Songs for Tsunami Relief: Austin to South Asia

Songs for Tsunami Relief: Austin to South Asia

by Willie Nelson
     
 
The best live albums make you wish you had been there -- and offer an immediacy that makes you feel like you are. From the tribal rhythms and incantatory phrases of Patty Griffin's soulful performance of "Let Love Be Heard" to her haunting duet with Willie Nelson on "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,"

Overview

The best live albums make you wish you had been there -- and offer an immediacy that makes you feel like you are. From the tribal rhythms and incantatory phrases of Patty Griffin's soulful performance of "Let Love Be Heard" to her haunting duet with Willie Nelson on "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," Songs for Tsunami Relief: Austin to South Asia asserts itself as exactly that sort of document. But then, why not? The lineup is chockablock with onstage veterans who handily command a crowd. Griffin and Kelly Willis provide sensitive explorations of bruised psyches, while Joe Ely, the unheralded band Spoon, and Alejandro Escovedo bring fire, fury, and smarts by way of stomping southwestern rock 'n' roll in a classic style. Dixie Chick Natalie Maines sits in with Griffin on the beautiful "Mary," then returns with Willis and Bruce Robison for a moving, gritty version of Robison's chilling "Travelin' Soldier," before he offers up "What Would Willie Do," a gospel-tinged extrapolation of life lessons based on Nelson's colorful biography, with Mickey Raphael blowing some mean harp and Willie adding pungent gut-stringed solos. Following all these fireworks, the septuagenarian country-rocker's own appearance might have been anticlimactic, except that he burns through seven numbers with vivid intensity, his performances ranking with the best on any of his live albums. Whether it's the Steinbeckian pathos of "Living in the Promiseland," the jubilation of "Whiskey River" and "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," the Dylan-styled, Spanish-flavored rocker "Still Is Still Moving to Me," or the aching beauty of "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," Willie simply brings it. You are there, and it's a great place to be.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's for a good cause and all, but it's hard not to look at Willie Nelson's 2005 Songs for Tsunami Relief and see either the umpteenth live Willie and friends LP, or at the very least, what seems to be the tenth album Nelson has released in a calendar year. Actually, it's merely the fifth album since May 2004 to be billed to Nelson, and this isn't as much a proper Willie Nelson album as it is a various-artists record sold on his name, since he's the biggest star here. He headlined the benefit concert assembled by Texas Monthly writer Michael Hall, whose idea was to showcase Austin's finest musicians from Willie and fellow country outlaws like Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo, all the way down to celebrated indie rockers Spoon. Hall mentions in his liner notes that these kind of benefit shows are a bit of a tradition in Austin, and the performances have a nice, comfortable familiarity, giving the music a warm, appealing vibe. It also means that apart from Spoon's rather incongruous appearance between Escovedo and Kelly Willis, there's nothing all that surprising here, either in sound or song selection, but that's par for the course with benefit albums: the intent is to lure listeners, not to alienate them. And for anybody that's a fan of Austin's ever-fertile roots music scene, there's something to enjoy here -- maybe not enough to listen to the record often, but how many benefit albums are designed for frequent play anyway? In all likelihood, Songs for Tsunami Relief is not an album that will be played much by whomever purchases it -- the music is good, but not remarkable -- yet the record is entertaining on that first listen and, besides, it's for a good cause and all.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/12/2005
Label:
Lost Highway
UPC:
0602498808214
catalogNumber:
000440902

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Willie Nelson   Primary Artist
Kevin Connor   Master of Ceremonies

Technical Credits

Ed Bruce   Composer
David Lynn Jones   Composer
Willie Nelson   Composer
Butch Hancock   Composer
Michael Hall   Producer,Liner Notes
Johnny Bush   Composer
Susan Caldwell   Stage Manager
Alejandro Escovedo   Composer
Patty Griffin   Composer
Bill Johnson   Engineer
Jackie King   Composer
Gary Louris   Composer
Bruce Robison   Composer
Fred Rose   Composer
Patsy Bruce   Composer
Britt Daniel   Composer
Bryan Jackson   Producer
K. Willis   Composer

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