Black Music Matters Festival

Willie Nelson

God's Problem Child – 2017 (Sony Legacy)

Reviewed by Devin Adams

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One thing is for certain, Willie Nelson is still not dead. In fact, he may be more alive than ever considering the amount of work he is churning out these days. "God's Problem Child" is Nelson's 12th release in the last 5 years, and thankfully, it does not appear that he will be slowing down any time soon. At 84 years old, Nelson has certainly put in his time for a much-deserved retirement, but to the benefit of country music and its fans, he continues to write, record and perform at a blinding pace.

About half of "God's Problem Child" was written by Nelson along with producer and friend Buddy Cannon, in all Nelson and Cannon wrote 7 of the 13 tracks. The title track, penned by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White who join Nelson on the track as does the late great Leon Russell, might be Nelson's most bluesy song to date. The song brings back memories of "The Thrill is Gone" and almost begs for B.B. King and Lucille to make an appearance; however, Nelson and Trigger, who is in fantastic voice, stand out admirably throughout.

As producer and collaborator, Cannon allows Nelson to do his own thing, imperfections and all. Nelson has said that if music is too perfect, it loses its soul and "God's Problem Child" does not lack for soul.

Opening the recording is "Little House on the Hill," a song written by Cannon's mother, Lyndel Rhodes. Nelson's wit and charm are displayed on great tracks like, "I Made a Mistake" and "Still Not Dead" while beautiful and mournful tunes, as expected round out the recording as a compliment to the bluesy title track.

If Nelson indeed made a mistake, it was not on "God's Problem Child," and considering the recording is Nelson's 61st, he probably has this whole music thing figured out by now.