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Various Artists

Twisted Willie – 1996 (Justice)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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In an age of tribute albums, this may be the most intriguing one yet. It's a collection of 16 Willie Nelson songs, sung mostly by punk, alternative or grunge rock bands, and each consistent with that bands' own style. Willie Nelson is an American icon. What else would explain such a project as this? Most songs are from Willie's early days, including "Shotgun Willie," "Angel Flying Too Close Too To The Ground," "I Gotta Get Drunk," "Bloody Mary Morning," "Hello Walls" and "Time of The Preacher." Bands and artists paying tribute to Willie include The Reverend Horton Heat, X, L7, Tenderloin, Supersuckers and Steel Pole Bath Tub. These bands are not exactly mainstream rock bands, just as Willie Nelson has never really been a mainstream country musician. The concept of the album is rebels paying tribute to rebel. Willie's Highwaymen buddies, Johnny Cash, WaylonJennings and Kris Kristofferson also make appearances. "Twisted Willie" is not a country record, but is worth a listen if you appreciate Nelsons' songs and the universality of his musical spirit.