Personnel: Eric Heatherly, Ray Benson (vocals, guitar); Lee Roy Parnell (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar); Alison Krauss (vocals, viola); Lari White (vocals, programming); Elizabeth Cook, Billy Gilman (vocals, background vocals); Darrin Vincent, Kathy Mattea, Marty Stuart, Raffi, Raul Malo, Rhonda Vincent, The Wilkinsons, Tania Hancheroff (vocals); Bill Cooley, Bryan Sutton (guitar); Al Anderson (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Darrell Scott (acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, background vocals); James Pennebaker, Mac McAnally, Ron Block, Billy Panda (acoustic guitar); Jason Roberts (electric guitar, fiddle); Jack Pearson, Brent Rowan (electric guitar); Cindy Cashdollar, Doyle Grisham, Sonny Garrish (steel guitar); Robby Turner, Steve Fishell (dobro); Tom Adams (banjo); Sam Bush (mandolin); Cameron Wilson (violin); Aubrey Haynie (fiddle); Chris Carmichael (strings); Buddy Connolly (accordion); Michael Francis (clarinet, saxophone); Kevin McKendree (piano, organ); Michael Creber, Gary "Bud" Smith , Carson Whitsett (piano); John Jarvis, Jimmy Nichols (keyboards); Barry Bales, Byron House, David Smith (acoustic bass); David Hungate (bass guitar); Chris McHugh (drums, percussion); W.S. Holland, David Sanger , Greg Morrow, Harry Stinson, Phil Robertson, Lynn Williams, John Gardner (drums); Jim Brock, Mickey Buckins, Sam Bacco (percussion); Nick Destefano, John Wesley Ryles, Monty Byrom, Terry Wilson (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Darrin Vincent; Jason Lehning; King Williams; Alan Schulman; Mick Conley; Mike Poole; Tony Castle.
Audio Remixer: Alan Schulman.
Recording information: 17 Grand Recording, Nashville, TN; Almo Irving Studio, Nashville, TN; Bismeaux Studio, Austin, TX; Blue Wave Studio, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; La Cucaracha Studio, Nashville, TN; La La Land; Lighthouse Sound Studio, Nashville, TN; Minnesota Man Studios, Nashville, TN; Miscle Shoals, AL; Seventeen Gradn Recording, Nashville, TN; Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN; SOund Kitchen, Franklin, TN; The Holler, Nashville, TN; The Sound Shop, Nashville, TN; Westwood Sound Studio, Nashville, TN.
Arranger: Lari White.
Long respected as a children's music singer/songwriter, Raffi's work is celebrated and interpreted by adults (and one kid) on Country Goes Raffi, a collection featuring the Wilkinsons, Rhonda Vincent, and Eric Heatherly's performances of their favorite Raffi songs. Asleep at the Wheel takes "The Bowling Song" in a mellow, Western swing direction that manages to be fun and sophisticated at the same time; Raul Malo's version of "Thanks a Lot" is equally playful, in a quietly Latin-tinged way; and Marty Stuart adds a twangy bluegrass tinge to "Naturally." The collection also features traditional children's songs that also happen to be Raffi favorites, such as "Apples and Bananas" (performed here by Keith Urban) and "This Little Light of Mine" (sung with a playful twist by Elizabeth Cook), as well as two of his new compositions: "Blessed Be," a touching lullaby sung by Alison Krauss, and the eco-friendly "Blue White Planet," performed by Raffi himself. Lee Roy Parnell's poignant "Rise and Shine" and Lari White's appropriately goofy "Shake My Sillies Out" are some of the tribute's other highlights, along with Billy Gillman's cute rendition of "Baby Beluga"; it seems apt that a country music tribute to one of children's music's leading lights features a country music star who's also young enough to be a Raffi fan. Charming and surprisingly eclectic, Country Goes Raffi should please kids and parents alike. ~ Heather Phares