Black Music Matters Festival

Willie Nelson

Moment of Forever – 2008 (Lost Highway)

Reviewed by Rev. Keith A. Gordon

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Nearing his 75th birthday, singer/songwriter/icon Willie Nelson remains very busy. Nelson still tours constantly and has released at least an album a year since the turn of the century, including acclaimed collaborations with Ryan Adams and 2007's "Last of the Breed" with Ray Price and Merle Haggard

Co-produced by country superstar Kenny Chesney, this doesn't venture far from Nelson's well-trodden musical path, but the pair still throw a few moments into the mix that might catch casual listeners by surprise. Nelson's voice remains strikingly unique, a rich baritone that has aged remarkably, like a gnarled cypress tree. He'll sometimes strain to hit a note he once soared over, but Nelson's performances here are solid, especially on a brace of well-chosen covers.

Nelson's stark reading of Dave Matthews' "Gravedigger" is chilling, while the Kris Kristofferson-penned title track is simply beautiful; the obligatory duet with Chesney - the honky-tonkin' "Worry B Gone" - provides a simple pleasure as the two singers swap verses. An entertaining collection, "Moment Of Forever" is a fine illustration of Nelson's timeless talents.