It Always Will Be
First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2004, Volume 11, #12
Written by John Metzger
In 1998, Willie Nelson released the picture-perfect Teatro, and while his latest endeavor It Always Will Be isn’t quite as magnificent an affair, it certainly is a vast improvement over the addled, guest-laden diversions that have poured forth from the country legend with disturbing regularity over the course of the past few years. Not that Nelson completely forsakes these unfortunate distractions on his new effort, either. This time, however — save for his misguided collaboration with daughter Paula, a rampaging romp through Gregg Allman’s Midnight Rider, and an odd cover of Sonny Throckmorton’s innuendo-laden Big Booty — there’s decidedly less of an attempt to make his unique style fit within a contemporaneous environment. Instead, such modern-day luminaries as Lucinda Williams and Norah Jones meet the Red Headed Stranger on his own turf — the former acting out the painstaking heartache of Overtime; the latter lending her smoky, jazz club charm to Dreams Come True — while Nelson not only discovers the heart and soul beneath the surface of red-state redneck Toby Keith’s Tired, but he also successfully transforms it into an anthem for the world-weary working class. Even better is the manner in which he presents Tom Waits’ Picture in a Frame as a pristine distillation of its country essence, masterfully surfs the rustic refrains of The Way You See Me, and tackles the title track with his typically eloquent and understated elegance. In other words, Nelson finally has returned to making music as only he can: graceful, lovely, affecting, and timeless. ˝
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box