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Various Artists

Sweet Home Alabama -- The Country Music Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd – 2010 (Hip-O/UME)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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Presumably it is a testament to Lynyrd Skynyrd's influence that this is just the latest in a long line of tribute albums. There have been bluegrass tributes and hip-hop tributes and everything in between. To a real Skynyrd fan all they do is just rub salt into a wound that 33 years on is still raw.

It's understandable that today's more rock-tinged country acts like Shooter Jennings and Eric Church would want to celebrate in song the band that more anybody else wedded country and rock, but it might be similar to that letter you write to your boss or your old girlfriend but then wisely burn i.e., something that you need to get out of your system but not something that is going to reflect well on you.

When you do a tribute you can either be faithful to the original or try to put your own spin on it. The artists here try both approaches; the Eli Young Band plays Gimme Three Steps almost note-for-note, Ashley Ray slows Sweet Home Alabama way down (and nobody is going to mistake her ethereal voice for Ronnie Van Zandt's). Both methods are equally successful. The former sounds unoriginal and pointless, the latter like sacrilege.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's career was cut short by a plane crash. God only knows why this Wal-Mart exclusive CD was cut short - only eight tracks. And nobody even attempts to cover Skynyrd's other signature song Freebird. Do yourself (and the environment) a favor, don't go and buy this. Instead dig out your old Skynyrd albums. They still sound as good as you remember.