Country Jukebox Jury LP: Willie Nelson – That’s Life

This is the umpteenth album from Willie Nelson who has put his second volume of Frank Sinatra songs. You know what Willie Nelson sounds like by now and it’s 45 years since his album Stardust sold well and made him a critically acclaimed and commercially successful artist. 2018 had him covering My Way, Summer Wind, It Was a Very Good Year and Night And Day, so there are enough classics for volume two.

Many of these songs are part of the quilt of American music: Luck Be a Lady, a very jaunty Learnin’ The Blues, I Won’t Dance (with the ever sultry Diana Krall) and I’ve Got You Under My Skin, here given a bossa nova arrangement. Closing track Lonesome Road is the sort of gospel blues Leon Russell used to do. There’s a reason this album comes out on Legacy Recoprdings.

As with Sinatra’s great recordings with Nelson Riddle’s arrangements of the standards, Willie uses an orchestra on Cottage For Sale and In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. Mickey Raphael’s harmonica pokes out on You Make Me Feel So Young and That’s Life (an anthem for my brother). If you want to soak in the bath or recline on the sofa with a good book, Willie’s new record will be perfect as a soundtrack.

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