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Various Artists

Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones

Review by Gary Hill

This tribute album features George Jones (RIP) songs recorded by a number of Pacific Northwest artists. The majority of these are country artists, but some don’t fall into that category. It’s a very entertaining set. I guess I just wish some of these artists would have taken more liberties with the tunes. Of course, it is a tribute, so perhaps staying somewhat faithful makes sense. Either way, this is a fun double disc set to enjoy.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
White Lightning - Sassparilla
Drums start this. Then harmonica comes across. As other instruments join, this has a smoking hot retro rock texture. This is like bluesy roots rock turned modern. It’s almost stoner rock in some ways. I love it.
She Thinks I Still Care - The Wellspring
The female vocals on this are delicate and rather dreamy. The music ranges between modern dream pop and country. This is a cool piece. It’s unexpected and very tasty.
Still Doing Time - Lewi Longmire with the Portland Country Underground
This is old school, down home country music. It’s slow and classy. I really like the slide guitar on this.
The Race Is On – Water Tower
This energetic little number is all bluegrass. It’s very much old school bluegrass at that. It’s fun.
When the Grass Grows over Me - Tyler Stenson
Although this stripped back acoustic guitar ballad is very much traditional country, somehow I’m reminded of the Grateful Dead just a bit. It’s another great tune.
Walk Through This World with Me - Copper & Coal
A slow piece, down home country and bluegrass are combined here. The female vocals are timeless and classic and this is another winner. I especially like the slide guitar.
The Grand Tour - Keeter & Ali
Acoustic based country music mixed with folk, is the order of business on this one. The combination of male and female vocals works really well.
Selfishness in Man - Drunken Prayer
What an unusual treat this song is. It’s got a musical backdrop that is electronic and trippy. The male vocals are spot on country. The female vocals that join later add another layer of weirdness. The processed guitar solo is part country and part psychedelic oddity. This whole mashup of sounds is odd, but especially effective.
Seasons of My Heart - The Tumblers
Old time rock and roll and country merge on this mid-tempo number. It’s good, but not one of the highlights as far as I’m concerned. That said, I do like the guitar solo.
He Stopped Loving Her Today - Stephanie Lynn
The music here is very much bluegrass in nature. The female vocals are particularly strong. This is one of the better cuts in the set.
Tennessee Whiskey - Brush Prairie
There’s a bit of a modern twist to this, mixed with some slide guitar based down home sounds. This is another that stands really tall. The female vocals are classic old school country and this has a real roots music element to it.
Finally Friday - Honky Tonk Union
Old school electrified country delivered with an emphasis on fun is the idea here. This is a great cut that rocks out nicely.
I Always Get Lucky with You - Hank Sinatra
Down home twang guitar is the emphasis in terms of the music. The vocals, though are more in keeping with a 1950s pop music vibe. This is cool stuff.
The Ghost of Another Man - Shawn Smith
This really feels like something that would have been played on country radio in the 1950s or 1960s. I’m not crazy about warbling on the vocals, but it is somewhat traditional.
Where the Soul Never Dies - Brandon Schott
Very much set in a folk meets bluegrass motif, this is classic in sound and powerful.
Disc 2
Wings of a Dove – Fernando
Energetic, rocking country music with a mid-tempo is the concept here. While this is very retro in nature, somehow it also feels modern.
We're Gonna Hold On - Hook & Anchor
I love the combination of male and female vocals on this. The overall concept is a great combination of retro and modern.
The Battle - Meredith Brothers
There are hints of the country origins of this piece, but overall this is modern electronic music. It’s got some great dreamy soundscapes and a lot of charm. This is one of the more unusual pieces here. That helps it to stand out. Still, as good as it is, it would have stood out, anyway. This is almost progressive rock at times.
If You Couldn't Get the Picture - Bert Sperling
Folk and old school country merge with some more modern elements on this piece. It’s not bad, but not one of my favorites.
Must've Been Drunk – Hearts of Oak
This feels like a modern, tongue-in-cheek take on old school country to me. There are hints of punk in the mix. I’m not crazy about this one.
Golden Ring - Neon Renaissance
I love the vocals on this and the mix of sounds here is great, too. There is plenty of old school country here, but there is also some jazz and rock music presented in this one. It’s another great tune.
The Door - Owen Grace
This is one of my favorites of the whole set. It’s a distortion laden psychedelic rock take on the song. There really isn’t any country music here, but this is great. I love some of the echoey stuff that gets put into this. This feels like it could have been released in the late 1960s. It’s a great bit of variety and a killer tune by itself.
I Just Don't Give a Damn - Gabe Rozzell
Down home country sounds are the order of business here. This is a fun number that’s pretty effective.
Choices – Nopomojo
The opening section is mostly spoken vocals. That gives way to traditional country music and the combination of male and female vocals works very well. This is another strong piece.
Bartender Blues - Countryside Ride
Here we get a very classic country ballad. This feels like it could have been released decades ago.
If I Don't Love You (Grits Ain't Groceries) - Bad Assets

Country swing mixed with modern roots rock, this is fun. It’s another standout.

Milwaukee, Here I Come - The Rocky Butte Wranglers
With both male and female vocals, this bouncing country number is a lot of fun. It’s very old school and includes some classy fiddle work.
Her Name Is... - Drugstore Cowboy
The mix of modern sounds and old school country on this one works really well. It’s one of the more unusual pieces here.
Too Much Water - The Fall to Pieces
Old school country is combined with some jazz on this great tune. The female vocals are great. 
Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes - W.C. Beck
This has a very modern folk ballad sound. Of course, that sound is also tied to country. A strong piece, this is a great way to end the disc.
 
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