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It Always Will Be

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Album Review

On his millionth album (or does it just feel that way?), Willie Nelson teams with a new band — except for Family Band harmonicat Mickey Raphael — and duets with some major leaguers. Most of the time, It Always Will Be feels like a Willie album of old. Recorded for the Lost Highway label and produced by James Stroud in Nash Vegas, it's an inspired collection of fine songs for the most part, and Nelson is in fine voice with the edges beginning to show just a tiny bit. He wrote the title cut, one of the strongest here. Lyrically, it's tender without being overly sentimental, sweet without being saccharine, and delivered with his trademark elegance and grace. The cover of Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan's "Picture in a Frame," though faithful, puts Nelson's stamp firmly on it. With Raphael's harmonica, Willie's acoustic, and a skeletal band featuring an understated pedal steel, Nelson's dignity in the delivery is deeply moving. When he's this on fire, the only place he usually blows it is in duets — at least on his own records. There are duets here. "Be That As It May," with daughter Paula and written by her, is just a gorgeous country song. The pair's voices contrast beautifully and the tune itself is tight and hooky in a Texas country music way. "Dreams Come True," with Norah Jones, is a pretty swing tune that is forgettable but far from offensive, and Lucinda Williams is the star on her own "Overtime." Willie and Lucinda were made to sing together; the melancholy of the tune lends itself well to her whiskey contralto and his easy baritone. The tune sweetly drifts and lilts with swaying guitars, an accordion, and whispering brushwork. Toby Keith makes an appearance singing background vocals on his "Tired," but Nelson makes the song his own. Nelson's "Texas" is a wonderful mariachi blues song that gives way to bittersweet Southwestern honky tonk balladry and showcases his excellent guitar work. The set closes with the album's only dog, a big-beat over-produced dancy punch-up of Gregg Allman's classic "Midnight Rider." It sucks bad. Why this song made the cut is a mystery, but it's a typical thing for Nelson, to add something that just doesn't fit. Thankfully, it's the album's final song and can be skipped. Be that as it may, It Always Will Be is the best outing for Nelson since Teatro.

Customer Reviews

Wonderful

I wish Willie would only sing his own songs. Besides the tune, "Tired", the best songs are the ones he wrote. This is the closest thing to the "Spirit" album. Willie keeps getting better. The old saying, "The violin sounds better with age" is so true when it comes to the red headed stranger.

Color in a grey world.

If you like musical history at all, you will love this. It is truley a masterpiece. (I'm trying to get him to sign my banjo).

Buy this!

I'm a pretty big Willie Nelson fan...and this is my favorite album of them all. It doesn't get a lot of attention, and i'm not sure why. I can listen to this whole album over and over again.

Biography

Born: April 30, 1933 in Fort Worth, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As a songwriter and a performer, Willie Nelson played a vital role in post-rock & roll country music. Although he didn't become a star until the mid-'70s, Nelson spent the '60s writing songs that became hits for stars like Ray Price ("Night Life"), Patsy Cline ("Crazy"), Faron Young ("Hello Walls"), and Billy Walker ("Funny How Time Slips Away") as well as releasing a series of records on Liberty and RCA that earned him a small but devoted cult following. During the early '70s, Willie aligned...
Full Bio