First Rose of Spring
Pin Point Americana Pictures, Painted with Laconic Lyrics and Beautiful Imagery.
What do you do when you are a world-wide, iconic elder statesman of Texas, nay American, popular music and you reach the ripe old age of 87? Well, if you’re Willie Nelson and you’ve just won your 13th. Grammy for last year’s critically acclaimed “Ride Me Back Home,” you go straight back in the studio and lay down 11 new tracks for your 70th. studio album.
Yes, there have been 69 previous releases.
The word “legend” just doesn’t do this man justice.
Originally scheduled for an April 2020 release “First Rose of Spring” has been held back, due to the world-wide Coronavirus pandemic, until Friday 3rd. July.
Again, paired with his long-term friend Buddy Cannon as producer, they co-wrote 2 of the songs while the other 9 have been carefully selected from contemporary and traditional song-writers.
Opening with the title track First Rose of Spring, which was composed by the young song-writing team of Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin & Mark Beeson, we are welcomed with a slow, love at first sight ballad that could have been written by Willie himself and really sets the tone for the other 10 tracks.
Blue Star and Love Just Laughed are the 2 tracks that Willie and Buddy co-wrote and again they undoubtedly hit the high standard that the great man just keeps maintaining, even as the years roll on and on and on.
I’ll Break Out Again Tonight provides a heart-wrenching prisoners dream, with a laid back pedal steel guitar adding to the lights out delusion whilst Toby Keith’s Don’t Let The Old Man In fits like a glove; with the hard hitting chorus of
“Ask yourself how old you’d be
If you didn’t know the day you were born”.
Stealing Home is another Classic Country ballad that would bring a tear to a glass eye, reminiscing and looking back on an idyllic childhood with the chorus ending with:
“damn old Father Time for stealing home”.
Just Bummin’ Around composed by Peter Graves is a slightly humorous, uptempo western-swing tune, whilst the surprise of the album is a completely new song written by Grammy winning, contemporary hit-maker Chris Stapleton, entitled Our Song.
I almost selected Yesterday, When I Was Young (Hier Encore) as my favourite. A superb cover of a 1964 Charles Aznavour chanson which was Roy Clark’s biggest ever country hit in 1969, but my vote goes to We Are The Cowboys.
This is a cover of another long-time hell-raising, outlaw Texan, the one and only Billy Joe Shaver, that has a haunting, home on the range type harmonica backing, to drive home the chorus of :-
We are the cowboys the true sons of freedom
We are the men who will get the job done
We’re picking our words so we won’t have to eat them
We’re rounding them up and then driving them home.
It’s a scene stealing tune about life in the Lone Star State and even more poignantly, it’s written by another walking, talking, fabled Texan.
The pictures painted with such laconic, pin point lyrics simply put the icing on the cake of yet another wonderful set of songs.
How does he keep on doing it? Willie Nelson is truly unique and, as ever, conveys real feelings through his music and makes every song his own.
Released in 3rd. July 2020
Jack Kidd “Messin’ with the Kidd” on Tuesdays http://www.lionheartradio.com