Willie Nelson: Jim Herrington
Jody Rosen
October 30, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

Songbird

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Willie Nelson
Producers
Lost Highway
genre
Country

We gave it an A-

America’s greatest living ballad singer is notoriously inconsistent — just listen to last year’s ghastly reggae experiment, Countryman. But Songbird, a collaboration with Ryan Adams (who produced and lent his backing band) is Willie Nelson’s finest in a decade. The sound is burly, surrounding his inimitable lilt with shuddering electric guitars. But the slow and stately stuff really sparkles, such as a weirdly menacing cover of ”Amazing Grace” and the new Nelson composition ”Back to Earth,” which proves the old troubadour can still write the best weepers around.

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