Kris Kristofferson

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Feeling Mortal (2012):

Kris Kristofferson remembers immortality. “Nothing could kill me,” he says, recalling his 1960s days in Nashville, when he roared for years on end, somehow finding time amidst the chaos to change the language of country music. “I was rolling cars and wrecking motorcycles, drinking and doing everything I could to die early. But it didn’t work.” Didn’t work at all. Kristofferson is 76 now and on his 28th album, the aptly titled Feeling Mortal.

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Closer to the Bone (2009):

Kris Kristofferson returns to the essentials of his finely honed craft on his new album Closer To The Bone. Like the master singer-songwriter s 2006 New West bow This Old Road, this album is produced by Grammy Award winner Don Was. The previous collection was hailed by critics as one of the finest albums of his storied career (Rolling Stone), a stripped-down stunner (Esquire), and a return to his best work (Q). Kristofferson says of the new album, I like the intimacy of the new album. It has a general mood of reflecting on where we all are at this end of life. Closer To The Bone is a deftly observed, honestly executed work about love, separation, loss, and mortality. The subject matter ranges from the musician s family ( From Here to Forever, The Wonder ) to Kristofferson s late friend Johnny Cash ( Good Morning John ).

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This Old Road (2006):

Kris Kristofferson has always identified himself first and foremost as a writer, and true writers know that what works best is giving a piece of themselves to the listener. With his latest album, This Old Road, Kristofferson lays a chunk of his own soul on every track. This beautifully sparse recording, puts an emphasis on his fine lyrics and distinctive voice by featuring Kristofferson, his guitar, and harmonica. The album is so intimate it makes the listener feel as if they are sitting in Kristofferson’s living room while he picks and sings just for them.

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The Pilgrim (2006)

With all the attention garnered by Kris Kristofferson in the year of his 70th birthday, this exemplary tribute showcases the many facets of his songwriting--political, spiritual, self-mythologizing, peerlessly romantic--while celebrating the esteem in which he's held by generations of fellow artists. Neither Gretchen Wilson nor Shooter Jennings is as old as some of Kristofferson's best-known songs, but they acquit themselves just fine on "Sunday Mornin' Coming Down" and "The Silver Tongued Devil and I," respectively. It's no surprise that Emmylou Harris makes "The Pilgrim: Chapter 33" sound more beautiful than ever (with a surprisingly smooth segue from the recorded introduction by a young Kristofferson), that Rosanne Cash gets under the skin of "Lovin' Him Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)," or that Willie Nelson captures the wistful essence of the epic "The Legend." Yet part of the collection's appeal is that it takes some radical chances, with Brian McKnight transforming "Me and Bobby McGee" into an achingly soulful ballad, though the stripped-down pop duet by the usually superb Lloyd Cole and Jill Sobule on "For the Good Times" falls comparatively flat. Kristofferson gets the last word with a closing demo from 35 years ago, with "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" providing an apt finale. --Don McLeese

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