This Old Road
In marked contrast to the rapid-fire release schedule of his ‘70s career, Kris Kristofferson took 11 year between A Moment of Forever and his second collaboration with producer Don Was, 2006’s This Old Road. The attention to depth and quality is immediately noticeable. Whereas Kristofferson used to seem agitated or distracted on his recordings, he now appears fully present in mind and spirit and his lyrics strike the perfect balance of purpose and concision. “The Show Goes On,” “The Last Thing To Go” and “This Old Road” find him reflecting on a long and eventful life. Backed only by his longtime partner Stephen Bruton (with additional contributions from Was and drummer Jim Keltner), we are given to hear every hard-won crease in his voice and guitar playing. There are still songs about poisoned love and political strife, but the album feels valedictory in the most wholehearted and generous sense of the word. “Thank You For a Life” is the kind of song that only an experienced performer could pull off, and Kristofferson carries himself as if he’s been waiting 70 years to sing it.