It looks good on paper: veteran country outlaw Willie gets a rock makeover from Ryan Adams and band. The record tells a different story; Willie plodding through pointless Fleetwood Mac and Grateful Dead covers or buried under an avalanche of crashing guitars on the specially-written-by-Ryan 'Blue Hotel'. For relief there is one new Nelson song, the poignant 'Back to Earth', some noisy remakes of his back catalogue, and a closing 'Amazing Grace' which combines comatose vocals and overblown arrangements. A messy car crash of a record.
CD: Willie Nelson and the Cardinal, Songbird
Neil Spencer is a writer and an astrologer for The Observer