Willie Nelson's new album "Country Music" is out this week, released, along with some other good CD's, on Tuesday, April 20.

That's 4-20 for Willie. A coincidence? How could it be?

Willie is a genius.

***

THE SCENE: Four guys sitting inside Willie's tour bus, gathered around a big, round, expensively fake wood table, lounging comfortably in a wraparound booth. Deep brown leather couch seats. Ray Wylie Hubbard music is playing on the bus sound system.

(Fade In, through a light haze of smoke. It is daytime, but the curtains are shut. Still, some light creeps in.)

Guy #1: (squinting and smiling) "Hey. Good shit WIllie"

Willie: (knowingly) "Yep"

(10 second pause)

Guy #3: "When's your new album come out?"

Willie: (matter-of-factly) "4-20"

Guy #2: "What?"

(10 second pause)

Guy#2: "Hey, 4-20. I get it."

Willie: "Where'd Snoop go?

(Laughter among the four slowly builds until two guys are coughing, and then one guy slowly begins rolling another joint....)

(Fade to Black)

NY TIMES REVIEW OF "Country Music"

"Plenty of recent albums by Mr. Nelson have felt distant and phoned-in. Here, though, his voice uncharacteristically has barely a hint of lethargy. As a result the soft country waltzes — delivered by a crack band that includes Buddy Miller on guitar, Russell Pahl on pedal steel and Jim Lauderdale singing backup vocals — become richer and more surprising."

read review

More of this week's album releases:

Shelby Lynne - Tears, Lies, And Alibis - Self-produced and self-released, the take-no-prisoners country chick who traveled the road ahead of Miranda Lambert makes the best album of her career.

  • Shelby Lynne

Rusty Bladen - Homegrown Treasures - Indiana roots-rocker plugs in the acoustic, turns it up, and records a live show in Nashville, Indiana. There's a reason he's continues to make fans after 20 years in the Indiana clubs and roadhouses, and this album captures the spririt of his show.

Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders - Red Light Fever - The Foo Fighter drummer brings his golden- boy looks out from behind the drumkit and rocks a set of tunes far more grinningly powerpoppy than his regular band lays down in the studio. The unexpected gem of the week....

Merle Haggard: - I Am What I Am - And what he is includes ballads, a touch of Western swing, some Dixieland, and lyrics that eat their way into your head. An album that sounds similar to what the Hag has done for 40 or so years, but better than most late-career works, because it sounds like he cares.

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