Title - 'Heroes' (Sony/Legacy)
Artist - Willie Nelson
The author, poet, actor, and activist and, of course American country music singer-songwriter, Willie Nelson seems to have been around forever. Born back in 1933 (I know, right!), he was one of the main figures of outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that developed at the end of the 1960s. A reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound, Nelson took its reins and hasn't stopped leading the pack ever since.
The first track on this new album (produced by Buddy Cannon, Academy of Country Music' producer of the year 2006) is the gentle guitar work of 'A Horse Called Music,' a duet with Merle Haggard. This is followed by the honky tonk boogie of 'Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die,' a duet with the one and only Snoop Dogg and Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson. But, in truth Snoop's involvement makes this song VERY hard to listen to, let alone enjoy! Things get back to normal with 'That's All There Is To This Song,' before we head into a couple of back-to-back ballad duets with his son Lukas Nelson - 'No Place To Fly' and the harmonica-driven 'Every Time He Drinks He Thinks Of Her.'
Next is the organ-fused 'Come On Up To The House,' a gloriously spun tale that once again involves Lukas and the delightful Sheryl Crow (albeit it her involvement seems to have been limited to one chorus and some background chirps), before we get the fantastic 'Hero' with Billy Joe Shaver and some great Jamey Johnson guitar work. The jive fun of 'My Window Faces South' together with Lukas is definitely one to get your feet tappin' before the more somber 'The Sound Of Your Memory' (Lukas) and the gentle twang of 'Cold War With You' (featuring Ray Price and Lukas).
This great album comes to a close with a rambling rendition of Pearl Jam's 'Just Breathe,' a duet with Lukas once again, the near-instrumental piano-jive of 'Home In San Antone' (with Lukas), the slow 'Come On Back Jesus' (with both Lukas and his other son Micah), and the album-ender, a brave cover of Coldplay's 'The Scientist.'