Willie Nelson - Spirit
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Spirit (Island, 1999)

Willie Nelson

Reviewed by Chuck Hamilton

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, a Willie Nelson album is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get. He has the rare ability to cross categorical lines, yet still have his feet firmly planted in country. Nelson, too old to be a hunk-of-the-month and too young to quit singing and playing, has come up with another winner, a collection of self-penned songs, done with spare arrangements that are the antithesis of the overproduced fodder of country radio. It's just Willie, joined by Johnny Gimble on fiddle, Jody Payne playing bass, and sister Bobbie on piano. This is not quite a concept album like "Stanger," but most songs deal with relationships, with the opposite sex and with the Almighty (both of which have their share of difficulties). "Too Sick to Pray" and "I'm Waiting Forever" are two of the better tracks, but Nelson, who can coax more music out of a weatherbeaten voice and a beat-up Martin guitar than just about anyone, remains consistent throughout the other 11 cuts as well. Picking up a line or a phrase you might have missed the first time, this is an album you'll want to listen to time and time again.

CDs by Willie Nelson

That's Life, 2021 First Rose of Spring, 2020 Ride Me Back Home, 2019 My Way, 2018 Last Man Standing, 2018 Willie's Stash Volume 2, 2017 God's Problem Child, 2017 Summertime Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, 2016 Band of Brothers, 2014 To All the Girls..., 2013 Let's Face the Music and Dance, 2013 Freedom, 2012 Remember Me Vol. 1, 2011 Country Music, 2010 American Classic, 2009 Lost Highway, 2009 Naked Willie, 2009 One Hell of a Ride, 2008 Moment of Forever, 2008 Songbird, 2006 Live From Austin, TX, 2006 Songs of Cindy Walker, 2006 You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker, 2006

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