Willie Nelson: Moonlight Becomes You

New Country
June 1993

At 61, Willie Nelson has reached a point in his career where he can do just about anything he pleases.  And with Moonlight Becomes You, his new album on Texas independent justice Records, that’s just about what he’s done.

Moonlight Becomes You collects some of Nelson’s favorite songs — a couple of them his own, but most of them standards like, “Sentimental Journey,” “Have I Stayed Away Too Long” and “You Always Hurt the One You Love.”  The title track, written by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Hausen, lightly swings with the graceful piano lines of Paul Schmitt.

As always, the Country Music Hall of Famer is a musical maverick.  But what makes Moonlight Becomes You so unusual isn’t the music — he’d recorded a similar album, Stardust, in 1978 and sold millions of copies — but the label for which he recorded it.  Nelson had recorded his last 36 albums for Columbia Records — except for a television-marketed record to pay off tax debts.  But after the critical acclaimed ‘Across the Borderline received, Nelson’s contract with the label had ended, and Nelson took the album to Justice Records.  (The Moonlight sessions also produced an instrumental album, Nacogdoches Waltz, for Nelson’s friend Paul Buskirk.)

Nelson is no stranger to classics.  He’s written plenty of his own, including ‘Night Life’ and ‘Crazy’ which glide easily over any border between country and jazz.  Whether he’s singing his own songs, ‘December Day’ or ‘In God’s Eyes,’ or somebody else’s, by the time Moonlight Becomes You’ ends, those boundaries have all disappeared.

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