Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Song: Hallelujah
Artist: Willie Nelson
Album: Songbird

My parents were really into Willie Nelson while I was growing up so I have a certain amount of nostalgic fondness for the man and his music. He was, and remains, and oddball within the genre of country. Never fitting the red state mentality of the majority of country artists, Willie has always been a hippie at heart. A very vocal supporter and user of bio-diesel as well as umm… “the herb” Willie unfortunately is known more as a personality rather than the amazing songwriter that he is.

Now in his fifth decade as a writer and performer, Willie has been responsible for some very important songs throughout his career. His “Always on My Mind” remains the definitive version of the song, his “Crazy” gave Patsy Cline the biggest jukebox song of all time (although I am not 100% sure if that record still stands.) He has consistently been recording and touring throughout his career and remains, despite being a little “different” a true country legend.

“Songbird,” produced by prolific indie rock staple Ryan Adams comes out at the end of this month. It is mostly covers, with one track written by Adams for the album, as well as two originals from Willie. It’s a great moody record that seems like vintage Nelson, more in line with his 70’s output than anything recent.

“Hallelujah,” as always, is just beautiful. I say always because this is now the fifth version of this song I have and the third to come out in the last four years. Leonard Cohen’s song was first covered by Jeff Buckley on his modern classic “Grace,” then by Rufus Wainwright for the Shrek Soundtrack, and most recently by k.d. lang for her covers record “Hymns of the 49th Parallel.” Rufus’ remains my favorite, more so because I just love his voice, but all the others are very good as well.

If you like “Stardust” era Willie I would very much recommend “Songbird.”


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

another cover which is interesting is Bono sounding very zooropaish, for th tribute cd tower of song: The songs of Leonard Cohen.