The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Phil Stafford


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This is Wil­lie Nel­son’s 70th solo stu­dio al­bum, a stag­ger­ing tally over a 58-year record­ing ca­reer. But Nel­son, now 87, has no il­lu­sions about his longevity, as at least half the songs on First Rose of Spring at­test. “If I beat you to the end, I’ve had a big head start it’s true,” he sings on Blue Star, one of only two songs on the al­bum he had a hand in writ­ing (both with pro­ducer Buddy Can­non). The line al­ludes to Nel­son’s three-decade mar­riage to fourth wife An­nie D’An­gelo, 24 years his ju­nior. It’s typ­i­cal of the wry hu­mour and con­tented air of res­ig­na­tion that en­shrouds this 11-track col­lec­tion, played and writ­ten by the cream of Nashville’s mu­sic mafia. Don’t Let the Old

Man In, a song by long­time Nel­son col­lab­o­ra­tor Toby Keith, pulls down the shut­ters on death it­self, while Nel­son closes the al­bum with his unique take on Charles Az­navour’s

Yes­ter­day When I was Young, tongue firmly in cheek.

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