My Way (Legacy)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 9, 2018
Since 1978 blockbuster Stardust, Willie Nelson has maintained a consistent diligence to recording standards and tribute LPs, most at least worthwhile if not revelatory. Taking on Frank Sinatra with his latest homage platter, Nelson, 85, rightly doesn't try matching the velvet richness of "The Voice," but instead finds his own unique inroads to a well-trodden catalog. The country sovereign's immaculate phrasing, sincere handling of the songbook, and experienced vocal feel on the material find enough spectacular moments worth revisiting. The surprising Caribbean rhythm running under "It Was a Very Good Year," downright jaunty take on "Blue Moon," and always notable Norah Jones duet on "What Is This Thing Called Love" rise above, but the closing title track makes the album. Nelson works through "My Way" with an understated tenderness, the years on his voice seeping into the song like distinctly familiar but unplaceable aroma, and emerges triumphant without the overwrought bravado.