Personnel: Glen Duncan (guitar, mandolin, violin); Chris Scruggs, Michael Baker (guitar); John Hobbs (piano, organ); John McTigue (drums).
Liner Note Author: Jim Ed Brown.
Recording information: Omni Sound Studios, Nashville, TN; Sound Emporium.
Photographer: Pete Mroz.
The thing that is in style again, of course, is Jim Ed Brown himself, who at the age of 80 cherishes the opportunity to slip into his old-fashioned threads once again. It has been 35 years since he's last made a record and, understandably, a lot has happened since then, including a lung cancer diagnosis made not long after the recording for In Style Again was finished, but this isn't an album with mortality on its mind. Brown settles into the classic honky tonk and Nashville balladry that have been his stock in trade throughout his career, sometimes indulging in a little bit of a country corn (the soft-shoe shuffle "I Love It"), sometimes reviving old favorites ("Don't Let Me Cross Over"), but always sounding like he's having a whale of time making a new record. When he sings about the pleasures of being an "Older Guy," the smile on his face is nearly visible, and when he asks "Am I Still Country?" at the end, there's no question about the answer and that's the key to why In Style Again works: it's a country legend embracing everything that made him an institution but carrying none of the weight that label implies. It's just a good, low-key time from a guy who is clearly happy to make another record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine