Willie Nelson, Yesterday’s Wine

Andy Beta

By Andy Beta

on 05.15.11 in Reviews

Yesterday's Wine

Willie Nelson
A mystical record on birth and mortality

“Do you know why you’re here?” With that question begins one of history’s strangest country records, especially when Willie’s answer comes: “There’s great confusion on earth…and the voice of imperfect man must now be made manifest and I have been selected as the most likely candidate.” Buyers were confused by Yesterday’s Wine as well, a mystical record on birth and mortality cloaked in a roughneck country sleeve. Yes, Willie’s voice is imperfect on his first concept album, and more mystical than the others that followed, Phases & Stages or Redheaded Stranger. But some of his gentlest songs come to the fore here, be they the lilting waltz medley of “These Are Difficult Times/Remember the Good Times” or the melancholic “December Day.” Even the celebratory title cut feels repentant while “Me and Paul” is one of his finest odes to friendship.