Confession time: I’m a late convert to Willie Nelson, because I’ve been known to fall into the trap of thinking all country music is created equal. Little did I know, Willie Nelson’s outlaw country is a far cry from the “bro country” or “boyfriend country” music that just doesn’t work for me. (Side note: I HAVE been known to like the feminist/”woman kills her no-good husband” country music.) Luckily, I have seen the error of my ways and am getting familiar with Willie’s large body of work, and in my opinion his newest album, A Beautiful Time, is an excellent and enjoyable addition to his canon.
There’s an even mix of toe-tapping tracks, melancholy ballads, and wise insight here – from the heartfelt loss of “Dreamin’ Again” and the playful “We’re Not Happy (Till You’re Not Happy)” to the both thoughtful and light-hearted “I Don’t Go To Funerals”. The overall message seems to be about aging with grace and being honest about death; songs like “Dusty Bottles” directly suggest that age comes with advantages, blessings, pleasures, and of course pains, all its own; it’s clear Willie sees the passage of time but doesn’t fear it, and he sings about it with heart.
I highly recommend this album as the soundtrack to your summer road trips – and if anyone has specific Willie Nelson songs or albums to recommend, send them my way!