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Willie Nelson is having a beautiful time

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star
Willie Nelson is having a beautiful time
A Beautiful Time is the music icon’s 97th studio album and his contribution to the era of COVID- 19. The album was timed for release to celebrate his 89th birthday last April 29. A Beautiful Time by Nelson is just what the title says it is. It is an ode to this time in his life. I do not think he wants for anything. He has family, friends, success and his music.
Photo from artist’s official Facebook page

Absolutely enchanting is the only way to describe A Beautiful Time by Willie Nelson. This is the music icon’s 97th studio album and his contribution to the era of COVID-19. Recording was done in various studios and then sent to Nelson’s home studio, where he put in his vocals. The album was timed for release to celebrate his 89th birthday last April 29.

You read all those numbers right. The great Nelson is 89 years old and has recorded 97 albums during his career. That number does not include collabs and live recordings, plus assorted guest spots. You must think that he should feel tired after all that singing but no, Nelson remains hale and hearty. Truth to tell, I cannot think of anybody even artists much younger than he is, who can deliver a song the way he does.

Nelson has always had this knack for choosing his repertoire well. Remember, he made hits out of Always on My Mind, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, Let It Be, Help Me Make It Through the Night and many others. He has written songs like Pretty Paper and Funny How Time Slips Away. He has tackled Gershwin, Sinatra and all those standards. He came out on top every time. Times when I am at a loss on what album to listen to, I find myself turning to Willie Nelson and his Stardust. I am sure I will now do the same with A Beautiful Time.

Surrounded as we are these days by hip-hop, K-pop and all sorts of layered, glossed over, over produced sounds, it is such a joy to come across a Nelson album, stripped down to the basics like A Beautiful Time. Just his trusty guitar, a harmonica here and there, some piano, drums but all so unobtrusive. And then, there is that voice, weathered by the years and speaking volumes with a tender little pause or tummy rocking inner laugh.

A Beautiful Time by Nelson is just what the title says it is. It is an ode to this time in his life. I do not think he wants for anything. He has family, friends, success and his music.

So, with these songs, he is taking a look at his past where he was restless, wandering, My Heart was a Dancer, at the present with Live Every Day, at the future, I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die, and other memories, emotions, fears and what nots of his life. I do not think Dusty Bottles could say as much as Nelson makes them do or that The Beatles with a Little Help from my Friends has ever sounded as sincere.

There are also I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die; Energy Follows Thought; Dreamin’ Again; A Beautiful Time; We’re Not Happy (Till You’re Not Happy); Me and my Partner; Tower of Song; Don’t Touch Me There; and Leave You with a Smile.

Then, there is I Don’t Go to Funerals, where with his vaunted wit and wry humor, he takes on the inevitable.

“I don’t go to funerals/ I won’t be at mine/ I’ll be somewhere looking back at loved ones left behind/ my life has been a wonder and I found my place in time/ but I don’t go to funerals/ and I won’t be at mine.

“I’ll be somewhere singin’ songs with all those friends of mine/ life is great but I can’t wait to make our memories rhyme/ now those who’ve gone before me/ will save my place in line/ but I don’t go to funerals/ I won’t be at mine.

“There’ll be a big ol’ pickin’ party when it comes my time/ me and Waylon, John and Kris and our sweetheart Patsy Cline/ Merle and Grady and Freddy Powers and all those friends of mine/ but I don’t go to funerals/ and I won’t be at mine.”

Dear Willie, your friends, Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and others have already waited for that epic gig with you for years. Several more will not hurt.

WILLIE NELSON

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