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Teatro
     

Teatro

4.5 2
by Willie Nelson
 

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Before he became a legendary Texas outlaw, Willie Nelson hung around Nashville just long enough to show Music City how country songwriting should be done. On TEATRO, the redheaded stranger revives several of his Nashville classics of love and loss, demonstrating that good songs survive. In fact, they thrive: Willie's rarely sounded this powerful, his songs gaining new

Overview

Before he became a legendary Texas outlaw, Willie Nelson hung around Nashville just long enough to show Music City how country songwriting should be done. On TEATRO, the redheaded stranger revives several of his Nashville classics of love and loss, demonstrating that good songs survive. In fact, they thrive: Willie's rarely sounded this powerful, his songs gaining new strength from producer Daniel Lanois's haunting soundscapes on "I Never Cared for You" and "Darkness on the Face of the Earth." Slow, sliding guitars and processed drums ride high in the mix, imbuing even love songs such as "Three Days" and "I've Loved You All Over the World" with a mood both melancholy and menacing. When the subject turns to murder in "I Just Can't Let You Say Good-bye," a chill creeps up the spine as Lanois's swirling, subtle mix sets off the dramatic detachment of Nelson's voice. Emmylou Harris, TEATRO's third partner in crime, contributes angelic backing vocals to Nelson's best album in years. Karl Hagstrom Miller

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
For whatever reason, Willie Nelson's Teatro -- like Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball -- seems to exist in a vacuum, completely set apart from his other recordings. It's untrue in either case, but especially in Nelson's. A scant year or so before Teatro was released -- and its recording sessions filmed in an old movie theater in Oxnard, California -- Nelson issued his most brilliant album of the 1990s, Spirit. Island's publicists had no idea what to do with Spirit's subtle, unsentimental, moody, and sparsely arranged and performed songs, but the roots of Teatro lie firmly planted there on its opening instrumental, "Matador." As for Teatro itself, Harris is present on 11 of the 14 tracks. In addition, Daniel Lanois, the same mercurial talent who spearheaded Wrecking Ball, produced this set. The mood is set in an arid space where a forlorn mariachi band meets the Harmonica Man (courtesy of Mickey Raphael) on Ennio Morricone's score for Once Upon a Time in the West. Lyrically, Nelson is as ambitious as he was on Spirit, and rhythmically he's more so, but that doesn't necessarily serve him as well. Teatro is a fine record with its sadness and bitterness in "I Never Cared for You" and the Spanish two-step of "Darkness on the Face of the Earth." But Lanois is one busy guitar picker here, and it stands at odds with Nelson's more spare yet lyrical style. But it's a good tension. It works better on "My Own Peculiar Way," with the percussion floating and evening out the guitars. The touch of Afro-Cuban rhythm in "These Lonely Nights" is sharp in contrast to Nelson's relatively staid and conventional country melody. Here is where Lanois works his magic; he staggers an organ, an electric piano, an accordion, his own electric guitar, a trap kit, and hand percussion all around the beat without anyone playing dead on it. Nelson's voice is the only constant, and it draws the listener right to it. Nelson's cover of Lanois' "The Maker," with Lanois layering thick slaps of sweet, melodic distorted guitar over its intro, is amazing. Harris and Nelson work so well together -- throughout the album but on this track especially -- it's almost a shock they aren't always together. Lyrically, Nelson strides out ahead of all his late-'80s and early-'90s material, continuing the great strides he made with Spirit. Clearly, the slump is over here, and the poetry he spins is accessible, profound, and moving. Teatro is a special album, but it's part two of a story that began with Spirit, and both recordings should be heard in tandem with one another for the full effect. Striking, beautiful, and affecting, Teatro is a sonic film that displays its moving images in the minds and hearts of its listeners.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/01/1998
Label:
Island
UPC:
0731452454829
catalogNumber:
524548
Rank:
44979

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Willie Nelson   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Emmylou Harris   Vocals,Background Vocals
Mickey Raphael   Harmonica
Malcolm Burn   Organ
Brian Griffiths   Guitar,Mandolin,Slide Guitar
Victor Indrizzo   Percussion,Drums
Daniel Lanois   Mandolin,Omnichord
Brad Mehldau   Piano,Vibes
Cyril Neville   Conga
Bobbie Nelson   Organ,Strings,Wurlitzer
Tony Mangurian   Percussion,Drums
Willie Green   Drums
Tony Hall   Bass

Technical Credits

Emmylou Harris   Contributor
Willie Nelson   Composer
Ray Price   Composer
Faron Young   Composer
Mark Howard   Engineer
Daniel Lanois   Producer
Deepak Nayar   Producer
Adam Samuels   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Teatro 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Willie Nelson apparently decided to follow Bob Dylan by enlisting Daniel Lanois as producer for this album. I liked Oh Mercy but felt Time Out Of Mind was more easy to admire than enjoy. Unlike Dylan, Willie manages not to be immersed in Lanois's trademark swampy echoes. It helps that the songs are mostly penned by Nelson and that Emmylou Harris duets on most of them. A couple more up-tempo numbers might have made this a classic to stand beside Willie's 70s work. This CD is an example of an artist still willing to try something different 40 years into his career.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Willie Nelson and Daniel Lanois must have felt the Latin Invasion coming. In Teatro (Spanish for ¿theater¿), released in 1998, Nelson's traditional country sound is supplemented with a generous helping of Latin arrangements and instrumentation. Producer Lanois, however, puts the spotlight on Nelson¿s vocals, keeping them front and center in what sounds like a huge, empty, and echoing theater hall. At first this struck me as a sparse and emotionless setting, but upon closer listening, I heard the warmth of Nelson¿s trademark nasal voice within the echo, delivered with just the right touch of warble and impeccably phrased. Then, I began to appreciate the elegant interplay of the instruments: shimmery wurlitzer, souful harmonica, and homey mandolin provide the accents to Nelson¿s mostly acoustic guitar playing. Emmy-Lou Harris turns in supporting vocals on 10 of the songs. While they are important to the mix, Lanois keeps them in the background and lagging just a touch behind Nelson¿s, almost as if she is singing in the upper mezzanine of this imagined theater, to lovely and understated effect. This is a superb artistic collaboration, and well deserves the repeated listening it may take to truly appreciate it.