Lost Highway – 2002 – 53 minutes
James Caan's line in 'The Way of the Gun' about old men being survivors has its living embodiment in Willie Nelson. Now 69, he's made it through marriages and IRS audits and recorded over 100 albums – including forays into jazz, blues and children's music; 'The Great Divide' finds him in typically evergreen mood.
With a nod to Carlos Santana's 'Supernatural' album, Nelson has roped in plenty of guests but it's still more Willie than all-star. His choice of songmates is wildly diverse too: Sheryl Crow and Lee Ann Womack are one thing but Motown Boy Brian McKnight and Kid Rock?
Curiously it all works, with Willie never sounding like he's trying to peel back the years or pander to a younger audience. Nearly all of the album is covers or songwriter credits, but fittingly the standout is Willie's work on the title track, a Spanish-tinged number of late-in-life desire. And while the glossed up sound lacks the gritty majesty of Johnny Cash's 'American III', the voice is so beautiful that it's easy to forgive. Long may he roam.
Tracklisting: Maria (Shut Up and Kiss Me) – Mendocino County Line – Last Stand in Open Country – Won't Catch Me Cryin' – Be There for You – The Great Divide – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) – This Face – Don't Fade Away – Time After Time - Recollection Phoenix – You Remain