It Always Will Be

It Always Will Be

5.0 1
by Willie Nelson
     
 

Released on the coattails of his star-studded 70th birthday celebration, Outlaws & Angels, this stripped-down disc is for slow dancing and late-night cuddling. It Will Always Be finds Willie focusing his efforts on spare, mostly acoustic songs of enduring love and piercing heartbreak; his nuanced readings evoke the quiet…  See more details below

Overview

Released on the coattails of his star-studded 70th birthday celebration, Outlaws & Angels, this stripped-down disc is for slow dancing and late-night cuddling. It Will Always Be finds Willie focusing his efforts on spare, mostly acoustic songs of enduring love and piercing heartbreak; his nuanced readings evoke the quiet interpretive power of his 1978 masterpiece, the standards album Stardust. He duets with Norah Jones on a cool, piano-bar treatment of "Dreams Come True," she giving it her silkiest Billie Holiday reading as he returns the loving sentiments with delicate, shaded precision. Willie trades poignant verses with Lucinda Williams on a cover of her breakup ballad "Over Time," strengthened by tasty acoustic guitar, discrete pedal steel, minimalist piano, and a slight wash of accordion chording. Willie steps up the pace on the acerbic kiss-off "Big Boody" -- driven by a cascade of pedal steel notes, crying dobro retorts, thumping drums, and a twangy guitar -- and the dance hall foot stomper "I Didn't Come Here (And I Ain't Leaving)," with Willie's honeyed voice rising up out of the furious swirl of harmonica, pedal steel, and electric guitars to sweetly suggest, "Why don't you pucker up / I got just the place for you to kiss." In the end, though, It Will Always Be is yet another display of Willie's incomparable balladry, illustrated by country tear-jerkers such as "My Broken Heart Belongs to You" and the Spanish-inflected, heart-tugging title track, which evoke the austere majesty of his Crazy: The Demo Sessions, in both feel and the deeply felt emotions informing each note the Red Headed Stranger warbles.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
On his millionth album (or does it just feel that way?), Willie Nelson teams with a new band -- except for Family Band harmonicat Mickey Raphael -- and duets with some major leaguers. Most of the time, It Always Will Be feels like a Willie album of old. Recorded for the Lost Highway label and produced by James Stroud in Nash Vegas, it's an inspired collection of fine songs for the most part, and Nelson is in fine voice with the edges beginning to show just a tiny bit. He wrote the title cut, one of the strongest here. Lyrically, it's tender without being overly sentimental, sweet without being saccharine, and delivered with his trademark elegance and grace. The cover of Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan's "Picture in a Frame," though faithful, puts Nelson's stamp firmly on it. With Raphael's harmonica, Willie's acoustic, and a skeletal band featuring an understated pedal steel, Nelson's dignity in the delivery is deeply moving. When he's this on fire, the only place he usually blows it is in duets -- at least on his own records. There are duets here. "Be That As It May," with daughter Paula and written by her, is just a gorgeous country song. The pair's voices contrast beautifully and the tune itself is tight and hooky in a Texas country music way. "Dreams Come True," with Norah Jones, is a pretty swing tune that is forgettable but far from offensive, and Lucinda Williams is the star on her own "Overtime." Willie and Lucinda were made to sing together; the melancholy of the tune lends itself well to her whiskey contralto and his easy baritone. The tune sweetly drifts and lilts with swaying guitars, an accordion, and whispering brushwork. Toby Keith makes an appearance singing background vocals on his "Tired," but Nelson makes the song his own. Nelson's "Texas" is a wonderful mariachi blues song that gives way to bittersweet Southwestern honky tonk balladry and showcases his excellent guitar work. The set closes with the album's only dog, a big-beat over-produced dancy punch-up of Gregg Allman's classic "Midnight Rider." It sucks bad. Why this song made the cut is a mystery, but it's a typical thing for Nelson, to add something that just doesn't fit. Thankfully, it's the album's final song and can be skipped. Be that as it may, It Always Will Be is the best outing for Nelson since Teatro.
Entertainment Weekly - Chris Willman
Nelson's first full-on, first-rate solo record in ages. (B+)

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/26/2004
Label:
Lost Highway
UPC:
0602498624203
catalogNumber:
000257602

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Willie Nelson   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Lucinda Williams   Vocals
Matt Rollings   Piano,Keyboards
Mickey Raphael   Harmonica
Toby Keith   Background Vocals
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Dan Dugmore   Pedal Steel Guitar
Chris Dunn   Horn
Shannon Forrest   Drums
Paul Franklin   Pedal Steel Guitar
Kenny Greenberg   Electric Guitar
Jim Horn   Horn
Clayton Ivey   Piano,Keyboards
Sam Levine   Horn
Liana Manis   Background Vocals
Brent Mason   Electric Guitar
Steve Nathan   Piano,Keyboards
Steve Patrick   Horn
Michael Rhodes   Bass,Bass Guitar
Biff Watson   Acoustic Guitar
Glenn Worf   Bass
Scotty Emerick   Acoustic Guitar
Amy James   Background Vocals
Wes Hightower   Background Vocals
Norah Jones   Vocals
Paula Nelson   Vocals
Shannon Forest   Drums

Technical Credits

Willie Nelson   Composer
Gregg Allman   Composer
Dave Loggins   Composer
Tom Waits   Composer
Lucinda Williams   Composer
Jimmy Day   Composer
Toby Keith   Composer
Craig Allen   Art Direction
Kathleen Brennan   Composer
Chuck Cannon   Composer
J.C. Hopkins   Composer
Julian King   Engineer
Robert Payne   Composer
Michael Smotherman   Composer
James Stroud   Producer,Audio Production
Sonny Throckmorton   Composer
Dave Zettner   Illustrations
Rusty Adams   Composer
Scotty Emerick   Composer
Paula Nelson   Composer
David Anderson   Composer

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It Always Will Be 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have been listening to this wonderful cd over and over. Perfectly mellow and moving lyrics and guitar. Find myself craving to listen to the song "Texas", it has a haunting guitar rift. Great duets with Norah, Paula and Lucinda. If you like Willie, you will love this cd!