Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am
Label: Warner Records
This isn't the first covers collection to be released by an aging country singer -- it's not even the first to be released by Randy Travis -- but it stands out for both reverence and song selection. When Travis covers Merle, he plays "What Have You Got Planned Tonight, Diana?" and when he takes on George Jones he does "Saginaw, Michigan" and "Why Baby Why." The original "Tonight I'm Playin' Possum," meanwhile, is the perfect closer, recasting the previous 12 songs as, to put it pretentiously, a meditation on the subject of Jones' most famous inquiry: Who's gonna fill their shoes?