Jerry Jeff Walker
It's About Time (Tried & True)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., May 4, 2018
Throat cancer nearly felled Jerry Jeff Walker last year as he wrapped recording for It's About Time. That brush with mortality now adds a reflective tinge to the progressive country stalwart's first album in nearly a decade. Even as his voice settles into a lower key, Walker continues spinning gorgeously easy melodies and true narratives on a life now more front porch than rowdy bars. "It took me years to give it up, but I felt I might lose her love, or myself," Walker acknowledges on sobriety ode "Rain Song," reeling hard-earned epiphanies. Opening trifecta "That's Why I Play," "California Song," and "Because of You" all gracefully take stock of what matters, as does a turn on Guy Clark's "My Favorite Picture of You." Walker maintains an ear for others' songs, most notably on dusky ballad "South Coast" and barrel piano roll "Ballad of Honest Sam," while his son Django's "Somethin' Bout a Boat" – covered by Jimmy Buffett – gets a Seventies Hill Country makeover.