This Old Road

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Much of popular music is occupied with young people chronicling their ideas, complaints and concerns. That's fine, but it's nice to hear what the view is like at the other end of the road sometimes—the end with more miles behind it than ahead, the one where all the hard-won wisdom is found.

That's why we're lucky to have Kris Kristofferson, who turns 70 later this year, back in the game. His first album of new songs in 11 years is a simple, elemental document carrying the thoughts of a man who's lived life to its fullest for a long, long time—with all the satisfactions and complications that implies. Kris also addresses a lot of the themes that have carried through his entire career: celebration of the individual, defiant liberalism, the complexity of love and—most of all—his eternal obsession, freedom.

Sonically, This Old Road is centered around Kris' voice and acoustic guitar, with accompaniment added only when the song absolutely demands it. The result is a sparse, honest album that offers a clear focus on the continuing vitality of an American treasure.

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