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Rhodes scholar. Outlaw songwriter. Movie Star. Highwayman.
Kris Kristofferson is one of American music's great treasures, a songwriter of uncommon emotion, lyrical dexterity, and passionate intensity. His songs have been recorded by a stunning variety of artists, from Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson to Frank Sinatra and Janis Joplin. THE AUSTIN SESSIONS - Kristofferson's Atlantic debut and first new recording since 1995 - finds this consummate musician revisiting a number of his best-loved songs.
When an artist rerecords the songs that brought him fame, fans have a right to be skeptical. After all, such moves are generally prompted more by a yearning to restore one's financial rather than artistic standing. This project by country maverick Kris Kristofferson, however, has one major factor in its favor: Kristofferson's original early-1970s recordings of the likes of "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," and "The Pilgrim: Chapter 33" were significant, but less than definitive. Here he returns to the tunes that helped lay the groundwork for the Outlaw movement of the '70s, but in place of the stolid Nashville arrangements on the originals is more sympathetic accompaniment. While The Austin Sessions is star-studded (guests include Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, Vince Gill, and Alison Krauss), the project really rests on the broad shoulders of Kristofferson, who fares well. Never a threat to George Jones as a vocalist, he nevertheless sounds comfortable in a largely acoustic setting rasping his way through songs he should be prouder than ever for penning. --Steven Stolder
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