The concept of the album is to perform some of Hornsby's songs in Skaggs' bluegrass style, adding in some traditional songs and, of course, the Rick James classic "Superfreak". Hornsby is such a versatile pianist, none of this seems even slightly out of place. Wherever you think a piano would be a strange choice, Hornsby finds a way to make it feel like it belongs. And all credit to Skaggs, he is a master of the fiddle and banjo, and seamless made some subtle adjustments to his style to make the whole album sound and feel like a single, cohesive unit.
The best song here is Hornsby's "Crown of Jewels". This song already had certain country/bluegrass elements to it, with the storytelling involved and a musical tone practically written for the inclusion of the fiddle; in the hands of the masters, it is flawless. It's a beautiful song that truly puts the talents of both artists on full display.
Other Hornsby songs include one of his biggest and earliest hits, "Mandolin Rain", as well as "A Night on the Town", "Gulf of Mexico Fishing Boat Blues" and "The Dreaded Spoon". "Mandolin Rain" is another gorgeous song, the addition of Skaggs transforms it into something just a little more mournful, easily one of the best tracks on the album. "The Dreaded Spoon" was always a better fit for country, it's a story of Bruce and his brother going for ice cream, and their dad always taking a bite with a big, nasty spoon he kept in the car. A silly song, definitely better in bluegrass than the original. "A Night on the Town" strangely doesn't fare as well. It's a tale of a couple of guys picking a fight, but the country treatment, musically speaking, doesn't serve the song well here.
The real highlight is certainly the performance of the Rick James song "Superfreak". It's a strange song to begin with, and it just shows the sense of humor Hornsby has to take a shot at doing it in a bluegrass style. It's a hilarious take, all credit to both artist for having the guts to include such a strange track on the album.
The rest of the album is mostly traditional songs, with the exception of "Stubb", which is a Ricky Skaggs original tune. The best of the rest, from the point of view of someone who is a fan of Hornsby, but is unfamiliar with Skaggs' work, is "Sheep Shell Corn", a fun little bluegrass romp. Much of the album suffers from a lack of context; I'm not entirely sure why "Come On Out" is here, it's an ok tune, but placed on this project feels a little out of place. Which is a strange feeling for such a widely diverse project. The problem is that half of the album is familiar, while the rest is completely unknown; this is just a bit confusing.
Overall, this is a fun, unusual project with some really interesting takes on known songs. The 'newer' songs are ok...not likely to get a ton of replay on your playlists, but there may be a hidden gem for you if you dig the rest of the album. It's just about worth it for "Superfreak" alone, I'd recommend fans of either artist pick this up. Casual fans, take a listen to the songs you know before getting this.