June 2019 is Nelson family time: just one week after his son Lukas published the album Turn Off The New (Build A Garden), legendary Willie Nelson releases his Ride Me Back Home. I was looking very much forward to listen into the new songs of this living legend. Here is my review.
Willie Nelson – About the Artist
Do I really need to introduce this one? Born 1933 (yes, he is 86 years old!), Willie Nelson was one of the most important faces in the developmetn of country music. Especially in the 1970s, where eight of his album hit the Top 5 album charts (five of them even topped them) between 1975 and 1979, country music was Willie Nelson music. Overall, he produced 98 studio albums and two soundtracks (plus compilations etc.). Even in the modern era, Nelson left a huge impact in the music business. For example, he received a Grammy in 2019 for his album My Way featuring Frank Sinatra hits.
With this biography, it is hard to pick a single song. Maybe, On The Road Again is one of his most famous songs worldwide.
Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home – Track by Track
Willie Nelson’s 2019 album holds eleven tracks longing 43 minutes.
1. Ride Me Back Home
The album starts with the title track.
We rode into battle barebacked and saddled
You took the wound in your side
You pulled the sleds and you pulled the wagons
You gave ’em somewhere to hide
Now they don’t need you and there’s no one to feed you
And there’s fences where you used to roam
I wish I could gather up all of your brothers
And you would just ride me back home
Nice storytelling, ain’t it? 🙂
2. Come On Time
Strong rhythms, the characteristic Willie Nelson voice – this track strongly reminds me of On the Road Again – and I just like it. Nice one.
3. My Favorite Picture Of You
Though this track is one of four which have been published before album release, the only video I found is of the Jimmy Fallon show.
My favorite picture of you
Is bent and it’s faded
And it’s pinned to my wall
Oh, and you were so angry
But it’s hard to believe
That we were lovers at all
A love song in this very special Willie Nelson way. Wow, love it!
4. Seven Year Itch
Seven Year Itch is the first track on the album, which has not been pre-released. I loved its rhythm, its mixture of country music and a touch of Swing, from the very beginning. I feel it is a damn cool song. Classic, but still modern somehow.
5. Immigrant Eyes
A very impressive song about a grandfather immigranting to the United States landing in Ellis Island. The song is a cover, original by Guy Clarke, I love the interpretation of Willie Nelson and the amazing lyrics. Here are the final lines. So up-to-date nowadays:
My grandfather’s days were numbered
But I won’t let his memory die
‘Cause he gave me the gift of this country
And the looked in his immigrant eyes
Sometimes when I looked in my grandfather’s immigrant eyes
I saw that day reflected and I couldn’t hold my feelings inside
I saw starting with nothing and working hard all of his life
“So don’t take it for granted,” said grandfather’s immigrant eyes
“Don’t take it for granted,” said grandfather’s immigrant eyes
6. Stay Away From Lonely Places
This very classic country music sound song is a new version of the song, which has been published by Willie Nelson in 1972 already.
Stay away from lonely places
It takes time to learn to live alone
And someone’s outstretched arms are waiting
To stay with you at least till dawn
7. Just The Way You Are
You will likely know this Billy Joel classic, even if it takes some verses to identify it in the Willie Nelson world. It is an amazing song in the original version – but I somehow feel a lot of love and fascination for it in the Willie Nelson version, which I also put into my initial Flyctory.com Country Music Playlist.
8. One More Song To Write
This track is very melodic, but still so catchy. Feels a bit like a farewell song on this album.
9. Nobody’s Listening
This is – again – one of these tracks you just listen to. Willie Nelson takes you into his story of people, which are not heard of. You keep listening to it – and feel some sadness that the song is over after five minutes (even if that is the longest song on this album).
10. It’s Hard To Be Humble (with Lukas & Micah Nelson)
This song, recorded with two of WIllie’s sons, Lukas and Micah, is a cover of a 1980 Mac Davis song. It is lovely songwriting and a nice interpretation of a classic.
11. Maybe I Should’ve Been Listening
Maybe I should’ve been Listening
When you said good-bye
A slow track finishes this album. Nice one!
Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home – My View
Wow! I was not too much in Willie Nelson’s music his last 90-something studio albums. But listening to Ride Me Back Home makes me feel somehow guilty for it. He just catches me with every song. The covers are really amazing, the new tracks are good. A touch of classic country music, but so modern. What a nice selection. Good luck with this one, Willie Nelson – and thank you for the music. Top Pick! of course.
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