Songbird - Willie Nelson
Songbird Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Summary: Youngster Ryan Adams produced this 11-song mix of originals and covers, which also includes musical backing from Adams' band The Cardinals.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 3 out of 19
  1. The best Nelson set since 1996's Spirit. [Dec 2006, p.138]
  2. 80
    The sound is urgent and instinctive. [Dec 2006, p.124]
  3. Not all the songs work as well... But Adams dials in the sound of vintage Willie on a new version of "Sad Songs and Waltzes," and suddenly the pairing seems positively inspired.
  4. The Cardinals' indistinct country-rock hybrid muffles the material.
  5. Ultimately Songbird feels a bit rushed, and when you have as gifted a songwriter as Adams working with as gifted a songwriter as the Red-Headed Stranger, it's a bit of a letdown to ponder what they could have done.
  6. [It] feels more like record label franchise building--"And let's get Willie to sing a Grateful Dead song!" "Cool!"--than an actual, like, album.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 4 out of 12
  1. jonnyl
    Nov 2, 2006
    Album of the year.
  2. RickC
    Nov 11, 2006
  3. VickyT
    Nov 19, 2006
    come on it is Wllie nelson!!!!!!!!!!
  4. JonW
    Oct 31, 2006
  5. ChrisS
    Nov 6, 2006
    I think that some of these reviews are a tad unfair; what did slant magazine's "dissapointed" reviewer expect this to sound like? Ryan Adams' recent tendencies towards amelodic guitar fills (strangely prevalent on a song they don't belong in, "Stella Blue") don't really work with Willie's voice, but the quality of the arrangement is inescapable. I like this album, but I don't love it like I thought I would when I heard it was coming out. It seems like Adams picked covers for himself to sing, had his band play them, but then allowed another singularly talented artist to add his stamp, to mixed results. It could have been better, sure, but I'm not dissapointed. Expand
  6. ToddW
    Oct 31, 2006
    This is an emperor has no clothes review. Someone has to tell Willie to just stop. He's trying so hard to be Sewerstream viable that he's veering dangerously close to Janet Jackson territory. At least we won't have to worry about 'Ol Willie having a wardrobe malfunction. More like a wardrobe conflagration from either the marijuana or his biodiesel catching him on fire. I sat in the front row at one of his concerts 25 years ago and there was no better showman. However, if he continues on this path he should get on his bus, fire up the French fries, and take it back to Luckenbach, Texas. Or maybe make his next album with that other cultural cockroach, Keith Richards. Expand
  7. ChrisB
    Nov 6, 2006
    Absolutely horrible

See all 12 User Reviews