Rueful misgivings are a staple of southern culture, and regret over life’s missed opportunities infuses many of the 15 tracks on this exemplary album by one of country music’s most successful and longest-running bands. At the same time, South evokes warm, romantic moments, from the folksy “Simple As That” to the grandiose “Will You Marry Me,” on which Randy Owen duets with Jann Arden, a Canadian singer histrionic enough to make Celine Dion seem subtle. There are a few missteps as well. “Love Remains,” Teddy Gentry’s duet with Christopher Cross, has a mewling, Backstreet Boys quality, and the reggae framework of “Wonderful Waste of Time” grates against Jeff Cook, Alabama’s steadfast guitarist. On the better part of South, however, Alabama is whistling Dixie.
Bottom Line: Little glitter, lots of gold abc