer) is a gem. It includes Waylon songs sung by Trace Adkins, James Otto, and Randy Houser among others.
The album’s leadoff single, Alabama’s take on “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” is a perfect introduction to what this album is all about — honoring the man without whom many current country stars wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. It feels good to hear these voices back together again. Alabama’s still got it even after all these years. I smell a reunion tour in the works, people. Fingers crossed!
Waylon’s widow, Jessi Colter, teams up with up-and-comer Sunny Sweeney on “Good Hearted Woman,” one of my favorite Waylon songs. Their voices complement each other extremely well and I can’t imagine a more perfect match for this particular song.
Jamey Johnson lends a hand to the tribute with his rendition of “This Time.” Jamey has never been shy about his love for Waylon, so I knew this was going to be good. When you’re recording a song to honor your hero, you’re going to make sure it’s perfect — and it is. He oozes that same rebel spirit that Waylon always had.
Perhaps my favorite song on the record comes from Kris Kristofferson and Patty Griffin’s collaboration on “Rose in Paradise.” Kristofferson, a good friend of Waylon’s and a member of their infamous Highwaymen, absolutely nails it. And, well, everything Patty Griffin touches turns to gold. Need I say more?
Then there’s “Belle of the Ball” recorded by Waylon’s son, Shooter. For those of you not familiar with Shooter, you ought to check him out. You may remember him from the Johnny Cash bio-flick, Walk The Line, in which he played his dad. He is such a talent and a great reminder of the outlaw we all loved so much. Let me tell you something, Shooter — your daddy would be proud.
If you’re a Waylon Jennings fan, this album is a must-have. If you’re not into twang, this probably isn’t the record for you. This is a great introduction to younger country fans who didn’t really get to experience Waylon in his heyday. Maybe it will get people to put down the Miley Cyrus records (what is she doing in the country section of the CDs at Target, anyway?) and instead pick up some music from Cash, Kristofferson, and, of course, Mr. Waylon Jennings.
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CMTT Music Contributor