Warren Zevon, The Wind

Don Waller

By Don Waller

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Warren Zevon was a sardonic singer-songwriter famed for his dark, witty lyrics and odd subject matter &#8212 his big hit was "Werewolves of London." But his final studio effort balances typical bone-dry drollies ("Dirty Life and Times," "Numb as a Statue," "The Rest of the Night") with a plain-spoken emotional nakedness, whether covering Bob Dylan's "Knockin 'on Heaven's Door" or, most notably, on the album's elegaic closing track, "Keep Me in Your Heart." (Zevon would succumb to cancer, age 56, shortly after the disc's release.) Augmented by a small army of all-stars (Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Don Henley, Dwight Yoakam, among others), Zevon gives guest riff-slingers Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Joe Walsh and Mike Campbell generous solo space throughout, and his politically charged duet with Bruce Springsteen ("Disorder in the House") spotlights some Boss guitar licks, too. The Wind is both a solid introduction and a fitting capstone to this most worthy cult hero's career.