There's nothing particularly original to this album - an old geezer growls his way through 14 songs, whilst his harmonica playing buddy parbs along, all supported by some fine session musicians. But it's just about flippin' perfect!
A new Willie Nelson album is always something to celebrate and this one is no exception. Rather like his album of standards from some years back, "Stardust", and his more recent collection of Cindy Walker songs, "You Don't Know Me", this album gives us 14 classic country songs performed as only Willie can. It's a mix of well known and more obscure tracks and features a number of songs he's recorded in the past, including another version of Kris Kristofferson's classic "Sunday Morning Coming Down" (at least the third time he's recorded it by my reckoning!). Any album that includes both "Sunday Morning" and "Today I Started Loving You Again", not only two of the greatest country songs but two of the greatest songs ever written in any genre to my mind, can't be bad! Add to that playful versions of "This Old House", "Roly Poly", and "Smoke That Cigarette", and sensitive takes on "Release Me" and "That Just About Does It", and you have an almost flawless package.
The playing and production throughout is fantastic. Some of the names of the musicians are new to me but the guitar, steel, and piano are all so good I look forward to searching out these great players to hear more!
The sessions where these tracks were recorded yielded more than 30 songs and there's another volume due to be released next year. If they're as good as these then it's something to look forward to!