The awesome folks at Reimagine Music are at it again. If you managed to take a look at their Bob Dylan tribute album, which was reviewed here two weeks ago, then you saw the incredible lineup they had cranking out Dylan classics. Now they’re back it at with Paint It Black: An Alt-Country Tribute to the Rolling Stones.
Similiarly to the star-studded cast of indie artists on the Dylan record, this album doesn’t disappoint. Everest and Cowboy Junkies are the headliners, but that doesn’t that the other artists slouches.
Naturally, on any Stones tribute record, you are going to have your fill of hits and classics; that’s to be expected. But what makes this record so thrilling, besides the rearrangements, is that there’s the perfect mix between hits and great songs that aren’t as well known.
“Coming Down Again” by Anders Parker is a slow, brooding acoustic number that would make even the mighty Mick scared. The vibe of the tune is so dark, and the song’s delivery so morbid that you have no choice but to feel Parker’s pain that would have the Stones proud that their initial bluesy roots are well-represented on this track.
The Bittersweets’ version of “Loving Cup” is exactly what their name represents. Chris Meyers’ pedal steel complements singer Hannah Prader’s beautiful vocals and a different, female perspective to the song. Listening to this version makes you wonder if Mick were a woman, if this is what he’d sound like. Either way, a great reinterpretation that sounds great.
One of my favorite, and perhaps one of the more underrated Rolling Stones tunes is “Sweet Virginia.” However, I’m glad to say that Everest kills it. The opening strums of the acoustic guitar and harmonica are soothing then the full band kicks with alt-country at its finest. Russell Pollard sounds great as do the backing vocals, which add a fullness to the sound. Though it is relatively similar to the original, think no huge changes to the arrangements, it’s still a rocker.
A Stones tribute album wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory write up of one of their classics. “Paint It Black” sounds as fresh as it sounded nearly 50 (yes 50!) years ago. Credit Brian Ritchey for making this song as creepy and scary as it did when it was first released. His vocals, combined with a piano and violin start the song off in a way that a horror movie would build, then it suddenly moves from first to third gear, using the frantic sound that made the original such a classic. Of course, both versions really sound a like, but give Ritchey credit for trying to stay true to the original, yet slowly building to that point. Well done, Brian!
Overall, not a surprise here, but this album is terrific. It’s always great hearing independent artists feel free to express their independent spirit by reinterpreting classics and this album is no different.
Once again, the record is an MP3-only release and with a limited run print on vinyl.