In House #1735: Willie Nelson's Songbird
It's not every week, or even every month, that we're greeted with new music from an icon. Color us lucky, I guess-- on the heels of Bob Dylan's September release and in front of Tom Waits' Orphans in November comes the latest from Willie Nelson out tomorrow. Songbird finds Nelson produced by Ryan Adams in addition to being backed by Adams' Cardinals over the course of eleven tracks, including well-selected covers, reworkings of some older originals, and a new thing or two. The result is easily Nelson's best effort since 1998's Teatro, which saw him working with Daniel Lanois and Emmylou Harris. In this case, Adams seems the perfect choice to produce Nelson as he plays toward a sound that is classic but updated, understated but packing a muscle that hasn't been heard in Nelson's music for a while, if ever. The covers here, particularly the rather astounding reinventions of Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird," and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," are the album's gems-- a solid version of Gram Parsons' "$1000 Wedding," among others, is also included. In short, it's a refreshing late career highlight from one of the greatest living creators of American music. It's Willie Nelson as he should be heard: no gimmicks, no Toby Keith appearances, just an icon doing what he does best.
In House #1735.
Focus: New release from Willie Nelson, Songbird, plus new music from Jerry Lee Lewis, Micky & the Motorcars, The Be Good Tanyas, Joan Osborne, and more.
Willie Nelson, from Songbird: "Songbird" (MP3)
In House PODCAST #198