Like the originals, these covers rest too much on a laid-back feel, and Bare Jr. -- despite a noble effort -- can't seem to elevate them above their mediocrity.
It might be a strange decision to make an EP comprised only of covers by soft-rock kings America and Bread. But you have to hand it to Bobby Bare Jr., this is no smirking bit of irony. He takes these songs seriously, and working with fellow Americana troubadour David Vandervelde, he achieves a lonesome-desert-highway sound throughout, particularly on his surprisingly successful take of "A Horse With No Name". Unfortunately, past that chugging feel, the songs never quite pan out. They seem to rest more on that laid-back feel -- kind of like the originals -- and Bare Jr. can't seem to elevate them above their mediocrity. To his credit, he ends the EP strongly with two versions of "Sister Golden Hair". Both the country ballad version and the stomping rock version sound crisp and lively, as if Bare Jr. caught his second wind just as an exhausting trip seemed to have run out of steam.