The suspicious will sniff suspiciously at this record which seems to have been assembled from a storyboard rather than from chance. Ah well. There's still chemistry and enough songs to love that even the haters can't hate long.
Like punk rock and heavy metal, country music has a formula and violating that formula is a kind of betrayal, a heresy for which one may not be forgiven. In Americana, such betrayals and unexpected turns are often welcomed.
In the wake of a tragic loss within the music industry, the Grammy Awards actually went on a surprisingly respectful, understated route... before turning into the vapid technicolor circus that has become hallmark for the very worst of Grammy broadcasts.