There's no denying the strong sense of musical history that propels much of Back to the Country. This ragtag ensemble has clearly done its homework when it comes to making American folk, country, blues and roots music, as evidenced by the stunning acoustic solos and heartfelt pedal-steel guitar that drive tunes like "The Dark Stranger" and "Colorado." The balladry is part old-school Waylon Jennings and part contemporary Americana. Katherine Walczyk's sterling vocals are a moving tribute to the divas of American country on "Little Star," and Italian vocalist and songwriter Marco Zanzi shows an impressive understanding of folk traditions on the title track. For all its dedication to these genres, though, the album does suffer from some lapses: Zanzi's imagery on "Back to the Country" veers into the maudlin, and certain moments feel more like an approximation than authentic country and folk. For the most part, however, the band's love for the music shines through, and the tribute works.
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