The review of "Country Music" begins:
With his gut string acoustic guitar, much-admired vocal phrasing and top-notch country back-up band, Willie Nelson has joined with legendary producer T Bone Burnett - a fellow Texan - to create “Country Music.” It is surprising that as a country performer who has recorded over 100 albums, he insists that this is his first bluegrass album (according to the country music website cmt.com).
Later, I talk about his rendition of "Gotta Walk Alone":
At 77, Willie Nelson’s voice retains that unique quality that caresses and growls at you, while molding the bars with his own finesse. Nowhere is that more engaging than on the cut "Gotta Walk Alone." For a man who has spent most of his life on the road on tour and living in his bus - leaving behind his four wives and nine children - it sums up the way he endures:
It’s a long and lonesome road;
I’ve got to walk alone.
Don’t know where. Don’t even care.
I just keep walkin’ on and on.
The piece on Carole King's double album "The Essential Carole King" starts here:
This recently-released double-CD reminds listeners of why Carole King is one of the most highly respected singer-songwriters in the business. One disc contains her own recordings of 18 songs she wrote. The other disc gives us 15 songs by artists whose careers were enhanced by their opportunity to record a Carole King creation.
As a writer, King’s songs - often done in collaboration with Gerry Goffin (they were married for a period of time) - have remained standards in a number of genres from R&B to pop. As part of the stable of songwriters working for Don Kirshner’s Aldon Music in the legendary Brill Building in NYC, she fed a plethora of singers their hits. From The Shirelles’ "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" in 1959 to "Just Once in My Life" the 1965 hit for the Righteous Brothers to Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit "A Natural Woman," King has proven herself to be one of the most successful musicians of the last century.
For me Carole King is a flash from the past so it is wonderful to see that her present tour with James Taylor is such a huge success. Willie Nelson, on the other hand, is someone I’ve been consistenly following for a very long time. In fact, I just blogged about him going on Larry King’s show stoned a couple of weeks ago.