Don't call it a tribute release, even though it is...
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Greatest hits given contemporary country make overs sums up Southbound nicely. You know the songs and probably the vast majority of the guest artists including Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith. Normally when a band that can boast the longevity of The Doobie Brothers attempts a release such as this they turn into their own Vegas lounge act of sorts.
The arrangements are varied and fresh allowing a more collective ensemble sound than previous releases. Michael McDonald, Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons appear together for the first time since 1976. There is an inherent air of predictability that surrounds this release but the bottom line is if you enjoy country music and like the Doobie Brothers then any predictability issues really shouldn't get in your way of enjoying a finely crafted release from one of America's best known and loved bands.