Willie Nelson

Country Music

I kinda owe T-Bone Burnett a good review. He produced the soundtrack for Crazy Heart, and I gave that CD a rather tepid review when it came out. But the more I listen to that album, the more I like it, so now that Burnett has produced this latest offering from Willie Nelson, I can make up for stinting on praise of that earlier effort because, just when I thought I might have heard all of ol’ Willie I ever needed to hear, Burnett helped Nelson give us this collection, a pure and fine thing. Nelson has written a big chapter in the history of country music, and he’s still writing it. The directness and simplicity of the title of this collection says something about his legacy. He’s like seasoned oak by now and, as he draws near 80, his voice is better than ever—supple, expressive, rich in timbre and expression. This ain’t the slick, mass-produced country sludge too often heard these days, made by and for people who live in McMansions. This is country music with dirt under its fingernails, made for some warm summer night when you’re sitting in a rocking chair on a creaky front porch, just watching the sun go down.