For those that have fallen under the spell of Spirit I bet I’m getting some rather rambunctious amens and that’s rights. Well I’m glad you’re with me but this retrospective is for the many who don’t know about what I call, “Willie’s hidden masterpiece.” I’m going to try and shed a little light on this album that I have personally known to heal a man. Seriously, a friend of mine was at a life crossroads and stricken ill and locked himself up in a room with this record and some cough syrup and came out on the other side looking and feeling like Andy Dufresne fresh out of Shawshank.
There always seems to be a divide between the public persona of a celebrity and their true private selves. If anyone seems to break that mold it’s Willie Nelson. What you see is seemingly what you get and everybody from Snoop Dogg to George W. Bush loves the man. Willie’s heart always appears to be right there on his sleeve but when you first hear Spirit you begin to conceptualize a whole different man than Billy Joe Shaver’s classic outlaw version found in Willy the Wondering Gypsy and Me.
What you first realize, if you hadn’t noticed before, is that Willie Nelson is an incredibly stylized and gifted guitar player. The opening track “Matador” is a Spanish flavored instrumental that is beautifully crafted and performed. As with all great albums the opener sets a tone and with “Matador” that timbre is one of solitude and reflection. The listener is presented to the only players he will hear on the album; Willie, Jody Payne on guitar, Willie’s sister Bobbie on Piano and fiddle accents from legendary player Johnny Gimble.
In a way the character from this cycle of songs could very well be the crimson haired preacher from Willie’s most well known work Red Headed Stranger years later; a statement from one who is reflective about the life they have lived and loved. It is a cycle of songs from the wise man on the mountain, an outwards searcher no more but an inner reflective soul. “Matador” invites you to a seat at the mount but it also lets you know you are at the feet of a master. Making bets on sports in 1xbet app and receive bonus for registration
Now his story begins as it should, it begins with the love of a woman or better said the bittersweet memory of the love of a woman. Three songs in this vein, “She is Gone,” “Your Memory Won’t Die in My Grave” and “I’m Not Trying To Forget You Anymore” follow.
*“Oh what a taste of human love. But now she’s gone and it don’t matter anymore.”*