My Way

Willie Nelson

Sony/Legacy , 2018

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Willie Nelson released his first studio album in 1962 and now, 56 years later, at the age of 85, shows no sign of slowing down. My Way is his 12th release since 2010.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Nelson’s new album, as the title suggests, is an album of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra. He is one of the few living artists who could even attempt a project of this type, as Sinatra made just about any song his own and his versions are considered definitive.

Nelson is an iconic country artist, but has moved in a pop and easy listening direction on a number of occasions, including his 2016 release Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, which won a Traditional Vocal Album Grammy Award.

His voice may not be as strong as in the past but it has acquired a nice patina. He brings a weariness and nostalgia to the songs as opposed to Sinatra’s smoothness, which was known as a swinging style.

Nelson has always had impeccable phrasing and that serves him well on covers such as the title song, “It Was A Very Good Year,” “Summer Wind,” and “Fly Me To The Moon.” His use of a string section is a little disconcerting as his approach should always be simpler is better.

Possibly the best track is “One For My Baby (And One For The Road),” which is closer to the original. The most interesting track is a duet with Norah Jones on ‘What Is This Thing Called Love,” which gives it a different spin.

Nelson has a very distinct voice, which makes oft recorded songs like “Blue Moon,” “I’ll Be Around,” and “Young At Heart” palatable.

This is not country Willie; this is the Great American Songbook Willie. Sinatra’s originals are always worth a listen, but Nelson does a credible job providing a different take on many of these classic tunes.

Rating: B

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