Home Read Classic Album Review: Willie Nelson & Friends | Stars & Guitars

Classic Album Review: Willie Nelson & Friends | Stars & Guitars

The red-headed stranger tosses off forgettable live duets with the usual suspects.


This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Frankly, I’m starting to worry about Willie.

Not long ago, there was a time when he was a rebel, an individual, an outlaw. Not to mention a guy who made good records. Lately, he’s been none of these. Instead, he’s churning out cruddy blues albums, bizarre kids’ records and more self-congratulatory, star-studded discs than Sinatra and Santana combined. Stars & Guitars — a bunch of live duets between Willie and the usual roster of country boys and popstars — is just the latest turd in the punchbowl. Oh sure, there are a few cool cuts, like when he hooks up with Ryan Adams, Hank III and Keith Richards on The Rolling StonesDead Flowers, or when he croons Lonestar with Norah Jones. But these stardust memories do not even begin to mitigate the sacrilege of Jon frigging Bon Jovi doing Always On My Mind or Matchbox 20 turning Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys into some piece of pop-star karaoke. Willie, for the love of ole Hank, put down the bong, give your head a shake and remember who your real friends are — the people who buy your records. Or used to.