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Willie Nelson: The Great Divide

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (1/31/02, p.54) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...A glossy, tuneful and turned up to ten...The best moments here are the ones in which Nelson just does his thing all by his bad self..."

Album Notes

Personnel: Willie Nelson (vocals, acoustic guitar); Heitor Periera (guitar); Greg Leisz (pedal steel, dobro); Mickey Raphael (harmonica); Matt Rollings (piano, Wurlitzer piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond B-3 organ); Bonnie Raitt, Bryan McKnight, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Rob Thomas, Lee Ann Womack, Allison Strauss.

Engineers: David Thoener, Steve Marcantonio, Noel Golden.

"Mendocino County Line" (w/ Lee Ann Womack) won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals.

THE GREAT DIVIDE was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Country Album and Best Recording Package. "Mendocino County Line" (w/ Lee Ann Womack) was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

Much like Willie Nelson's millennial all-star effort MILK COW BLUES, THE GREAT DIVIDE is an outing that features a wide assortment of famous folks duetting with Willie in the vein of Santana's comeback effort SUPERNATURAL. Spearheading DIVIDE is Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, who not only wrote three songs and duets on one ("Maria [Shut Up And Kiss Me]") but recruited Matt Serletic (who's also twisted knobs for Thomas's band and Carlos Santana) to produce. The result is a contemporary pop album that lands far afield from Nelson's outlaw roots, aside from the wistful, Mexicali-flavored title track co-written by jazz guitarist/longtime friend Jackie King, and Willie's second cover in a year of Mickey Newbury's left-field nugget "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)."

Elsewhere, the Red-Headed Stranger collaborates with Sheryl Crow (the R&B-flavored "Be There For You"), Kid Rock (the outlaw ballad "Last Stand In Open Country"), Bonnie Raitt (the elegiac "You Remain"), and Brian McKnight (the Sting-like adult pop of "Don't Fade Away"). Nelson even follows in Miles Davis's footsteps by resurrecting Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" and giving it a sprightlier interpretation.



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