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Reggae takes on Country classics sound like a musical accident, but a happy one
Various Artists, "Reggae's Gone Country" (Warner Music Nashville and VP Records)
Imagine that a nightclub accidentally booked two wildly different acts ' one reggae, one country ' for the same night, and instead of one backing out, the bands decided to jam together. That's "Reggae's Gone Country," 14 tracks of covers that sound, at first blush, like a musical accident full of twangy guitars and reggae beats, but overall a happy one.
The album opens with Romain Virgo and Larry Gatlin's take on the Gatlin Brothers '"California." It starts out seemingly traditional and makes a sudden reggae turn, setting the tone for the rest of the tracks that blend the best of both genres.
The most enjoyable tunes are those most recognizable to even the least country-fied music fans, including Etana's sweet spin on "Crazy," Tessanne Chin's soulful take on "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes" and the fun meanderings of Freddie McGregor's "King of the Road." ''El Paso" by Sanchez provides the album's most brain-twisting combination, drawing from reggae, country and Latin genres for the musical equivalent of enchiladas filled with jerk chicken and pulled pork. Weird, but actually pretty tasty.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: "Flowers On The Wall" by L.U.S.T. is a perfect blend of country and reggae, with misfit lyrics that could've originated in either genre: "My shoes are not accustomed to this hard concrete/So I must go back to my room and make my day complete."