Review Summary: One of the legends of country is back again
Among country fans, Willie Nelson needs no introduction. With the possible exceptions of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, he really has no equals in terms of influence and renown. Especially now that his stellar contemporaries such as Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and George Jones have passed on, Willie stands alone as a representation of the genre's glorious past. Now a spry 87 years old, he's responded with quite a prolific last few years of album releases. First Rose Of Spring is his latest effort.
Comprised of eleven songs clocking in around forty-one minutes, First Rose Of Spring is a mellow effort which breezes by. It has an autumnal air as Nelson muses over the past, love lost and found, and the specter of death around the corner. It's a shockingly consistent collection of tunes, with the old singer's voice sounding remarkably good, and the songs (most of which are not Nelson compositions) well selected. There's really no filler, although a few songs stand out. The opener and title track is exceptional, as is the following "Blue Star". Late album gem "Stealing Home" is one of the best songs released this year, hands down, especially if you enjoy sad, sentimental, country songs. Nelson's version of the 70s classic "I'm The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised" is also a standout.
First Rose Of Spring comes highly recommended for anyone who appreciates traditional country music. With its quality and subject matter, it would be a perfect swan song for Willie Nelson, if his recent string of albums does not continue on in the coming years. At the same time, its excellence gives hope that we may expect even more beautiful music coming in the future from this musical legend.