July 21, 2009 — During his years as the lead singer and chief songwriter for Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty developed a strong classic-rock image.
But John has a thing for country music, too, and he embraces it fully in his next album, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again, set for release Sept. 1. The CD features remakes of previous hits by Buck Owens, the Kendalls, Ray Price and John Denver, among others. His backing band on the sessions also included such figures as bass player Dennis Crouch (who worked on the Robert Plant & Alison Krauss album Raising Sand), Americana stalwart Buddy Miller, steel guitarist Greg Leisz (Willie Nelson & Lee Ann Womack's "Mendocino County Line") and mandolin player Jason Mowery, who's married to Jessica Harp.
"Those guys are just fantastic players," John told Billboard. "They really captured or understood what the Blue Ridge Rangers vibe is. It's a really cool record."
The Blue Ridge Rangers were introduced by John in 1973 after he left CCR, though it wasn't really a band. John played all the instruments on the album, which featured covers of country classics by Jimmie Rodgers, Webb Pierce, Hank Locklin and Merle Haggard. A cover of Hank Williams' "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)" became a Top 20 pop hit and landed on Billboard's country singles list, as well.
John's former CCR bandmate, bass player=2 0Stu Cook, likewise spent several years in country music with the late-'80s band Southern Pacific.
Rides Again revives such standards as "Back Home Again," "Heaven's Just A Sin Away," "Never Ending Song Of Love" and "I Don't Care (Just As Long As You Love Me)." The Eagles' Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit make a guest appearance as vocalists on a cover of Rick Nelson's "Garden Party," and Bruce Springsteen appears on the Rangers' rendition of the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved."
The Boss is clearly a first-choice collaborator for these kinds of albums. A week after the Blue Ridge Rangers' return, Rosanne Cash releases The List, a collection of songs that her father, Johnny Cash, suggested she learn when she announced she wanted to be a country singer. Rosanne and Bruce share vocals on Don Gibson's "Sea Of Heartbreak."