Totally odd yet mesmerizing, imagine 12 of the greatest songs by The Doors—with no keyboards!—reconfigured, re-imagined, rearranged and turned inside-out as backporch bluegrassy stringband jams. It’s as if they sucked the innards out of such time-tested gems as “The End,” “Soul Kitchen,” “Break On Through,” “Light My Fire,” “Strange Days,” “Love Me Two Times” while an array of world-class musicians sang ‘em sweet and soft as folk songs. Vocalist/guitarist/percussionist James Lee Stanley has done this kind of thing before. His All Wood And Stones, with John Batdorf, was soothing ’n’ satisfying, and so is this.
Add Doors drummer John Densmore and Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger. Then add Eagle Timothy B. Schmit is as one of four singers oohing and aahing up a lush cloud of Beatles-esque background voicings. The all-acoustic, rather rustic sound (like early Grateful Dead crossed with current-day Levon Helm) features nifty zig-zag curlicue lead guitar solos by the likes of Paul Barrere (Little Feat), Laurence Juber (Wings) and Peter Tork (The Monkees).
You wouldn’t think “Take It As It Comes,” “Touch Me,” “Crystal Ship” and “Riders On The Storm” would prosper with this kind of treatment. You’d be wrong. Sometimes a song will start with a chorus instead of verse or a verse instead of a chorus, that’s how jumbled and bizarre it all is… but that’s exactly what makes it work.
Here’s hoping James Lee Stanley does this to other bands. I suggest Credence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd and The Kinks.