The latest release from the highly anticipated LIVE FROM AUSTIN, TX, this Austin City Limits performance includes many of Kris's classic songs including: "Me And Bobby McGee," "For the Good Times," "Help Me Make It Through the Night" among many others.
With the aging of Kris Kristofferson into a venerable icon, it's been easier to appreciate his voice as weathered, whereas the younger troubadour more often heard his vocal style dismissed as wooden. No matter--as confirmed by this 1981 taping for Austin City Limits, Kristofferson's artistry has long owed more to the emotional range, depth, and conviction of his material than to his vocal range. And whatever he lacks in the latter is offset by the harmonies and instrumental support from a crack band including Stephen Bruton on guitar and mandolin, "Funky" Donnie Fritts on keyboards, and the great Billy Swan as utility man. Among the revelations are a surprisingly hard-rocking "Me and Bobby McGee," a rollicking arrangement of "The Pilgrim," and a tender "For the Good Times." Of the later and lesser-known fare, both "Darby's Castle" and "Casey's Last Ride" show Kristofferson shifting from confessional intimacy into more of a narrative mode reminiscent of John Prine, while "Magdalene" and the hymn-like closer, "Why Me," extend his thematic artistry into spiritual inquiry. As is typical with the Austin series, a responsive audience coaxes a particularly spirited performance, with the artist gushing more than once that there's no place he'd rather be. --Don McLeese