The mind boggles at the logic behind this album’s conception. Some of these tracks were recorded more than three decades ago so the artists showed amazing prescience to be inspired by Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie. Gibson co-produced the album and wrote the cover notes so you have to ask, why would the creator of America’s sixth biggest box office champion use such a desperate excuse to cash in on its success? This reeks of a Hollywood mogul indulging himself as a record producer. The result is a quirky collection, country gospel-tinged and rather depressing overall. Among new tracks recorded for this release, Holly Williams performs a fine minimalist version of her grandfather Hank’s How Can You Refuse Him Now, country veteran Jessi Colter duets with her son Shooter Jennings on Please Carry Me Home, which they co-wrote, while former Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan milks her version of Ave Maria for all it’s worth. Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan are worthy inclusions, but most revealing is Leon Russell’s raucous 1971 recording Stranger In A Strange Land, inspired by Robert Heinlein’s popular 60s sci-fi novel of the same name.

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