Kid Rock: Born Free

Top Dog/Atlantic
Music •••1/2 Sound ••••


The Kid who went “Bawitdaba da bang a dang,” got Cocky, and tried his hand at a Lynyrd Zevon mongrel isn’t fooling around now. Armed with producer Rick Rubin and a band of aces, Bob Ritchie abandons the silly stuff for some contemplative roots-rock. As he announces on “Slow My Roll,” a blessing of countrified guitars and keys, it’s time to “look at life in a new way.”

Rock rolls tunefully here, and he sings with a bunch of A-list visitors — with Martina McBride and T.I. about not being able to save the world (“Care”), with fellow country boy Zac Brown amid raw licks and recollections of “the place that I call home” (“Flyin’ High”), and with Sheryl Crow on a bittersweet number (“Collide”), where they “roll the dice” and “take a chance on love again” while Bob Seger plays piano. Kid Rock does like taking chances. On Born Free, the strategy pays off.