Long-time Stones fan Paul Lewis takes has been champing at the bit to review the first two singles from the forthcoming album Stoned Cold Country, a 60th anniversary tribute to The Rolling Stones from some of country’s biggest names.
The full album is due out in a few weeks and yes – Paul wants to be front of the queue – but in the meantime, read what he has to say about the first two tracks:
It’s not “only Rock’n’Roll”…it’s Stoned Cold Country, from Elvie Shane, Brothers Osborne & The War & Treaty…with much more to follow…
There’s a seam of country music running through The Rolling Stones’ entire career, most notably from when Keith Richards met Gram Parsons in 1968 and in numerous distinctly country inspired songs from the ‘60s to this century.
So, a tribute album of Stones songs covered by country artists seems a natural fit, and it arrives in March with Stoned Cold Country. What’s all the more encouraging and exciting is that it doesn’t stick to those “obvious” country tracks.
The album was first revealed around a powerful performance by the Brothers Osborne and The War & Treaty, at the CMAs last November of It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like It). The track, both live and in the studio version, delivers a potent mix of rock & country. It’s terrific, retaining the original spirit but with a distinct country feel.
Now we get the second single and, again, it is not one of the Stones’ recognised country songs, but it is another of their most well-known tracks. Elvie Shane, soon to be seen here in the UK at the C2C festival, delivers his incendiary version of Sympathy For The Devil.
It is compelling and distinctive from the first note. As with the first single, it retains the essence of the original, but with a strong country twist. It’s a formidable combination of Elvie Shane and the Stones – although you really don’t have to be a Stones fan to love either of the singles to date.
Elvie’s take stops you in your tracks from the opening: there’s a menacing tension to the whole track, a tremendous guitar solo, backing vocals that reflect the original but aren’t simply a copy. Overall it sounds familiar but very fresh at the same time. It doesn’t jar if you know the Stones version, but it definitely delivers something new. And if you don’t know the song yet, it is an outstanding, incendiary standalone track, that runs over six minutes and never outstays its welcome.
If you’re not familiar with Elvie Shane, it’s also a fantastic introduction to his work. His own album Backslider is available in all the usual places, and he will play the Spotlight stage at C2C in March (sadly only in London as things stand).
Stoned Cold Country comes out just after C2C, on March 17, 14 tracks from an outstanding line up of artists: alongside the two singles, it features Ashley McBryde, Brooks & Dunn, Maren Morris, Jimmie Allen, Elle King, Marcus King, Little Big Town, Zac Brown Band, Lainey Wilson, Steve Earle, Eric Church and Koe Wetzel.
As the project’s producer, Robert Deaton, says “This album is country music’s thank you to The Rolling Stones for 60 years of inspiration and providing the soundtrack of our lives. While recording the record, I was reminded that this is a showcase and spotlight on the best we have to offer as a genre… From our artists to all of the musicians that played on the record, we boldly state that country music is second to none when it comes to artists of integrity and creativity.”
Six Shooter will be reviewing the full album in due course. Meanwhile, Sympathy For The Devil by Elvie Shane and It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like It) by Brothers Osborne and The War & Treaty are available now on all the usual streaming services.
You can pre-save and pre-add Stoned Cold Country at:
Elvie Shane plays the Spotlight stage at C2C in London on Saturday March 11.