Album: The Great Divide

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Album:

The Great Divide

Artist: Willie Nelson
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Genres:
Label: Lost Highway

Though Willie Nelson has previously demonstrated that he can sing just about anything with just about anyone, The Great Divide shows there are some bridges even he shouldn’t cross. An incongruous array of duet partners join Nelson on this attempt to attract a younger and wider demographic. The project follows the formula that paid such commercial dividends for Carlos Santana, down to the collaboration with matchbox twenty’s Rob Thomas on the opening “Maria.” Nelson proceeds to engage Kid Rock in a transgenerational gunslingers’ duel on “Last Stand in Open…

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Though Willie Nelson has previously demonstrated that he can sing just about anything with just about anyone, The Great Divide shows there are some bridges even he shouldn’t cross. An incongruous array of duet partners join Nelson on this attempt to attract a younger and wider demographic. The project follows the formula that paid such commercial dividends for Carlos Santana, down to the collaboration with matchbox twenty’s Rob Thomas on the opening “Maria.” Nelson proceeds to engage Kid Rock in a transgenerational gunslingers’ duel on “Last Stand in Open Country,” reaches a more comfortable accommodation with neo-soulster Brian McKnight on “Don’t Fade Away,” and meditates on the aging process with three melancholy ballads (“This Face,” “Recollecting Phoenix,” and “You Remain”) that are likely to confound the pop-rock crowd the project seems so intent on converting. The rest of the material ranges from Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” to the psychedelic chestnut “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”—already revived by Nelson on 2001’s Rainbow Connection. Only the Gypsy-tinged title song rings as true as one typically expects from Willie. —Don McLeese

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