Willie Nelson

Last Man Standing (Legacy Recordings)

Texas Platters

"I don't want to be the last man standing," intones the most recognizable voice in country music over the driving rumba of his 67th studio LP's title track. "But, wait a minute," he second-guesses the punch line. "Maybe I do." Willie Nelson's 12th collaboration with co-producer and co-songwriter Buddy Cannon proves every bit as fruitful as the last 11, here yielding 11 killer new originals in a creative renaissance that's seen Abbott's first son release three of his strongest sets, including 2014's Band of Brothers and 2017's God's Problem Child, all country chart-toppers. The playing bristles with energy, led by crackling drums, Mickey Raphael's wailing harmonica, and the seasoned bark of the singer's stalwart guitar Trigger taking pride of place in Cannon's sonically rich production. Front and center is that familiar, reedy voice, aged to perfection and delivering some of the best lines he's written. Country-boogie groover "Don't Tell Noah" advises, "Don't quit trying to change the government and make them see how wrong they went." Meanwhile, drinker's waltz "Bad Breath" laments, "Halitosis is a word I never could spell, but bad breath is better than no breath at all." Willie Nelson, 85, keeps going from strength-to-strength, and Last Man Standing is the strongest yet.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Willie Nelson
Leon Russell & the Bob Dylan Rumor
Leon Russell & the Bob Dylan Rumor
Outlaw era deejay Woody Roberts helped produce Willie Nelson's first Fourth of July picnic in this excerpt from his new memoir Horse Racing & Rock 'N' Roll

Woody Roberts, Dec. 25, 2020

An Excerpt From Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie's New Book
An Excerpt From Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie's New Book
A new family bible Me and Sister Bobbie finds the Nelson siblings moving to Austin and making Shotgun Willie.

Nov. 13, 2020

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

Texas Platters
The Beaumonts / Hickoids
This Is Austin, All the World's a Dressing Room (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Tim Stegall
Austin Music: What We're Listening to This Week
Austin Music: What We're Listening to This Week
Future Museums, Charley Crockett, Merciful Heavens, Frederico7, Eric Unusual, and Bob Schneider

Sept. 17, 2021

<i>Lydia Lunch: The War is Never Over</i> Finds the Anti-Punk in Full Fury
Lydia Lunch: The War is Never Over Finds the Anti-Punk in Full Fury
Beth B blows it all up in new documentary

Sept. 10, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Willie Nelson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle