Flyinshoes Review

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Rob Ellen


How does he do it? Willie Nelson despite the fact he is 84 years he is still adding fuel to a flame that’s burnt brightly and otherwise ever since he came to Nashville in 1960 (the first time he enjoyed a steady gig that is; it been as bass player in Ray Price’s band, The Cherokee Cowboys). Within a couple of years nudging onto the singles’ chart. Texas-born and Texas proud, Nelson is somewhat an American institution. A genuine survivor that’s for sure. 

Partnered, as he has been since 2008 by long time collaborator Buddy Cannon. Cannon has produced over a dozen of Willie’s albums, and claims Willie to be a jazz singer and jazz player ‘he’s an improvisational musician. It’s different every time’. The stalwarts come through with 11 new most credible songs. Utilising generous helpings of humour and philosophy their songs stand up well, likewise the picking it too is tasty, and with the likes of seasoned band member Mickey Raphael's harmonica never far away ever colourful. 

Title-cut “Last Man Standing” opens the record, and true to its title it speaks of how he has out-lived so many of his friends, people like Merle (Haggard), Waylon (Jennings) and Ray (Price). “Me And You” is as good as it gets, and with Nelson kicking up his heels and trotting out at speed the listener won’t be able to resist the song, and press replay! You’ll find it near as addictive as Willie finds weed. As for Cannon’s claim regards Willie being a jazz singer I have to disagree. He has his own, distinctive yet simple Willie Nelson style. Albeit “Something You Get Through” offers a lazy, but not too lazy a tempo as his voice is supplemented by tasty guitar, harmonica and organ. On past occasions he has struggled to hold my attention on the likes, but here the production and warmth of his tones win me over.  

Cooking up a storm he breezes through gospel warmed “Don’t Tell Noah” (plied in sparkling harmonica, piano and harmony vocals it rocks), and with a melody similar to one of his classic cuts of the 1970s “Bad Breath” is slower and humourus as another song about mortality figures. “Ready To Roar” is a near cousin to the old western swing tune “Stay All Night, Stay A Little Longer”. Superbly presented, it offers all the looseness of a good ol’ fashioned honky tonk Texas Friday night. Follow that anyone! Nelson does just that with “Heaven Is Closed”, and he again touches on some of his past melodies (“Heaven Or Hell”), and with the band cooking up more tasty picking he swings his way through the pedal steel plied “I Ain’t Got Nothin’” like he was a young buck. More Nelson swing blossoms on the likewise killer “She Made My Day”; that sports some great lyrics, and with more than a little humour there is another choice offering and some tasty notes from Trigger (Willie’s guitar) plus sterling pedal steel, harmonica and piano. It sounds more like a show finale than just another song! 

By now Nelson is closing in on the home straight he comes through with steady, reflective ballad that muses of reincarnation on I'll Try To Do Better Next Time", and of how he has lived what is a colourful life. Finally he performs a deeply founded moody “Very Far To Crawl”, I love the electric guitar opening (hints of Pops Staples?).  

Maurice Hope 

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

It is the sum total of over ten years of tending a tender love of music by Shaun, a life time with Trailer Star and five or so years of an association with Rob Ellen from Medicine Music.

The House Concert Hub community will use it for the purpose of providing a online, all singing all dancing, review and preview area for the music of the community, and the music community at large. Have a look around tell your friends use the share button, tell the world.

We need reviewers, the idea is we have a correspondents in every area of the musical global village, it will be edited and co-ordinated by Rob Ellen of Medicine Music publicist promoter and presenter, if you wish to subscribe as a correspondent, join up here and drop Rob a line, he will send you cd's and send you to shows, display and publicise your content.

Here starts an other adventure.

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December 2018
Malford Milligan
75 pts.
Life Will Humble You
Royal Family Records
JD McPherson
61 pts.
New West Records
Rosanne Cash
50 pts.
She Remembers Everything
Blue Note Records
Ad Vanderveen
45 pts.
I Was Hank William
Blue Rose Records
John Hiatt
44 pts.
The Eclipse Sessions
New West
The Yearlings
41 pts.
Lonely Sounds Records
Tip Jar
40 pts.
Nathan Bell
39 pts.
Loves Bones & Stars
Angry Stick Recording Co.
The Brother Brothers
38 pts.
Some People I Know
Compass Records
Richard Dobson
30 pts.
I Hear Singing
Brambus Records
Steve Forbert
29 pts.
The Magic Tree
Blue Rose Music
J.P. Harris
28 pts.
Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing
Free Dirt Records
The Bottle Rockets
24 pts.
Bit Logic
Bloodshot Records
Rodney Crowell
23 pts.
Christmas Everywhere
New West
Christian Kjellvander
22 pts.
Wild Hxmans
Erin Costelo
21 pts.
Sweet Marie
Compass Records
Colter Wall
20 pts.
Songs of the Plains
Young Mary's Record
The Hillbenders
19 pts.
The Hillbenders
Compass Records
Eric Bibb
18 pts.
Global Griot
Stony Plain
Karine Polwart
18 pts.
Laws of Motion
Hudson Records
Carson McHone
17 pts.
Nine Mile Records
Malcolm Holcombe
17 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
Ben Bedford
16 pts.
The Hermit's Spyglass
Cavalier Recordings
Craig Moreau
16 pts.
A Different Kind Of Train
David Olney
16 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music

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