Strip away the drums, the electric guitars, the Nashville studio pros from the Dixie Chicks and what have you got?
Home, which is an album that can stand toe to toe with any of the group's previous efforts (***1/2 out of four).
The band builds the album's sound around fiddle, banjo, dobro and acoustic guitar, but it still rocks hard enough to turn Long Time Gone into a major radio hit despite its backhanded slap at the medium: "We listen to the radio to hear what's cookin' / But the music ain't got no soul / Now they sound tired, but they don't sound haggard / They go money, but they don't have cash."
White Trash Wedding is just as brash ("I shouldn't be wearing white, and you can't afford no ring"), but other songs are more tender, such as the lullaby Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) and Bruce Robison's Travelin' Soldier, about a Vietnam casualty and the young girl who mourns him.
If there were any lingering doubts about this group's uncanny musical and commercial instincts, Home erases them.