Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons — Various Artists

  • Almo Sounds

Tribute albums have saturated the market in recent years, but every once in awhile there's still one that is absolutely irresistible.

That's certainly the case with this artfully crafted homage to Gram Parsons, who practically invented country rock in the late 1960s before overdosing in 1973. Parsons' musical soulmate, Emmylou Harris, served as executive producer for this disc, which is dominated by duets. They include pairings such as Harris with the Pretenders on the album opening standout, “She,” Steve Earle and Chris Hillman's galloping rendition of “High Fashion Queen,” and the unlikely but majestic collaboration between Lucinda Williams and David Crosby on the title track.

Not everything works wonders, and surprisingly, country-lover Elvis Costello's crooning version of “Sleepless Nights” is one of the disc's real few disappointments. But there are also numerous legitimate highlights, such as The Mavericks' stirring “Hot Burrito No. 1, ” and the lonesome “Juanita” sung by Harris and Sheryl Crow.

Kevin O'Hare

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