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Willie Nelson|That's Life

That's Life

Willie Nelson

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It's fascinating that both Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, late in their careers, have been motivated to record albums of songs associated with Frank Sinatra. While their voices have faded (and could never rival Sinatra's mastery even in their best days), both of these towering figures, drawn first by the riches of the Great American Songbook, have also lived lives filled with the same highs and lows that powered Sinatra's original versions.

Given the similarities between Sinatra's time as a saloon singer and Nelson's honky tonk years, Willie and his ever-craggier voice are uniquely qualified for another stroll down Tin Pan Alley. His 1978 standards set Stardust was a revelation, flabbergasting country music fans and making Nelson's canny ambitions a star in the larger music world. In 2016 he tapped into the Gershwins for Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin followed My Way, his first collection of Sinatra-centric standards, two years later.

Now at the tender age of 87, when the sentiments behind Sinatra's showstopper "My Way" apply to Nelson more than ever, he gives another bravura vocal performance—albeit with a few shaky moments. A classy, smart, tremendously appealing production from start to finish, That's Life surrounds Nelson's vocal takes with snappy, brass-heavy arrangements by the multi-talented, Nashville-based keyboardist Matt Rollings who clearly drew inspiration from Sinatra collaborators like Nelson Riddle and Billy May. "Luck Be a Lady," the only track where Nelson's voice sounds overmatched, gets a welcome Latin zest; a pair of hits—"I've Got You Under My Skin," and "You Make Me Feel So Young"—come off smoothly; a duet with Diana Krall of "I Won't Dance" is a nice change of pace. And on a relaxed reading of the title track which Nelson sings like he wrote it, Paul Franklin's steel guitar adds a welcome touch of country music flavor. Of the two weepers here—both of which were among Sinatra's greatest performances—"In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," works best with Mickey Raphael, longtime member of Nelson's crew, adding a distinct harmonica solo.

Tracked at Capitol Studios in Hollywood where Sinatra made many of his greatest recordings, and mixed by the great Al Schmitt, the production of That's Life is focused on Nelson's voice being front and center in an expansive overall sound that is uncluttered despite a plethora of instruments. A triumph! © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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That's Life

Willie Nelson

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1
Nice Work If You Can Get It
00:02:35

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - George Gershwin, Composer, Lyricist - Ira Gershwin, Composer, Lyricist - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

2
Just In Time
00:02:25

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - Jule Styne, Composer, Lyricist - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Adolph Green, Composer, Lyricist - Betty Comden, Composer, Lyricist - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

3
Cottage For Sale
00:02:54

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Larry Conley, Composer, Lyricist - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - WILLARD ROBISON, Composer, Lyricist - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

4
I've Got You Under My Skin
00:03:34

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - Cole Porter, Composer, Lyricist - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

5
You Make Me Feel So Young
00:02:52

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - JOSEF MYROW, Composer, Lyricist - Mack Gordon, Composer, Lyricist - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

6
I Won't Dance (feat. Diana Krall)
00:03:25

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Diana Krall, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - Jerome Kern, Composer, Lyricist - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dorothy Fields, Composer, Lyricist - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Oscar Hammerstein II , Composer, Lyricist - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Otto Harbach, Composer, Lyricist - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - Jimmy McHugh, Composer, Lyricist - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer - Willie Nelson feat. Diana Krall, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

7
That's Life
00:03:39

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Dean Kay, Composer, Lyricist - Kelly Gordon, Composer, Lyricist - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

8
Luck Be a Lady
00:03:04

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - FRANK LOESSER, Composer, Lyricist - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

9
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
00:02:58

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - Bob Hilliard, Composer, Lyricist - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - David Mann, Composer, Lyricist - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

10
Learnin' the Blues
00:03:31

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Dolores Vicki Silvers, Composer, Lyricist - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

11
Lonesome Road
00:03:41

Paul Nelson, Strings - Dean Parks, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Clapping - Jeff Coffin, Tenor Saxophone - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Piltch, Bass, Clapping - Kristin Wilkinson, Strings - Chris McDonald, Trombone - Mickey Raphael, Harmonica - Jay Bellerose, Drums, Tambourine, Clapping - MATT ROLLINGS, Producer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Clapping - Dan Rudin, Engineer - Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar - Mark Douthit, Alto Saxophone - DAVID DAVIDSON, Strings - David Angell, Strings - Al Schmitt, Mixing Engineer - Monisa Angell, Strings - Karen Winkelmann, Strings - Barry Green, Trombone - CONNI ELLISOR, Strings - Mike Haynes, Trumpet - Steve Patrick, Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet - BUDDY CANNON, Producer, Clapping - Sari Reist, Strings - Eric Boulanger, Mastering Engineer - Ed Cherney, Recording Engineer, Clapping - Steve Genewick, Assistant Engineer - Gene Austin, Composer, Lyricist - Doug Moffet, Baritone Saxophone - Tony Castle, Recording Engineer - NIKO BOLAS, Mixing Engineer - Steve Chadie, Recording Engineer - Nathaniel Shilkret, Composer, Lyricist - Chandler Harrod, Assistant Engineer - Charlie Kramsky, Assistant Engineer - Sean Badum, Assistant Engineer - Cornelia Heard, Strings - Alison Hoffman, Strings - Jeff Fitzpatrick, Assistant Engineer - Kevin Bate, Strings - Carrie Bailey, Strings - Paul Silveria, Engineer - Shane Burgess, Assistant Engineer - Matt Forbes, Clapping - Lucas Glenney-Tagtmeier, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2021 Sony Music Entertainment

Descrição do álbum

It's fascinating that both Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, late in their careers, have been motivated to record albums of songs associated with Frank Sinatra. While their voices have faded (and could never rival Sinatra's mastery even in their best days), both of these towering figures, drawn first by the riches of the Great American Songbook, have also lived lives filled with the same highs and lows that powered Sinatra's original versions.

Given the similarities between Sinatra's time as a saloon singer and Nelson's honky tonk years, Willie and his ever-craggier voice are uniquely qualified for another stroll down Tin Pan Alley. His 1978 standards set Stardust was a revelation, flabbergasting country music fans and making Nelson's canny ambitions a star in the larger music world. In 2016 he tapped into the Gershwins for Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin followed My Way, his first collection of Sinatra-centric standards, two years later.

Now at the tender age of 87, when the sentiments behind Sinatra's showstopper "My Way" apply to Nelson more than ever, he gives another bravura vocal performance—albeit with a few shaky moments. A classy, smart, tremendously appealing production from start to finish, That's Life surrounds Nelson's vocal takes with snappy, brass-heavy arrangements by the multi-talented, Nashville-based keyboardist Matt Rollings who clearly drew inspiration from Sinatra collaborators like Nelson Riddle and Billy May. "Luck Be a Lady," the only track where Nelson's voice sounds overmatched, gets a welcome Latin zest; a pair of hits—"I've Got You Under My Skin," and "You Make Me Feel So Young"—come off smoothly; a duet with Diana Krall of "I Won't Dance" is a nice change of pace. And on a relaxed reading of the title track which Nelson sings like he wrote it, Paul Franklin's steel guitar adds a welcome touch of country music flavor. Of the two weepers here—both of which were among Sinatra's greatest performances—"In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," works best with Mickey Raphael, longtime member of Nelson's crew, adding a distinct harmonica solo.

Tracked at Capitol Studios in Hollywood where Sinatra made many of his greatest recordings, and mixed by the great Al Schmitt, the production of That's Life is focused on Nelson's voice being front and center in an expansive overall sound that is uncluttered despite a plethora of instruments. A triumph! © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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