eMusic Review 0
Kris Kristofferson would surely belong on any list of the greatest American singer-songwriters but for one simple fact: He can't sing. For much of his career, this niggling detail has been a bigger handicap than his admirers admitted — an even bigger handicap than his lyrics 'gradual devolution into good-hearted but wooden agitprop.
So it's news enough that as Kristofferson closes in on seventy, his croak has at last settled warmly into its distinctive crags on This Old Road. But here's the real crazy part: This Old Road works not in spite of, but because of, the vocals. Don Was produces the album respectfully yet with noticeable intimacy, displaying the same hands-off tendency with which Rick Rubin originally recorded Johnny Cash. In other words, it's mostly Kristofferson and his beat-up acoustic guitar.
This Old Road is an old man's album, and Kristofferson makes for a damn credible old man. Age-earned wisdom doesn't necessarily surface in the lyrics — he still loads up his songs with plenty of angels and highways and roams the faux folkways that lazy songwriters think provide a shortcut to the Truth. But on the title track, the weathered authority of his voice allows him to wring a wholly… read more »