Country Music

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With an all-inclusive album title like this, Willie wastes no time in delving into the heart of vintage country, served up in his sparse, acoustic style, with producer T Bone Burnett (Crazy Heart) at the helm. T Bone’s production lends warmth to Willie’s distinctive vocal delivery, which sounds as worn and durable as the well-weathered old-time country tunes he covers here, including “Dark as the Dungeon” (an ode to the mysterious pull of the coal mines) and Ernest Tubb’s “Seaman’s Blues” (a tale of a sailor longing for his lover in Texas). Like any good country album, this set contains its share of spirituals, including “I Am a Pilgrim,” “House of Gold” and the haunting “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down,” while Willie’s mournful and repentant take on the oft-recorded gospel-blues standard “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” taps the same vein Johnny Cash did on his final recordings. Willie picks up the pace on “Pistol Packin’ Mama” and “Man With the Blues,” on which sprightly fiddle work shines. Meanwhile, “Freight Train Boogie,” with its relentless bass groove, jaunty melody and driving harmonica, chugs along nicely. This truly country album lives up to its name.

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