Music Review: Kris Kristofferson explores truth

AP News
Posted: Nov 19, 2009 1:26 PM

Kris Kristofferson, "Closer To The Bone" (New West)

One of American music's most celebrated songwriters, Kris Kristofferson, continues his renewed commitment to music on "Closer To The Bone," the follow-up to 2006's "This Old Road," his first album in a dozen years.

As with the previous album, Kristofferson works with veteran producer Don Was, who keeps arrangements stripped and focused on Kristofferson's craggy voice and rudimentary yet expressive acoustic guitar.

Kristofferson states his purpose when he sings, "Nothing but the truth now," in the title song. These are heart-laid-bare lyrics from a 73-year-old interested in mining his truths rather than entertaining. He's still whittling on the same themes, too, with songs that continually explore freedom, love and justice for all.

He writes everything himself, with some help from longtime collaborator Stephen Bruton, who co-wrote "Let the Walls Come Down" and "From Here to Forever," the latter about a parent's unending love that Kristofferson directs toward his children. (The album is dedicated to Bruton, who died as the album was being finished.)

Most of the 11 tracks are new works, excepting "Good Morning John," a tribute to his late friend Johnny Cash, and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore," written more than 30 years ago. Even those songs deal with the struggle for individual dignity _ something Kristofferson writes about with poetry and precision throughout "Closer to the Bone."

CHECK THIS OUT: "Starlight and Stone," laid out as beautifully and simply as possible, is a whispered love song that suggests a powerful relationship may end, but that doesn't mean the bond doesn't last forever.