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5.0 1
by Solomon Burke
Solomon Burke keeps it coming with Nashville, another mature gem of soul dramaturgy that stands toe to toe with his 2002 Grammy winner, Don't Give Up On Me. Recorded in Music City and produced by Americana demigod Buddy Miller, Nashville finds common ground between soul music's gospel foundation and traditional


Solomon Burke keeps it coming with Nashville, another mature gem of soul dramaturgy that stands toe to toe with his 2002 Grammy winner, Don't Give Up On Me. Recorded in Music City and produced by Americana demigod Buddy Miller, Nashville finds common ground between soul music's gospel foundation and traditional country's aesthetics -- to the point where Burke fashions a seamless blending of styles and sensibilities. He's got some elite female duet partners on hand, including Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Patti Griffin, Patty Loveless, and Gillian Welch. Parton stands out for the gripping second voice she adds to her own sturdy, hymn-like epistle, "Tomorrow Is Forever," and Emmylou contributes a suitably restrained second voice to Burke's more hopeful stance on George and Tammy's classic "We're Gonna Hold On." The songs come from writers conversant in cross-genre matriculation, including Bruce Springsteen, Don Williams, Tom T. Hall, Jim Lauderdale, and Paul Kennerley, among others; and the musician lineup features Willie Nelson's indomitable harmonica man, Mickey Raphael; roots masters Byron House and Sam Bush; and lap steel/pedal steel/dobro giant Al Perkins. But King Solomon commands all he surveys of this kingdom. The most powerful tracks are, arguably, the leanest, all the better to showcase the authority and the passion informing the former child preacher's rumbling pronouncements -- as when Miller frames Burke's deep country blues take on "That's How I Got to Memphis" with nothing more than his own acoustic guitar strumming, and keeps the band at bay until the soaring coda supporting a deeply ironic, albeit tear-stained interpretation of "Atta Way to Go." This music is as real as it gets, and deeply invested in the stuff of life.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Four years after the stellar and eclectic Don't Give Up on Me from 2002, which won a Grammy, Solomon Burke returns with another surprise. Nashville was recorded in Music City with producer Buddy Miller and a slew of guests who include duet partners Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Patty Griffin, and Gillian Welch, as well instrumental talent that features Brady Blade, Byron House, Miller, Al Perkins, Garry Tallent, Mickey Raphael, David Rawlings, Sam Bush, Phil Madeira, and many others. The set opens with a stripped to the bone version of Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis," accompanied only by Miller's acoustic guitar. Burke's big, crackling throaty baritone makes the song, which has been covered by everyone from Bobby Bare, Bill Haley, and Rosanne Cash to Scott Walker, Lee Hazlewood, and Ben Vaughn. Miller lets the slow, earthy cracks in Burke's voice resonate deeply. The duet with Parton on her "Tomorrow Is Forever" is deep, soulful country music at its best. Al Perkins' pedal steel floats around the pair as they trade lines and harmonize. With excellent backing vocals from Ann McCrary and Gale West, this is a true melding of the country and soul traditions. Bruce Springsteen's "Ain't Got You" is utterly transformed from a country blues shouter into a roiling, tough, backwoods hard country and near-bluegrass meld. Perkins' dobro, the slippery brushed drums that shuffle in overdrive and fiddle, and Tallent's standup bass take the thing back into the woods and never let it out. And it just goes from here. Welch's "Valley of Tears" is another stripped to the bone ballad with Rawlings and Welch singing and playing and Miller backing on vocals as well. But that backing is a bit stiff; it would have worked better without any, but it's Burke's killer voice that brings the real sadness in the tune to bear at the listener's door. Burke can really do the weepers, as further evidenced by his reading of Don Williams' "Atta Way to Go" with strings and a full countrypolitan band behind him. Here again, Burke proves that he can do the tradition without schmaltz. There is great power in his voice as he allows the lyrics to penetrate him and then projects them as his own. This song, too, becomes so rooted in the blues and Memphis soul that it might shock Williams to hear it. "Up the Mountain" a Griffin song, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Griffin and Burke were made to sing together. This is a duets record that should happen. She can sing anything, and her manner of countering Burke's throaty R&B moan brings out the depths of gospel. The pairing with Harris on George Jones' "We're Gonna Hold On" works less well. Harris does the same thing on every single recording she's appeared on for the last decade. In addition, the instrumentation feels ragged and out of balance. The set ends with Larry Henley and Red Lane's "Til I Get It Right," where Burke's vocal comes off every bit as haunted and heart-rending as Johnny Cash's and he gets it right form the first note. Burke is at a place in his long career where he has nothing to lose. His restlessness and willingness to stretch himself is far different than say Rod Stewart attempting all those horrifying volumes of the Great American songbook. Burke fully inhabits what he sings. His performances are precise in that they bring out every single lyrical nuance as an extension of soul. This is a keeper, one of those records that you'll still be listening to in ten years.
Los Angeles Times - Richard Cromelin
Burke is such an individual force that he bends all borders and definitions into a configuration all his own.... His singing is agile, elastic and, most important, packed with sorrow and humor that pull you in no matter what the genre.

Product Details

Release Date:
Shout Factory

Related Subjects


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Solomon Burke   Primary Artist,Vocals
Sam Bush   Fiddle,Mandolin
Emmylou Harris   Vocals
Jim Lauderdale   Acoustic Guitar
Patty Loveless   Vocals
Dolly Parton   Vocals
Kevin Welch   Acoustic Guitar
Phil Madeira   Piano,Accordion,Hammond Organ,Wurlitzer
Mickey Raphael   Harmonica
Larry Campbell   Fiddle
Carl Gorodetzky   Violin
Patty Griffin   Vocals
Byron House   Bass,Upright Bass
Tom Howard   Conductor
Paul Kennerley   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Ann McCrary   Vocals,Background Vocals
Buddy Miller   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Guitar (Electric Baritone),Guitar (Baritone)
Perkins   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Pamela Sixfin   Violin
Garry Tallent   Bass,Upright Bass
Chris Donohue   Bass
Kenny Vaughn   Electric Guitar
Gillian Welch   Guitar,Vocals
Rev. Brady Blade   Percussion,Drums
David Rawlings   Guitar,Vocals
Bryan Owings   Percussion,Drums
Carole Rabinowitz-Neuen   Cello
Shawn Amos   Acoustic Guitar
Regina McCrary   Vocals,Background Vocals
Jim Grojean   Viola

Technical Credits

Tom T. Hall   Composer
Jim Lauderdale   Composer
Dolly Parton   Composer
Bruce Springsteen   Composer
Larry Henley   Composer
Julie Miller   Composer
Emory Gordy   Engineer
Patty Griffin   Composer
Tom Howard   String Arrangements
Paul Kennerley   Composer
Red Lane   Composer
Buddy Miller   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Gillian Welch   Composer
Barry Tashian   Composer
Jake Burns & The Big Wheel   Engineer
Earl Montgomery   Composer
Shawn Amos   Composer,Executive Producer
Emily Johnson   Artwork
Jeff Palo   Producer
Adam Wright   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Nashville 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
AbraxasND More than 1 year ago
This is one of a number of CDs I purchased on a recent visit to Barnes & Noble in New York (I live in Australia) and I have to say I have been playing it continually since my return. I have no idea whose idea this was, but teaming Solomon Burke with major folk and country artists and composers like Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless and Dolly Parton, among many others, was an inspired move. Solomon Burke performs best on the soulful, acoustic ballads but there are many highlights here. Standout tracks include "Valley of Tears", "Millionaire" and the up-tempo (and very amusing) "Honey, where's the money gone?" but the album is remarkably consistent throughout, and very well recorded. I've been following Solomon Burke since I was a teenager in the 1960s - I still have a vinyl recording of his first LP - but "Nashville", for me, is one of the milestones of Burke's long career. Definitely a soul/country classic...