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LISTENING STATION: Adam Lambert, Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson turned 79 last month, making him older than Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn and pretty much every living country star this side of Ray Price and Little Jimmy Dickens. If six decades of heavy touring have left him tired, though, Mr. Nelson shows little sign of fatigue on “Heroes,” his 66th studio album.
Sure, his voice has become a little weathered, with a wild wobble replacing his once-elegant vibrato. Mr. Nelson can still sell a song, though, even if he can’t sing it as suavely as he used to. “Nobody said it was easy; no one ever said it would be this hard,” he croons during a lovely cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” his cracked vocals illustrating the lyrics better than Chris Martin’s own performance ever did.
There are a lot of covers here, not to mention a lot of guest stars. Even Snoop Dogg puts in an appearance on the novelty tune “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die,” and son Lukas Nelson sings on a whopping nine songs, at times threatening to steal the spotlight from his dad.
Whenever Mr. Nelson sinks his teeth into a western swing number or a Texas country ballad, though, he may as well be the only one in the room. The Red Headed Stranger may have gone gray a long, long time ago, but he hasn’t lost his touch.
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