10 Songs, 31 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It seems fair to say that Feeling Mortal isn't the album Kris Kristofferson would’ve recorded at the start of his career—there’s a seasoned wisdom in its tracks that can only come with age. At 76, the veteran singer/songwriter has a lot to say about coping with time and heartache, as well as the satisfaction of living a life on one’s own terms. With a voice both time-worn and resilient, Kristofferson looks at death with a mix of acceptance and gratitude in the title track. “Bread for the Body” and “You Don’t Tell Me What to Do” are defiant outlaw anthems, balanced by the unsparing self-portraiture of “Stairway to the Bottom” and “Just Suppose.” From finely wrought character sketches like “Mama Stewart” to moody folk narratives like “Castaway,” Kristofferson proves himself a master of his craft. Producer Don Was sparingly embellishes the songs with backing from steel guitarist Greg Leisz and violinist/vocalist Sara Watkins, among other notables. The album closes with “Ramblin’ Jack,” a toast to folk legend Ramblin’ Jack Elliott that also shines a light on Kristofferson’s own uncompromising ethic as a musician.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It seems fair to say that Feeling Mortal isn't the album Kris Kristofferson would’ve recorded at the start of his career—there’s a seasoned wisdom in its tracks that can only come with age. At 76, the veteran singer/songwriter has a lot to say about coping with time and heartache, as well as the satisfaction of living a life on one’s own terms. With a voice both time-worn and resilient, Kristofferson looks at death with a mix of acceptance and gratitude in the title track. “Bread for the Body” and “You Don’t Tell Me What to Do” are defiant outlaw anthems, balanced by the unsparing self-portraiture of “Stairway to the Bottom” and “Just Suppose.” From finely wrought character sketches like “Mama Stewart” to moody folk narratives like “Castaway,” Kristofferson proves himself a master of his craft. Producer Don Was sparingly embellishes the songs with backing from steel guitarist Greg Leisz and violinist/vocalist Sara Watkins, among other notables. The album closes with “Ramblin’ Jack,” a toast to folk legend Ramblin’ Jack Elliott that also shines a light on Kristofferson’s own uncompromising ethic as a musician.

TITLE TIME
3:16
3:21
2:57
3:34
3:35
3:23
2:23
2:40
2:23
3:45

About Kris Kristofferson

Even before he became a leading man in the '70s, Kris Kristofferson had already lived a life worthy of a movie. After rising to the rank of captain, the Brownsville, Texas-born Kristofferson left the army life behind in the mid-'60s to break into Nashville’s song factory, eventually working his way into Johnny Cash’s good graces while serving as a janitor at Columbia Recording Studios. But while Cash would turn the aspiring songwriter’s “Sunday Mornin' Comin’ Down” into a countrypolitan classic, Kristofferson’s crafty blend of down-and-out realism and sly, dark humor would resonate far beyond Music City: Janis Joplin ushered his hitchhiker saga “Me and Bobby McGee” into the rock canon; Gladys Knight & The Pips melted down the folksy ballad “Help Me Make It Through the Night” into smoldering, orchestral soul. And on his own '70s solo releases, Kristofferson’s unvarnished, plainspoken vocals proved every bit as compelling as his lived-in narratives, whether shining a harsh light on the booze-stenched starving-artist existence with “To Beat the Devil” or exquisitely reminiscing about an old flame on “Jody and the Kid” with a subtle grace worthy of Leonard Cohen. Kristofferson’s unwavering affinity for the raw and the real would earn him entry into the ultimate outlaw-country supergroup, the Highwaymen, where he stood alongside Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson as gatekeepers of old-school authenticity in a genre that was becoming increasingly commercialized.

  • ORIGIN
    Brownsville, TX
  • GENRE
    Country
  • BORN
    June 22, 1936

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