Willie Nelson
Red Headed Stranger


4.5
superb

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
December 12th, 2010 | 70 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The musical equivalent of a shot of bourbon.

Take a poll of your friends. Ask them the following question: “What kind of music do you like?” Chances are that a majority of them will answer something along the lines of, “I dunno, a bit of everything... Except country.” Well, that's their loss, and probably yours too. I'll be the first person to admit that when it comes to my FM dial, the local country music station and its insipid southern tinged pop has been blacklisted. But in all reality, the stuff that takes up the airwaves is about as country as The Eagles. Not very. But there's a reason why Garth Brooks has sold more than 120 million albums. When it's good, it's damn good. Maybe this stems from my affinity for hard drinkin' tunes by bigger than life personalities, but when it comes to me and country music, its “Outlaw” era reigns supreme. Flying in defiance of the colored patent leather boots and rhinestone glamor of the mainstream, the outlaw country movement was a back to basics roots movement that embraced the Americana folk sound of legends like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, while updating it with a healthy dose of Honky Tonk. Today, some of its biggest stars are only known by younger audiences for their eventual commercial cash grabs, like Hank Williams Jr. and his “rowdy friends' on Monday Night Football or Waylon Jennings and his narrator role in the Dukes of Hazzard, and not for their decades of consistent song-craft. Willie Nelson gets thrown in with them too for being the go to cameo in any movie that has a scene with a bong in its script. But before he was showing up blazed on Larry King Live and touring in a bio-fuel bus, he was a country icon, releasing a stretch of albums in the 70's that are classic pieces of America. The best of these is his 1975 album Red Headed Stranger.

The Red Headed Stranger is simple and bare. Following the story of a preacher man that kills his cheating wife and her lover, ol' Willie spins the tale with a laid back nonchalance that just seems to ooze out of him, his aching chords and somber melodies encapsulating the futility and pain of his character's situation, as if he himself was recounting it to you over a couple drinks at an old, dusty, run down bar on the edge of a town that no one even remembers the name of, but it's there, and you're there, and he's stuck in the same rut telling you his life story. The concept itself isn't important as a whole to why this is a classic though. Each song stands on its own as a testament to love, loss, and the dreary happenings that always seem to follow the most broken of broken souls. Sometimes it takes the wail of a well worn old telecaster strumming away some trusty old chords or the crying of minor key harmonica being played from the gut to get across just how someone truly feels, and those moments are in abundance throughout Willie Nelson's opus.

The Red Headed Stranger is timeless. Willie Nelson's captivating story telling, and the minimalist majesty of his music fills a well worn grove in the hearts of those that enjoy the folk roots of the United States. It's like an old worn coat that should have been thrown out years ago, but it's just too damn comfortable to let go so it collects its rips and tears with dignity, knowing full well that it will always be there when you need it.



Recent reviews by this author
YOB Clearing The Path To AscendUnited Nations The Next Four Years
Matter TeraphimThe Hotelier Home, Like NoPlace Is There
Owls TwoTaking Back Sunday Happiness Is
user ratings (77)
Chart.
4.4
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2010


7307 Comments


but it's there, and your there

You're, perhaps?

Excellent review Adam. I should definitely listen to more country haha.

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2010


17215 Comments


fixed. thanks

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

TheBoss88
December 12th 2010


208 Comments


Adam if you haven't, do yourself a huge favor and check out Stardust! Absolutely incredible.

emmy
December 12th 2010


205 Comments


this album has like three songs
they sound pretty good though

Burn2Burn
December 12th 2010


2378 Comments


willie fuckin nelson

jrowa001
December 12th 2010


8750 Comments


this is a great album. one of the few albums my dad has that i like

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2010


17215 Comments


whoa a jr and jeff sighting on the same page.

alt
December 13th 2010


230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks

taylormemer
December 13th 2010


4917 Comments


Oh dear...

FyodorDostoevsky
December 13th 2010


412 Comments


I'm one of those that enjoys pretty much every genre except country, but that's mostly because what people today call country is really just terrible pop music.

BigHans
December 13th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Love this album. It would be the perfect album if you were out in the middle of the desert sleeping by a campfire while drinking a shitload of whiskey and trying to impress women with your sensitive guitar picking. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain is one of my favorite songs, and embodies this perfectly.

whywontyoudie
December 13th 2010


3063 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

never really listened to Willie Nelson before. my step-dad got drunk with him about a year ago after a show. will more than likely try listening to this soon.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2010


17215 Comments


I knew BigHans would make an appearance

couldwinarabbit
December 13th 2010


6996 Comments


great review. I should listen to Willie Nelson I have really been digging Hank Williams lately.

Also redsky in your last list I posted a fantastic and underrated country album you will probably love it.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2010


17215 Comments


sweet, i'll check it out.

ShadowRemains
December 13th 2010


20847 Comments


really good review

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2010


17215 Comments


checked it out. it was good. thanks

ConsiderPhlebas
December 13th 2010


6157 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This sounds awesome

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2010


17215 Comments


I can be pretty convincing when I want to be

HalfManHalfAmazing
December 14th 2010


565 Comments


The man has a waay too many albums to stomach




You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy