by: Devin Grant
One could spend countless hours debating which American artists belong in the upper echelon of the songwriting greats. Names such as George and Ira Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Irving Berlin from the Great American Songbook would be obvious choices, as would more recent songsmiths such as John Prine, Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt.
Whatever your taste in music, I maintain that if Willie Nelson is left out of the conversation, then something is horribly wrong.
In an age where the term “legend” gets thrown around way too flippantly, Nelson definitely deserves the label. Heck, he could have stopped after writing “Crazy” and have been remembered fondly by millions for that single feat.
Thankfully, Nelson has never rested, and is now in his sixth decade of writing and recording music.
Nelson’s latest, “Heroes,” is mostly what one might expect from the country legend, although at one year shy of 80, Willie still has a few tricks up his sleeve. The biggest surprise on the new album is probably the fact that Nelson convinced rapper Snoop Dogg to sing with him on the tongue-in-cheek “Roll Me Up.” Snoop actually doesn’t do a half-bad job of channeling his inner cowboy on the track.
Elsewhere, there are great songs in the styles of Western swing (“My Window Faces the South”), outlaw country (“Every Time He Drinks He Thinks of Her”) and country gospel (“Come On Up to the House”).
Besides Snoop, guests on the album include Sheryl Crow, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Price, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson, as well as Nelson’s sons Lucas and Micah.
After nearly 60 years of writing and recording, Nelson shows no sign of slowing down.
Key Tracks: “A Horse Called Music,” “Come On Up to the House,” “My Window Faces the South”
read review here.
1. “A Horse Called Music”Merle Haggard & Lukas Nelson
2. “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die”Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson
3. “That’s All There Is To This Song”
4. “No Place To Fly”Lukas Nelson
5. “Every Time He Drinks He Thinks Of Her” Lukas Nelson
6. “Come On Up To The House”Lukas Nelson & Sheryl Crow
7. “Hero”Billy Joe Shaver, Jamey Johnson8. “My Window Faces The South”Lukas Nelson
9. “The Sound Of Your Memory”Lukas Nelson
10. “Cold War With You”Lukas Nelson & Ray Price
11. “Just Breathe”Lukas Nelson
12. “My Home In San Antone”Lukas Nelson
13. “Come On Back Jesus”Lukas Nelson & Micah Nelson
14. “The Scientist”