By J.P. Kallio
When Willie Nelson sings, I listen. Throughout his career this living legend has dabbled in so many different types of music it is almost amazing that we still recognize him as an outlaw country legend. But that’s what he is and no one can never take that away from him. Willie’s new album Band of Brothers is a follow up to his last album that only came out eight months before. To all the girls… was an album of duets Willie sang with some of the most influential female country singers of our times. Even though it was a great album, it would be something you would expect from an eighty years of age artist, who has been there and done it all. But Willie was never one to do things the way others would expect, so only eight months later, he brings out the Band of Brothers that is largely written by him and his producer Buddy Cannon.
This album is nothing short of a masterpiece and far from showing any signs of the man “slowing down”. In the albums opening track Bring It On, he sings out “Bring it on, just another storm in the sea” Like he was ready for the doubters who would try to say it was a time to hang up the guitar and take it easy. Willie comes across as one of those characters who just could not imagine calling it a day. He is a road warrior in the truest sense of the word. Guitar In The Corner to me is a song for the one and only guitar “Trigger” (a Martin M-20) that Willie has played and plays beautifully throughout this album. The album’s first single The Wall, tells the story of his writing block, and how he got over it. Even though the songwriter in Willie is obviously on full swing again, he also is good at picking other artists’ songs to complete the album. Tracks like Whenever You Come Around, The Git Go (which also feature Jamey Johnson) Hard To Be An Outlaw, Crazy Like Me and The Songwriter shows how Willie can take a song and make is his own. Wives And Girlfriends and I Thought I Left You shows the man has not lost his wit and sense of humor. My personal favourites are The Git Go, Hard To Be An Outlaw and The Songwriters.
The album is very much a statement that Willie Nelson has not gone anywhere just yet. Band of Brothers is a mature album without a doubt. Willies singing voice and playing is in great form and the backing band lays that foot tapping rolling train sound that we have come to expect from Willie. And throughout the album there is still that rebel peaking his head out now and again.
J.P. Kallio is a singer / songwriter / coffee aficionado