Ol' Willie has made records like this before, but the highpoints of It Always Will Be rank with some of his most realized, subtle, and sublime work. You'd have turn to the timeless "Always on My Mind" for a Nelson ballad a... more »s moving as the title track. When he surrenders the songwriting chores to Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits, and even Toby Keith (whose working-class ballad "Tired" devastates), he sings with his unmistakable, harrowing vibrato and arranges with his gift for down-to-earth, acoustic-based country majesty. The cameos from Norah Jones and Williams feel relaxed and unaffected, and the band--hired guns from Nashville plus Nelson's longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael--swings hard, adding a bit of richness to his tried-and-true Texas sound. Few artists in their twilight have lived up to, if not extended, their legacy like Willie Nelson has. --Roy Kasten« less
Ol' Willie has made records like this before, but the highpoints of It Always Will Be rank with some of his most realized, subtle, and sublime work. You'd have turn to the timeless "Always on My Mind" for a Nelson ballad as moving as the title track. When he surrenders the songwriting chores to Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits, and even Toby Keith (whose working-class ballad "Tired" devastates), he sings with his unmistakable, harrowing vibrato and arranges with his gift for down-to-earth, acoustic-based country majesty. The cameos from Norah Jones and Williams feel relaxed and unaffected, and the band--hired guns from Nashville plus Nelson's longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael--swings hard, adding a bit of richness to his tried-and-true Texas sound. Few artists in their twilight have lived up to, if not extended, their legacy like Willie Nelson has. --Roy Kasten
Oh, Willie Nelson, how I love your voice! The smooth lyrics, gravelly voice and emotion emanating from each song are the essence of a true artist. We hear more true feelings from Willie's voice than almost any other recording artist. We know he is there, singing from his heart. We appreciate Willie Nelson more each day.
"It Always Will Be" is the CD that tops Willie's long career. He has a mix of old time and new time and future time. The title song is a ballad in the true Willie style and will be sung again and again. It resonates like his popular song"You Are Always On My Mind". Tom Waits song "Picture In A Frame" is memorable from Willie's style. And what a treat to have Tom Waits music sung by our Willie. "Dreams Come True" sung with Norah Jones will be a favorite, as it is mine. Willie discovered Norah's voice and mixed it in with the new country that is Willie. "Overtime" sung with Lucinda Williams is one of my favorite songs on this CD. Lovely melody and the duo of Lucinda and Willie bring chills. "Tired" from Toby Keith is as country as they come. "Texas" is my favorite song- it sounds like Willie of old days; it has that lilting melody we love. "Midnight Rider" with Toby Keith is the true country western song with the guitars twanging and boots stomping. What a treat!
Willie Nelson is a treasure... He has become our voice of country. A talented writer and extraordinary voice mixed with his "outlaw' nature and you have a true American Icon. This CD is one to be remembered and treasured along with Willie. Highly Recommended. prisrob
Brandon J. Smith | Philadelphia, PA | 10/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I heard Willie'd covered Tom Waits's "Picture in a Frame," and this was Willie's best CD since Teatro, I started getting excited for this cd. Willie's great, but, let's face it, not all of his CDs are great all the way through. Red-headed Stranger, Teatro - those are great all the way through. And this one? Well, it may not be a masterpiece, but it's quite an excellent album, from start to finish.
Just knowing that he'd covered "Picture in a Frame," I could hear in my head what he'd do, and I was pretty close in my imagination. Willie's got that special something that can't be mistaken. And that's why a "great" Willie Nelson album is better than a "great" album by another artist. I simply cannot imagine a Willie Nelson fan being disappointed by this cd.
(An interesting side-note: The back of the cd case has printed rather largely at the bottom not only an FBI warning, but an "DBI anti-Piracy" stamp symbol. Is it just me, or isn't Willie a pot-smoking outlaw? Is the prominent FBI stamp a marker of strange bedfellows, or is Willie saying, "Here's the FBI stamp - no do whatever you want anyway, just like I do!") (And a final sidenote: The album cover is a rather stunning photograph of the legend with his guitar. One of the great album covers of the past five years or more.)"
Strong writing from living legend Willie & others
William Merrill | San Antonio, TX United States | 10/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After the recent death of Willie Nelson's friend Ray Charles, I thought of Willie and wondered how much longer we'd have him around. I hope it's for several more years, because his new CD is another strong release. It's been billed as Nelson's "return to country" - although I'm not sure he ever left - and it contains a lot of pure, solid American music. The album certainly does have a strong country music flavor. The opening cut (title track) is a classic Willie Nelson ballad in the tradition of some of his greatest tunes of the past, and "My Broken Heart Belongs To You" is another great "tears in beer" weeper. I also liked many of the songs by others, including his romp on the juicy bar tune "I Didn't Come Here (And I Ain't Leavin')," which features some excellent playing from the backing band. Willie's duet with Norah Jones is also a delight. There are just a couple of flat points on the new disc, and I will skip the Paula Nelson song on future listens, but otherwise It Will Always Be is a thoroughly enjoyable CD."
Credit Well Earned
Erik J. Fortmeyer | Brooklyn, NY USA | 03/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review is written by a fellow from the suburbs and urban regions of New York City, not exactly a bastion of Country and Western music. But let me give credit where credit is due: "It Always Will Be" is a stunning album. I mostly remember Willie from his outlaw days with Waylon Jennings over twenty years ago and occasionally hear in the news that he is still active in Farm-Aid. I recently have become exposed to Americana Country music through a Texas radio station on the Web called KHYI and have found myself profoundly impressed by what I have heard. The schlock mass-market "country" of Shania Twain and the like is not the only country music out there, much to my great relief! KHYI has been playing several songs from this album since it came out at the end of 2004 centered around the very humorous "Big Booty" cut about a "large" girlfriend giving her "skinny" boyfriend the boot. It has sent my toes a tapping everytime I hear it. They also play a true new Willie classic on par with anything he has ever done in the form of the title cut "It Always Will Be". This slow ballad will raise goosebumps the size of golfballs on your skin listening to his lyrics, guitaring, and delivery. It doesn't get much better than this in any form of music. "I Didn't Come Here (And I Ain't Leavin')" is a heroic honky-tonk crowd pleaser while "Midnight Rider" does the same with more of a rock and roll pace with help from Toby Keith. There are also three duets on here with Paula Nelson, Norah Jones, and Lucinda Williams that are intimate, small setting lounge classics. Jazz and true country never sounded better. This CD runs 52 minutes long over 14 songs and there truly is not a single weak cut on it. Willie has put several exclamation points near the end of his long career with this album. It is not getting near as much airplay as it should due to Nashville's dislike for anything that does not originate with it's "good tastes", ie. Americana Texas based Country (and WESTERN!). Amazon has clips from all 14 cuts from this album above so, give a few listens if you are not sure. This truly is one of the best albums so far of the 21st Century."
Review from the Synthesis
Synthesis_jason | Chico, CA | 06/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The latest Willie Nelson album is a mostly mellow affair comprised of original material, three duets and a couple choice covers. The Nelson-penned "Texas" expresses his love for the Lone Star State with a fitting Tex-Mex mix of country pedal steel moaning over a south-of-the-border beat while a guitar dances between the two influences. Things get jazzy on "Dreams Come True," a piano-based duet with Norah Jones. A harmonica adds character to an earnest cover of "Picture in a Frame" by Tom Waits, and Greg Allman's "Midnight Rider" finally gets things moving on a closing track that could have been written especially for Willie. Highly recommended for you and your horse.