Moment of Forever
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Reviewed by Red Rocker
Moment of Forever is the most recent in a line of really relevant new recordings that Willie has churned out since joining Lost Highway Records in 2002. This new endeavor hearkens back to the same formula that made 2004’s It Always Will Be so special. By sharing vocals, some of the songwriting duties, and sprinkling in a few well-chosen covers, Willie delivers something that’s fresh and appealing to more than just the classic country mob. Kenny Chesney and his longtime creative partner Buddy Cannon jump in to produce Moment, as well as help write a couple songs. “Over You Again” opens, a poignant tale of heartbreak that Willie wrote with his youngest sons Micah and Lukas. (Trivia break: Who knew Willie had been married five times and fathered ten children?)
Politics have always been a weapon in his artistic holster, and “Louisiana,” an old Randy Newman track from the ‘70s, comes out firing here. “President came down in his big airplane with his little fat man with a note pad in his hand,” Willie protests, “President say, ‘little fat man, oh, isn’t it a shame what the river has done to this poor farmer’s land.’” The song that’s drawing the most attention, with its dark and cinematic video, is Willie’s version of Dave Matthews’ “Gravedigger” from 2003’s Some Devil. It’s a great song, and when Willie pleads, “Could you make it shallow, so that I can feel the rain,” he makes it candidly his own. One of three Willie originals here is the decidedly Spanish flavored “Always Now,” a breezy and brief ode to love, whether wife #5 or “Trigger,” his prized nylon-stringed Martin acoustic guitar.
Moment of Forever isn’t pound for pound a landmark Willie Nelson album, though it has a couple of near-perfect moments. It is, however, a pretty admirable mission for a guy who was almost 30 when the Beatles first came to America. Make no mistake: Willie’s still vital, he’s still energized, and by God, he’s still got the best of what made him a pot-smoking, tax-evading, long-haired American hippie-cowboy icon.