Bands typically release covers albums for two reasons, neither of which makes for fun listening: Either they're fulfilling contractual obligations, or they're trying to rediscover inspiration. Thankfully, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes have neither problem: A punk-rock cover band comprising members of NOFX, Foo Fighters, Lagwagon, and Swingin' Utters, the Gimmes only come together when inspiration strikes.
Like 1999's Are A Drag (on which they cover showtunes) and 2003's Take A Break (ditto for R&B hits), Love Their Country finds the Gimmes giving a genre their trademark wise-guy makeover; as always, the meta-punk musical references flow as freely as the winks and nudges throughout. A hopped-up version of Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" opens with a lick from The Misfits' "Astro Zombies." A twist on the intro from the Damned's "Love Song" leads into Jerry Reed's "East Bound And Down." And a rendition of Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down" borrows its reggae-punk stutter from The Clash's "Police & Thieves."
Clever as the concept is, the reverence the Gimmes apply to both genres—coupled with the fact that they can actually play—proves they take their fun seriously. Their jagged take on "Goodbye Earl" reinvigorates the Dixie Chicks' concert standard. John Denver's "Annie's Song" and Kenny Rogers' "She Believes In Me," both touching in their original form, become fist-pumping heartbreak tunes here. And on "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)," the Gimmes not only capture the tough 'n' tender subtleties of Garth Brooks' original, they throw a party that celebrates Red State twang and Blue State hardcore while taking the piss out of both.