Willie Nelson

Country Music (Rounder)

Texas Platters

Willie Nelson

Country Music (Rounder)

When Billy Joe Shaver was found not guilty of shooting a man in the face earlier this month, Willie Nelson was there, supporting his friend from the back row. While Shaver embodies the roadhouse rebel archetype of the country singer, Nelson's always been the flip side, the wise owl whose songs come from the heart as well as the hardscrabble, with a croon that embodies both. It's all there in the title of his new T Bone Burnett-produced LP, a collection of country, gospel, and bluegrass standards reworked with some old-time religion. Burnett's fingerprints are all over the traditional "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down," giving it a mystic touch. Doc Watson's "Freight Train Boogie," Hank Williams' "House of Gold," and Bill Mack's "Drinking Champagne" sound crystalline. Willie didn't need yet another covers album to remind us of his transformative powers, but it's reassuring he still calls Country home.

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