A couple of well-chosen covers were tossed into the mix, too. There’s a revised, fiddle-fueled version of George Jones’ “Choices,” a song Carothers once performed alongside its original writer, Billy Yates, while Nancy Jones sat in the front row. There’s also an updated take on Waylon Jennings’ “I’ve Always Been Crazy,” which showcases Phil Valdez as one of Nashville’s unsung guitar heroes.
On an album filled with the ghosts of country music’s late legends and the sounds of Nashville’s A-list players, though, it’s James Carothers — singer, songwriter, and storyteller — who shines the brightest. He’s a fresh cut from an old cloth. An old soul in a new world. A native Southerner with a wider perspective on the world. And when a sounds this appetizing, who would ever want to get back on the wagon again?