One Hell Of A Ride
Summing up the 54-year career of Willie Nelson can’t even be accomplished with 100 tracks. But it’s a certainly a strong start. Released to coincide with Nelson’s 75th birthday, One Hell of a Ride features all the essential Nelson touchstones, compiling tracks from a multitude of labels and offering a chronological look at the evolution of one of country music’s definitive legends. While his relaxed, swinging croon has become as identifiable and commonplace as his signature tunes (“The Party’s Over,” “Always On My Mind,” “On the Road Again”), Nelson made his career as an “outlaw” country musician, from his unconventional appearance to his free-floating approach to all musical genres. Nelson’s approach was if he sang it, it became a country song. So while his pen gave others hits with “Crazy,” “Hello Walls” and “Funny How Time Slips Away,” his voice lent authority to other songwriters as well, from Fred Rose’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” to Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty” to Bob Dylan’s “What Was It You Wanted.” This retrospective is an in-depth look at a multi-faceted career. That there is even more to explore in Willie’s extensive catalog is testament to his prodigious output and talent.