Willie Nelson has released a new Album called "Songbird." It is brilliant, and I suggest checking it out.Nelson has become a cross-genre legend, in the same way that Johnny Cash managed in his final decade. However, while Cash's "American Recordings" (his last five albums from 1994-2005) betray the artist's frailty--such that I was not surprised when I heard that Cash had died--"Songbird" betrays nothing but Nelson's genius.
By all means, the man should probably be dead, but he sounds great.While Cash's final albums sounded tired and weary, Nelson's sounds more poignant and reflective. He is tired, but not exhausted. He is old, but not ready to die. (Contrast this with the message and tone of Cash's final song--the last one he wrote--"Like the 309," in which he begins, "It should be a while before I meet Doctor Death..." but anyone listening knows that "a while" is measured in days, not years).
Since Elvis's passing, no one else comes close to Nelson's vibrato. And while Elvis sang vibrato like no one else, there is more lingering emotion in Nelson's. He sings his lyrics with a sighing "alas," but not necessarily a depressing one. His are the vocals of an aged man with, as Frank Sinatra sang so brilliantly in "My Way," "Regrets...a few, but then again too few to mention." For all of you youngsters out there, I recommend that you dip into Willie Nelson's discography.