From COVERMESONGS: Given the broad sonic reach of the “alt-country” genre, one might expect that Paint It Black: An Alt Country Tribute to the Rolling Stones to be a fully plugged in, loud, proud and boisterous salute capturing all the sweat, swagger and energy of the group. But that would require leaning on the Mick Jagger side of the sound. Instead, producer Jim Sampas has chosen to throttle-down, and to lead with Keith (with the Grievous Angel as guardian). It results in an exceptionally cohesive and even-keeled album – a rarity among tribute compilations. That should come as no surprise, though, since we know Sampas for his work on other quality salutes: last year’s Subterranean Homesick Blues: A Tribute to Bob Dylan’s ‘Bringing It All Back Home’, Badlands: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’, and This Bird Has Flown: A Tribute To The Beatles ‘Rubber Soul’.
The other thing that makes Paint It Black so cohesive is the lush and smoldering vocals from the women who are so prominently featured throughout. Margo Timmins is everything you would expect in a well-chosen Cowboy Junkies version of “Moonlight Mile.” Hem‘s Sally Ellyson delivers “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with the tenderness of the lullabies she’s known for. And Mary Gauthier’s “Dear Doctor” duet with Lee Harvey Osmond’s Tom Wilson is effective (and much preferred to Mick Jagger’s duet with his falsetto self). There’s the prior-mentioned Hannah Prater, Barbara Kessler’s faithful reading of “You Got The Silver” and finally Karin Bergquist of Over The Rhine on “Waiting On A Friend.” It’s the women of Paint It Black that ground the album in a cool, comfortable and sustained place.
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