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Country Music (Willie Nelson album)

Country Music
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 20, 2010
GenreCountry, bluegrass
Length54:47
LabelRounder
ProducerT Bone Burnett
Willie Nelson chronology
American Classic
(2009)
Country Music
(2010)
Here We Go Again
(2011)

Country Music is the 58th studio album by country artist Willie Nelson. The album consists in a compilation of country music standards. Produced by Grammy-winning T Bone Burnett, it was released on April 20, 2010, by Rounder Records, and according to Nelson is the first traditional album he has ever recorded. It was his first release in the 2010s.

Recording

The album consists in a recollection of country music standards, Nelson stated that the album reflects his ideal of country music, featuring mandolins, fiddles and steel guitars and compared the album to his 1978 pop standards success Stardust.[1] Nelson and music producer T Bone Burnett had the idea to record an album together while they were playing a golf game in California. The album was recorded in Nashville, Nelson stated "We venture into all kinds of music but this is country music. No one would argue the fact that these are country songs".[2]

Reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic78/100[3]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[4]
Engine 145[6]
PopMatters[7]
Slant Magazine[5]

The album reached number four in Billboard's Top Country Albums, number twenty in the Billboard 200[8] and number five in Canadian Top Country Albums. It was nominated for Best Americana Album in the 2011 Grammy Awards.[9]

Billboard described the album as "front-porch, rural and rustic country music".[10] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic thought it lacked the "immediacy" of his recent works, and noted a displeasure in the production which "puts a layer of gauze between the listener and the singer."[11] Juli Thanki of Engine 145 gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, complimenting the musical arrangements and song choices. However, she commented that Nelson's vocal performances were inconsistent on a few of the tracks, namely "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down" and "Dark as a Dungeon."[12]

Slant Magazine rated the article with four stars out of five. Critic Jonathan Keefe wrote: "the spectacular collection of songs as much as Burnett's ace production and Nelson's first-rate performances that elevates Country Music above the recent spate of country covers records and makes the album an essential addition to Nelson's rich catalogue".[13]

BBC music acclaimed Nelson's voice and performance of traditional country covers: "It’s a long way from "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain", "On the Road Again" and "Crazy", and has none of the sparing tension of his finest works like Red Headed Stranger. But the great news is that his greatest asset – that wonderfully persuasive and uniquely distinctive voice – remains perfectly intact, and that alone is cause enough to make it an album to be cherished. [...] Nelson delivers hardy material like traditional "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down" and "I Am a Pilgrim" with such wizened assurance, it’s impossible not to feel the love".[14]

The Washington Post described Country Music as "a calm, contemplative and remarkably consistent album", praising specially the performance of "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down": "[...] while Nelson's voice remains front and center throughout, Burnett's fingerprints are all over "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down." It's a traditional hymn that nudges Nelson out of his easy-breezy comfort zone, placing those warm, generous pipes in an eerie new context. The musicians barely touch their instruments as they creep along to the song's phantom pulse".[15]

PopMatters wrote: "One virtue shared by both Burnett, the producer, and Nelson, the performer, is an unerring trust that the song itself is up to the task. Both stand amongst American music’s most incisive students of song. That expertise reveals itself in both the selection and handling of each track on Country Music. [...] it takes someone like T Bone Burnett to remind us that there’s no one like Willie Nelson".[16]

Track listing

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Man with the Blues"Willie Nelson2:21
2."Seaman's Blues"Billy Talmadge, Ernest Tubb3:22
3."Dark as a Dungeon"Merle Travis4:49
4."Gotta Walk Alone"Weldon Allard, John Hathcock2:13
5."Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down"Traditional3:19
6."My Baby's Gone"Hazel Houser5:05
7."Freight Train Boogie"Jim Scott, Robert Nabor
Credited in the liner notes to Doc Watson
2:39
8."Satisfied Mind"Joe "Red" Hayes, Jack Rhodes3:52
9."You Done Me Wrong"George Jones, Ray Price3:12
10."Pistol Packin' Mama"Al Dexter2:36
11."Ocean of Diamonds"Cliff Carnahan3:36
12."Drinking Champagne"Bill Mack Smith3:42
13."I Am a Pilgrim"Traditional4:52
14."House of Gold"Hank Williams4:43
15."Nobody's Fault but Mine"Traditional4:26
Total length:54:47

Personnel

Chart performance

Country Music debuted at #4 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart and at #20 on the U.S. Billboard 200. As of May 19, 2010, the album has sold 45,348 copies.[17]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 4
U.S. Billboard 200 20
Swedish Albums Chart 41

End of year charts

Chart (2010) Year-end
2010
US Billboard Top Country Albums 66[18]

References

  1. ^ "CMT Insider Interview: Willie Nelson". CMT. MTV Networks. April 23, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  2. ^ Evans-Price, Deborah (April 21, 2010). "Willie Nelson Delivers True 'Country Music'". The Boot. AOL Inc. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  3. ^ "Country Music". Metacritic. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  4. ^ AllMusic review
  5. ^ Slant Magazine review
  6. ^ Engine 145 review Archived 2012-10-18 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ PopMatters review
  8. ^ Hall, Tara (July 13, 2010). "Willie Nelson pushes "Country Music" nationwide". Sound Spike. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  9. ^ "Last.fm Trends: Willie Nelson's On Grammy Road Again". Last.fm. CBS. February 3, 2011. Archived from the original on February 22, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  10. ^ Graff, Gary (April 30, 2010). "Willie Nelson, "Country Music"". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  11. ^ Thomas, Stephen (2010-04-20). "( Country Music > Overview )". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  12. ^ "Album Review: Willie Nelson – Country Music". Engine 145. May 28, 2010. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  13. ^ Keefe, Jonathan (April 19, 2010). "Willie Nelson Country Music". Slant Magazine. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  14. ^ Irwin, Colin (April 28, 2010). "So assured is Nelson that it's impossible not to feel the love". BBC Music. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  15. ^ Richards, Chris (April 20, 2010). "Album reviews: Willie Nelson, "Country Music" and Merle Haggard, "I Am What I Am"". Click Track. The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  16. ^ Child, Ben (April 23, 2010). "Willie Nelson: Country Music". PopMatters.com. PopMatters. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  17. ^ "Lady Antebellum Leads SoundScan Charts Again | New Country Music, Listen to Songs & Video". Roughstock.com. Archived from the original on 2010-05-23. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  18. ^ "Best of 2010 - Top Country Albums". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2010-12-31.

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