CD Review: Vince Gill & Paul Franklin's 'Bakersfield'
Published: August 6, 2013 11:22AM
Updated: August 6, 2013 11:22AM

As a former resident of Bakersfield, I always find it nice to see what is referred to as Nashville West get the recognition it deserves. Singer and under-rated guitarist Vince Gill and steel guitarist Paul Franklin have teamed up to record 10 songs made famous by the Californian country pioneers Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, who along with Wynn Stewart, Jean Shepard and and Freddie Hart established the guitar-driven style of country music called The Bakersfield Sound — a reaction to the tame, orchestra-driven country music made in Nashville in the 1950s and 1960s. The album, simply titled “Bakersfield,” is as down-home as the famous bigger-than-your-plate chicken-fried steak served at Owen’s Bakersfield museum/restaurant The Crystal Palace, with Gill’s smooth tones and Franklin’s prominent bent chords adding respectful dazzle to classics such as “Together Again” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me.” The album is not just a tribute to Owens and Haggard, but to every honky-tonk where two-step dancers have worn grooves into the wooden floors.

Grade: B