Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Jun 9th, 2017

Willie Nelson: God’s Problem Child

Willie Nelson
God’s Problem Child
(Legacy Recordings)

Buy it at Amazon!

Willie Nelson’s 61st studio album God’s Problem Child, (yes, you read that right, 61st) features 13 songs, 6 of them written by Nelson and his producer, Buddy Cannon (they collaborated on the lyrics via text) revealing an American icon still at the top of his game.

The jumpy “Little House On the Hill” opens, a tribute to one’s home, while the slower, piano plod of “Old Timer” follows. Both songs were informed by Nelson’s longtime harmonica player, Mickey Raphael playing fast and slow, respectively. This second tune is especially poignant coming from a guy 84 years old.

“True Love” is another slow one, about the dark side obsessions of believing in true love. Again the soft atmosphere laid down by ‘The Family,’ Willie’s band, really color this one perfectly. “Delete & Fast Forward” has got a roiling acoustic backing, lyrically pointing at the just past 2016 U.S. elections and here we get a sharp sprinkling of electric lead playing.

“Butterfly,” with its Spanish-style music backing has Willie wailing on his old beaten up acoustic, and his sister, Bobbie Lee Nelson tickling the ivories, while things get silly fun on “Still Not Dead,” Willie commenting on those rumors we have heard lots lately about his death; wry Nelson self-deprecating is something the ‘Red Headed Stranger’ does better than anybody else.

The title track is a low down bluesy number featuring the last vocal performance of Leon Russell (and vocal from Tony Joe White), again we get Nelson’s plucking his gut string, “Trigger,” while the ender, “He Won’t Ever Be Gone,” is Nelson’s tribute to country outlaw legend Merle Haggard who dies last year. Willie and Merle created and toured on their duet album Django & Jimmie, Haggard’s last, which topped the charts in 2015.

God’s Problem Child is pretty much perfect.

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Willie Nelson: God’s Problem Child