Country Music - Willie Nelson
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. While you'll wait in vain for Nelson's own songs, which have gotten increasingly rare as the years go by, this is easily the new millennium's most effective showcase of the gifts that Nelson's reputation rests upon.
  2. The natural, gloss-free sound clears the way for Willie's voice, as cozy as an old pair of slippers; the 77-year-old singer's persona is inseparable from any song he sings, even when he's never sung it before and even when it's cruise-ship reggae.
  3. Helmed by producer T Bone Burnett, this is front-porch, rural and rustic country music. Nelson is perfect in this setting, however, as he brings his weathered but expressive pipes to percussion-less arrangements of such gems as Ernest Tubb's "Seaman's Blues," Merle Travis' miner's lament "Dark As a Dungeon" and the smooth stride of Bob Wills' "Gotta Walk Alone."
  4. 80
    This is Nelson's best album in over a decade, following flirtations with blues, reggae and jazz. [June 2010, p. 94]
  5. 80
    You couldn't imagine anyone else pulling all this off with such grace and style. [Jun 2010, p.96]
  6. He's back where he really belongs with the T-Bone Burnett-produced Country Music. [Jun 2010, p.132]
  7. While he's certainly earned his right to experiment with genres - really, to do whatever the hell he wants - he's never so affecting or engaging as when he's reduced to his quivering roots.
  8. It's the spectacular collection of songs as much as Burnett's ace production and Nelson's first-rate performances that elevates Country Music above the recent spate of country covers records and makes the album an essential addition to Nelson's rich catalogue.
  9. Throughout the album, Burnett's players (including guitarist Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale on harmony vocals) cushion Nelson's singing with warm string-band arrangements that never overpower his understated delivery.
  10. Mr. Nelson is happy to throw tradition by the wayside, let's just say. When those whims lead him to a producer with a particular vision, there can be some serious synergy, and that's definitely the case here.
  11. Hardly revelatory then, but Nelson delivers hardy material like traditional Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down and I Am a Pilgrim with such wizened assurance, it's impossible not to feel the love.
  12. It's an often robust album that flaunts Mr. Nelson's versatility.
  13. Willie didn't need yet another covers album to remind us of his transformative powers, but it's reassuring he still calls Country home.
  14. Most of the time, Nelson just sounds like an old pro happy to play with whoever is in the studio, happy to sing whatever the producer puts in front of him--and that's what makes Country Music not all that different from Songbird or Countryman, which were also driven by their respective producers to places that don't seem as classically country as this purports to be.
  15. His latest album, Country Music, is Willie at his finest, characteristically understated and effortless.

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