I've really been enjoying Willie Nelson's latest CD, Country Music. I've never been a huge Willie Nelson fan, but this CD is amazing. I didn't expect it to be so inspiring.
My favorite aspect of the album is his covers of old, traditional country music and spirituals. "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down" haunts me. I love "I Am a Pilgrim" and "Gotta Walk Alone."
It's not all spiritual. There are songs of drinking and loss, songs of the sea and trains, songs of rejoicing that bad times are gone, at least for a night. To me, it's a microcosm of the type of culture which birthed some of the more interesting artistic movements of the 20th century, as well as giving rise to some of the more dynamic social movements of the 20th century. It's also an interesting romp through the wide variety of country music that came to the forefront during the 20th century, although it's refreshingly clear of the pippy-poppy country music that I find tiresome after awhile.
What am I really saying? It's authentic. It's roots music, as roots music should be. Sure, it doesn't cover everyone's roots, but one CD can't do that.
I'm as surprised as anyone that Willie Nelson has put out this CD that I find so spiritually comforting and nourishing. Perhaps I shouldn't be. I see many musical artists follow this trajectory, taking a spiritual/back to the roots turn as they age (see Cash, Johnny). We've got a generation of very interesting artists careening towards old age, which makes me hopeful about a rich musical age ahead (or an extension of the one that we're in).
feeling the feelings…
5 months ago