After dabbling in reggae and the American songbook during the aughts, Willie Nelson began reclaiming his country roots on last year's Country Music. Here, he nails classics like George Jones' "Why Baby Why" and "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke," a 1947 novelty hit mocking cigarette addiction. Nelson's voice is perfectly preserved, but an overstuffed band of Nashville pros provides stiff arrangements, and Willie has already released better versions of several tracks here. Nelson has been working on his first collection of new material in ages; hopefully that future is more inspiring than this version of the past.
From The Archives Issue 1148: January 19, 2012