American Classic – Willie Nelson

Is schmaltz ever an acceptable component of a song? It is when Willie Nelson serves it up. On American Classic, the tracks here are as well known as mid-sixties American television. A time when this kind of gooey sonic goodness was delivered up at 45 rpm by a jukebox stuck in the corner of your favorite drinking establishment.

Yes this was a time when the music you heard in elevators was hummed by human voices and a conductor was a necessary member of a large number of bands of the day. Now to try to pull off this kind of shtick in this age takes a performer very comfortable with his audience and place in the scheme of things and Willie’s craft is a case study in that relaxed demeanor.

Tracks like Fly Me To The Moon, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Always On My Mind are part of almost every music fan’s lexicon of songs, through either direct effort or osmosis. These are songs that have popped up is so many different places, music fan or not, almost every member of western society has heard them time and time again. So hearing them now, in one place and performed by a master of understatement provides a very warm and comfortable aural blanket.

The critic in me puts down the poison pen when Willie puts his croon on and with American Classic it’s no different. So the next time you need a soundtrack behind the clink of martini glasses or just want to reminisce about the good ole days, you know my recommendation.

Rob Hudson

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