Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Country, Pop
Willie Nelson goes back to his roots with a songbook of classic Americana. Country Music was recorded in Nashville, TN and produced by T Bone Burnett. Nelson wrote one track on the album, "Man With The Blues" and, with T... more »
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Willie Nelson goes back to his roots with a songbook of classic Americana. Country Music was recorded in Nashville, TN and produced by T Bone Burnett. Nelson wrote one track on the album, "Man With The Blues" and, with T Bone Burnett, co-arranged three traditional songs, "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down," "I Am A Pilgrim," and "Nobody's Fault But Mine." The album also features many popular old-time/bluegrass/folk songs including Ernest Tubb's "Seaman's Blues, Merle Travis' "Dark As A Dungeon," and Doc Watson's "Freight Train Boogie". Willie Nelson collaborated with many musicians on Country Music including old-time banjo master Riley Baugus, double bassist Dennis Crouch, and T Bone himself, all musicians featured on Raising Sand, the 2009 Grammy® award-winning Album of the Year by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
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Nelson Gives Definition to "Country Music" with New Disc
T. Yap | Sydney, NSW, Australia | 04/20/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Prime Cuts: Man with the Blues, Seaman's Blues, Freight Train Boogie
Without a doubt, Willie Nelson is the singer's singer. Whilst many artists abide religiously to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" adage for fear of being ostracized by their hardcore fans and commercial radio, Nelson is blessed with a large enough and diverse fan base that marketability is immaterial to him. Thus, this country outlaw had the liberty of cross pollinating genres over the course of his illustrious career with albums of standards ("Stardust" and "American Standards"), reggae ("Countryman"), blues ("Milk Cow Blues"), Western swing ("Willie and the Wheel"), commercial country ("Born for Trouble"), children songs ("Rainbows"), jazz ("Two Men with the Blues") and pop/rock ("Across the Great Divide"). Yet, despite the diversity of musical styles, it is Willie Nelson's signature often off beat vocals that provide the identity amongst these albums. This time round Nelson had returned back to his mother milk of music: solid old-fashioned country with lots of fiddles and pedal steel at the fore. Thanks are due to foresight of Rounder Records (a company known for keeping the traditionalism of country music alive) of signing Nelson to its roaster. And also kudos are appropriate to producer T Bone Bennett who has genes so embedded in the rustic side of music that everything he touches (including Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's "Raising Sand" and the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou") have become touch stones of country music. Nelson's "Country Music" looks like its heading in such a lofty direction with a galore of awards waiting in the wings.
While the term "country music" is so fluid that few dare to even attempt to give definition to it. By entitling this disc "Country Music," the fearless Nelson tacitly defines it via these 15 tracks. For Nelson, country music is lyrically driven to tell the narratives of the human predicament. With his weathered-worn vocals with the occasional cracks, Nelson brings a sense of believability to Ernest Tubb's evergreen "Seaman's Blues." Reek with nostalgia, heartbreak and homesickness, Nelson tells this narrative ballad of a broken hearted seaman whose heart still longs for his sweetheart in Texas whilst travelling on a tanker to Italy. "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down" clearly confronts the problem of evil head on as Nelson imbues this traditional Gospel number with a southern almost accapella starkness. With a laidback rootsy feel that calls back to mind the works of Soggy Bottom Boys is the oft-covered "I Am a Pilgrim." Though written all those years ago, Merle Travis' "Dark as the Dungeon" still resonates with a haunting ache as Nelson describes the abject cry of struggling miners on this country classic.
As the broken heart is the linchpin of the genre, Nelson really does country music proud with his entries here. Calling to mind Willie Nelson's self-composed "Mr. Record Man" "Man with the Blues" is another Nelson original with the same easy flowing melody over a rustic backing of some delightful sounding fiddles and steel guitars. The self-depreciating "Gotta Walk Alone" brings back the days of George Jones and Hank Williams Sr. Where country music allows you to feel a broken heart rather than just singing about it. Speaking of the Ol' Hank, Nelson gives Hank's "House of Gold" a reverential reading with an old fashioned haunting echo to it. Yet, not all works, Hazel Houser's "My Baby's Gone" is given a decelerated reading making the song drags on and on. While on the classic "Satisfied Mind" Nelson sounds disenchanted as if he was bored singing. And George Jones and Ray Price's "You Done Me Wrong" gets an unadventurous treatment coming across as a mandatory rather than a vital delivery. Yet not everything is laidback, "Freight Train Boogie," with its gorgeous harmonica introduction, finds Nelson back on the railway tracks of life and vitality as he rocks with a youthful charm.
Truly these 15 tracks define country music in ways that are satisfactorily poignant. Be it heartbreak or struggling miners or spirituality or the meaning of life, these tracks offer questions as well as answers that are often thought provoking, heartfelt and moving. And this, in a nutshell, is what country music is all about. Willie Nelson has not only defined country music with this new disc, but he is in many ways the embodiment of country music.
This is the best country music I have heard in a long time.
Robert G Yokoyama | Mililani, Hawaii | 04/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love Willie's latest effort. My favorite track is "Pistol Packing Mama". This is a song originally done by Al Dexter. I have never heard of this song, so it is new to me. Riley Bungus does an excellent job playing the banjo here. All the musicians sound great on this disc. This song is very upbeat. "Drinking Champagne" has a very pretty tone and a romantic feel to it. This is a song originally done by Bill Mack, but Willie has the ability to make this song and so many others on this disc his own. "Man With The Blues" is a fun song that makes me feel good. "Freight Train Boogie" is an upbeat song with superb harmonica playing. Dennis Crouch provides good sound on the upright bass on the track "Nobody's Fault But Mine". "My Baby's Gone" is a song with a sad tone to it, but it sounds beautifully with Willie's vocals. "Ocean of Diamonds" is a pretty song. I love the steel guitar playing on this track. This song puts me in a good mood. "Satisfied Mind" is a comtemplative song originally done by Johnny Cash. This is the best country music I have heard in a long time. Every track sounds new and fresh."
Willie Nelson's musical interests know no bounds - and he's
Steven I. Ramm | Phila, PA USA | 05/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I noted that another reviewer called the "The Real Willie", but I have to disagree. Nelson knows almost no bounds in his interest in musical styles (well, so far he hasn't tackled Opera!). Like Johnny Cash, Nelson loves all kinds of music, not that he's always adept at carrying it off. (His duets with Wynton Marsalis on their jazz CD is an example. Nelson tries but spends most of his time adding to support to Marsalis and his band on that project.). On this CD, one of my favorites - as well as the Western Swing one he did about a year ago with Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel - Nelson is in his element and his playing is upfront with the other musicians.
The fact that Willie is on Rounder - until it was recently purchased by Concord Music Group on its 40th Anniversary - one of the last of the independent labels, is testament that he knows a passionately run label when he sees it.
Nelson's choice of musicians also shows he knows where the best ones are. With Buddy Miller on nearly every track and Jim Lauderdale on backing vocals, he's supported by fine company. His voice perfectly matches the songs - both the standards like "I Am A Pilgrim" and "Dark as A Dungeon" fit nicely with the leadoff track "Man With The Blues" - a Nelson-penned piece.
Who knows what direction this "Red Headed Stranger" will take next - or even what label he'll pop up on - but I'm sure going along for the ride. So should you.