Rollin' and Smokin' With Ol' Willie
Another aural treadmill traverse tonight, this time striding with the quintessential Country rhythms of Willie Nelson’s recent, glorious album Heroes. At 79, Willie is still crooning out the most sublime songs with a little bit of outlaw sensibility here and there [Roll Me Up] and with classic Country melody. Synonym son Lukas offers support throughout – and it is a more dynamic duo than when Willie supports on his boy’s albums – and there is further help provided by the likes of Merle Haggard, Snoop Dog [with smoking proclivities rather than any Country affiliations], Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Ray Price and others.
Opener A Horse Called Music is a gorgeous cowboy lament with Merle Haggard, and next Roll Me Up [and smoke me before I die] keeps the proceedings lively and irreverent. There is a clutch of beautiful lovelorn songs, like third That’s All There Is To The Song. Fourth No Place To Fly is another painful love confession and the father/son singing of the Nelsons resonates with the varying experience of loss and how to tug us along with the sorryful narrative. This is followed by the two again on Every Time He Drinks He Thinks of Her [but every morning her memory fades away], so more from the heartache of such familiar themes.
Sixth track Tom Wait’s Come On Up To The House, sung as a superb Country gospel, sees Crow providing emotive female vocal support, and it might have been endorphins aroused by the brisk walking [my back is too fucked to run anymore] but I had goose bumps listening to this on full volume to drown out the treadmill’s noisy swirl. Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe sits more comfortably within this whole album than on its own, but I struggle with the cover of Coldplay’s The Scientist, but that is largely down to my antipathy to their latter work. But with lines like Come on back Jesus and pick up John Wayne on the way from Come On Back Jesus, the Country ideology is, thankfully, the predominant feature of this wonderful album.