Rock & Blues Muse Reviews Let It Bleed Revisited - An Ovation from Nashville
By Mike O’Cull (https://www.rockandbluesmuse.com/2022/07/20/review-let-it-bleed-revisited-an-ovation-from-nashville/)
Let It Bleed Revisited – An Ovation From Nashville is every bit the record you’d hope it would be and does fine work reinventing this landmark recording. Highly recommended.
The Rolling Stones’ 1969 masterpiece Let It Bleed gets a lively and loving interpretation by a host of Music City heavyweights on the new record Let It Bleed Revisited – An Ovation From Nashville.
Available now on the Qualified Records label, the set was co-produced by ISSA nominee John Heithaus (Tom Hambridge, Jim Allchin, Luke Bulla) and the multi-Grammy winner Kevin McKendree (Delbert McClinton, Brian Setzer Orchestra, John Hiatt) and features a hot studio band, The Rock House All Stars, fronted by different Nashville-based singers on each track.
The songs all got new arrangements and were given to a hand-selected crew of vocalists including Grammy winners Lee Roy Parnell, Jimmy Hall, and Mike Farris, Bekka Bramlett, Emil Justian, Seth James, Nalani Rothrock, and 2021 The Voice runner-up Wendy Moten. All were instructed to have their way with Mick Jagger’s vocal parts and to follow their own artistic leanings. As expected, the results jump, shout, and scream for themselves.
Let It Bleed is generally considered as one of the finest records The Stones ever made. In 2005, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and is also on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. Many of the songs on it have become time-honored staples of rock radio and bar bands everywhere. Its sound is based in American roots music and contains elements of gospel, honky-tonk, country blues, and country rock mixed with The Stones’ proprietary grit and grind. It quickly became a Top Ten smash, hitting number one in the UK and number three in the US.
Since then, Let It Bleed has become one of the world’s favorite rock and roll records and is still listened to daily everywhere that great music still matters. Let It Bleed Revisited goes for broke immediately with Jimmy Hall and Bekka Bramllet’s ferocious reading of “Gimme Shelter,” one of The Rolling Stones’ all-time peak moments. Both vocalists hit it hard, putting every ounce of their humanity into this fearsome song. The Rock House All Stars, who are John Heithaus (bass), Kevin McKendree (keyboards, guitars, backup vocals, percussion), Yates McKendree (drums), and Rob McNelley (acoustic and electric guitars), are on fire here, giving these two powerhouse voices everything they need to touch the darkening sky.
Country star and slide guitar ace Lee Roy Parnell does a righteous version of “Country Honk,” the twangier cousin of The Stones’ legendary “Honky Tonk Women,” and turns up the heat with his smooth vocals and tasty playing. Parnell sounds right at home on it and Luke Bulla’s fiddle ices the coffee for you just the way you like. This is one of those pairings of singer and song that simply works and nothing listens better than that.
Emil Justian and Greg Mayo crank up the energy on the titular cut “Let It Bleed.” The track achieves that perfect, ragged, late-night rock and roll vibe that we all love and will have you up and moving just like the original. The drums swagger, the guitars pick a fight, and the vocals deliver the rest of the story. Rick Huckaby’s take on “Midnight Rambler” is equally cool, putting down a tight pocket and an outstanding harmonica performance by Stephen Hanner. The band punches this classic straight on, proving yet again that recording A-List musicians playing together in a room will always be valid.
The Voice alumni Wendy Moten turns in a strong and soulful “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” leaning all the way into one of the most-loved songs in The Stones’ catalog. She’s a natural fit for it and one would expect Mick, himself, to give Moten his seal of approval. Be sure to also become one with “Live With Me” featuring Seth James and “Monkey Man” featuring Mike Farris. Let It Bleed Revisited – An Ovation From Nashville is every bit the record you’d hope it would be and does fine work reinventing this landmark recording. Highly recommended.