Countless western movies have centered around the theme of a young turk coming into town to try to take down a legendary gunslinger. well, for the past couple of decades, Willie Nelson has turned that imagery on its head, attracting countless younger artists eager to soak up some of his musical mojo and infuse the master\\\'s work with some of their own spirit.
Moment of Forever, the latest of these matches made in....well, most likely in an out-of-the-way texas watering hole, matches willie with kenny chesney. the very idea of these seemingly disparate characters coming together is intriguing enough on paper. what really counts, however, is how it works on disc -- and work it does, with chesney\\\'s production bringing out nelson\\\'s natural warmth and grace the way a snake charmer lures a cobra out of hiding.
Not that Moment of Forever holds much in the way of venom. sure, there are dark moments -- Willie\\\'s take on Dave Matthews\\\' "Gravedigger" exudes a strong sense of danger -- but as is always the case with the legendary performer\\\'s work, every cloud carries a silver lining.
This time around, the sparkle comes in the form of tracks like the honky-tonk swing-fest "worry b gone" -- on which willie trades verses with chesney, both taking turns shaking their heads about the state of world affairs while looking forward to the next sip of that elixir that\\\'ll fix those troubles but good. that easy vibe carries over to the gently celebratory "i\\\'m alive" -- on which Nelson marvels at life\\\'s simple pleasures, reminding listeners that "breathing in and out\\\'s a blessing, can\\\'t you see?"
Willie\\\'s been sharing those blessings for the better part of 50 years, and maintaining perpetual motion for virtually that entire span. he\\\'s communed with giants who\\\'ve passed on (from ray charles to waylon jennings) and a slew of the aforementioned young turks (including Toby Keith) and never broken stride as he\\\'s glided from classic country to roots reggae, from rockin\\\' blues to slinky jazz.
While he\\\'s written some of the most enduring tunes of the past few decades -- from the patsy cline-immortalized "crazy" to "funny how time slips away" -- nelson has long been considered one of the premiere song interpreters of his time, infusing a surprising array of tunes with his singular personality. that comes through in a slew of moment of forever\\\'s highlights, including a hushed, poignant version of the Kris Kristofferson-penned title track and a super-heated, album-closing version of Bob Dylan\\\'s "gotta serve somebody."
The songs that Nelson wrote for Moment of Forever take on many of the same topics addressed in that pair of tracks -- taking stock of a life well lived and considering the possibilities of what might lay down the road. on songs like the sweetly twanging "always now," Willie comes across like a man who\\\'s come to terms with most of those issues, coming to the conclusion that "there never was a used to be...it\\\'s always now."
Getting lost in that moment -- or, more accurately, finding it and holding onto it -- is what willie nelson has always been about, and it\\\'s never been easier to join him there than on Moment of Forever.