Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Phosphorescent Nelson

This album, To Willie, is really something. The solo artist who goes by Phosporescent, Matthew Houck, has done Willie Nelson justice with this set of 10 covers. Some are the well-worn standards of Willie's thousands of shows, while some are not among the most popular songs in the Red Headed Stranger's catalog, but great tracks nonetheless. Somehow, though, Houck is able to own almost all of these songs ("The Party's Over" excepted, for obvious reasons--it'd be like trying to cover "Whiskey River," and good luck with that).

But what songs.

"Walkin'" soars on lap steel and a rousing chorus, while "It's Not Supposed to Be That Way" breaks your heart with it's fluttering acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies. "I Gotta Get Drunk"stomps where "Heartaches of a Fool" offers up the most bittersweet regret.

It's no big assumption to say that these songs have great meaning for Houck, but he never slips into sentimental tribute here. He makes these songs his own while staying true to the spirit of the man who wrote them.

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