Willie Nelson “Teatro” Old Review (1998)

 

This is an old review of  Teatro, my favorite Willie Nelson album, next to Red Headed Stranger.  What a great album.  If you haven’t heard it lately, dig it out.  It’s so beautiful.

First Appeared at The Music Box, April 1998, Volume 5,  

Written by John Metzger 

Last year, Daniel Lanois produced a captivating, magical album for Bob Dylan that topped just about everyone’s year-end list. This year, Lanois’ touch graces Willie Nelson’s Teatro with similar effect.

Last year, Daniel Lanois produced a captivating, magical album for that topped just about everyone’s year-end list. This year, Lanois’ touch graces with similar effect.Nelson has never really needed any help capturing the emptiness of a broken relationship. His voice has always creaked with a world-weary, heartbreaking loneliness, and his song titles alone are enough to tug at one’s heartstrings. Nevertheless, Lanois’ typically big, open sound and echoing drum beats make many of the songs on Teatro sound more solitary than ever.  Throughout the disc, Nelson travels through the various stages of a disintegrating romance and examines them from many different angles. On My Own Peculiar Way, he admits that everything isn’t quite right, but pledges his love in an attempt to hold his relationship together. He begins to come to terms with the relationship’s demise on I’ve Just Destroyed the World, and he realizes that he was just as much to blame for its dissolution. On Somebody Pick Up My Pieces, he cries for assistance in reassembling his life, and he seeks salvation on a fiery version of Lanois’ The Maker.

While Nelson’s lyrics may be dark and desperate, at times the music bubbles almost gleefully. He allows his acoustic guitar to sing amidst the colorful rhythms of his band, and many of the songs carry a Latin-tinged country flair.  Many years ago, Nelson gave up on Nashville and founded the outlaw-country movement. Today, the music coming out of Nashville is worse than ever, but it’s refreshing to see that at nearly 70, Nelson is still churning out great albums.

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