14 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though for the first two decades of his career Willie Nelson was known more as a writer of hits for other people, he was always an incredibly gifted interpretive singer himself. This 1993 collection features several Nelson originals alongside his twist on an eclectic collection of modern day songwriters from Paul Simon (“American Tune,” “Graceland”), Lyle Lovett (“Farther Down the Line,” “If I Were the Man You Wanted”) and Bob Dylan (“What Was It You Wanted?”) to Peter Gabriel, whose “Don’t Give Up” is sung as a duet with Sinead O’Connor and stands as the album’s unexpected triumph. Nelson does not adhere to country settings and uses whatever best serves the song. As a singer, Nelson enjoys nothing more than teasing a line for its innuendo and subtle meaning, stretching a syllable or putting in a less than dramatic pause to draw attention. He adds an uneasy alienation to “American Tune” and sounds almost overwhelmed by the tangled wordplay and conscience of John Hiatt’s “The Most Unoriginal Sin.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though for the first two decades of his career Willie Nelson was known more as a writer of hits for other people, he was always an incredibly gifted interpretive singer himself. This 1993 collection features several Nelson originals alongside his twist on an eclectic collection of modern day songwriters from Paul Simon (“American Tune,” “Graceland”), Lyle Lovett (“Farther Down the Line,” “If I Were the Man You Wanted”) and Bob Dylan (“What Was It You Wanted?”) to Peter Gabriel, whose “Don’t Give Up” is sung as a duet with Sinead O’Connor and stands as the album’s unexpected triumph. Nelson does not adhere to country settings and uses whatever best serves the song. As a singer, Nelson enjoys nothing more than teasing a line for its innuendo and subtle meaning, stretching a syllable or putting in a less than dramatic pause to draw attention. He adds an uneasy alienation to “American Tune” and sounds almost overwhelmed by the tangled wordplay and conscience of John Hiatt’s “The Most Unoriginal Sin.”

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