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Nelson proves he “Always Will Be”

Becca Saunders | Thursday, January 20, 2005

Willie Nelson is a country music legend, and apparently he “always will be.” Nelson’s newest album “It Always Will Be” is yet another solid release. Neither revolutionary nor offensive, “It Always Will Be” is an enjoyable album from a music legend using the same formula for success he always had. While there is not really a track that stands far above the other songs, all the songs are good country songs sung by a man who has had quite a bit to do with the development of American country music as a genre. Nelson is not the young performer he once was and much of his album is performed in a voice that lands somewhere between singing and talking the lyrics. However, if anyone can make this work, it is Willie Nelson, and thus this quality of his voice just ends up adding to the texture of most of the songs on the album. Nelson, who is notorious for doing duets with almost anybody and everybody – including even Kid Rock and Brian McKnight on one of his more recent albums, “The Great Divide” – makes better partner choices on “It Will Always Be.” The three duets on “It Always Will Be” are some of the best songs on the album and showcase Willie with Norah Jones, Paula Nelson and Lucinda Williams. The strongest duet is “Dreams Come True” with Norah Jones. The bluesy, jazzy mixed with the unique voices of Jones and Nelson produces a memorably beautiful song. In general, the slower the song is on “It Always Will Be,” the better it is. The faster songs are generally a bit cheesier, such as “Big Booty” in which Nelson sings of an apparently larger woman, “She said, ‘I ain’t gonna fix you no more sausage / Biscuits and gravy on the side / You done said the wrong thing to me, baby / And you can kiss big booty goodbye.”‘ Not the finest moment for country music lyrics. However, the lyrics are, to an extent, a part of the genre. Therefore in a slower song called “Tired” Nelson’s borderline cheesy lyrics are forgivable and when performed right can be taken a bit more seriously in their message. “Tired” is about a man who has tried to live the good life but has also seen hardship and sings, “But I’m tired, Lord, I’m tired / Life is wearin’ me smooth down to the bone / No rest for the weary, you just move on / And I’m tired.” Nelson’s lyrics redeem themselves in the title track which is also one of the best songs on “It Always Will Be.” In a slow twanged voice made for singing folk music Nelson sings, “Sometimes I think that love is / somewhere living on an island all alone / I can see it in the darkness / I can feel it in the distance, and then it’s gone.” On a song that is musically one of the best songs on the album Nelson’s lyrics are a bit more poignant than cheesy. With a majority of good songs, “It Always Will Be” is an enjoyable album that sounds like any other Willie Nelson album out there. Willie Nelson is a legend, and while “It Always Will Be” may not be legendary, it certainly is worth listening too, especially for any Nelson fan.