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on April 14, 2011
I have been a Kris Kristofferson fan since the early 70's, but I think this is the very best of all his albums. The words of the songs and his voice are inseparable; when others sing his songs, they fall flat. For me there is a bit of melancholy that reaches down deep into my soul and touches and draws out all sadness, moodiness, loneliness, and other bad stuff, throws it on the table and says, look at it, it's nothing. Lately I've been bombarded with too much uncertainty and stress and all the deep breathing in the world couldn't produce the sense of calm and confidence that I get from listening to this music. The older he gets, the better his voice sounds. It's a very soulful experience.
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on January 10, 2010
Kris Kristofferson has been a Master of American Songwriting for most of the past 40 years. Over the course of his career, he showed us his wonderful sense of storytelling, his ability to cut to the heart of a character or situation, and, more often than not, his political sense, which always leaned to the left (a difficult thing to do in the Nashville world he was officially a part of). The point is, Kristofferson has always transcended labels--he's not country, rock, or folk...but uses elements of all those styles when he's writing and recording.

Very often his albums have focused on the songwriting and the political while shying away from the personal. His new release, Closer to the Bone, does no such thing. The focus here is squarely on the personal, from tributes to Johnny Cash and Sinead O'Connor to 'a song (he) wrote for (his) kids' ("From Here to Forever"). The result is an album that is, dare I say it, gentle in its execution. Kris still has the fire and passion that he's always had, but here it's tempered, focused to the personal, the internal, feelings about family and friends. Age has dulled the sharp edge his voice once had, and that rounding makes for a more intimate experience. No longer does his voice have to get quiet and crack in order for his audience to feel what he feels. He's always been more a vocalist than a singer, and his gruff, strong vocals fit this album very well. Kris Kristofferson hasn't gone weak, he's just gotten personal.

Credit must also go to Don Was, who produced the album incredibly well. This is the third time he's worked with Kristofferson, and each time he gives the artist exactly what he needs to get his songs across. Here, it's a spare recording, with minimal accompaniment on most songs. Other producers might have piled on drums, electric guitars, and other accouterments of the recording trade to fill the songs out, give them a fuller feeling. Was doesn't do that. He gives Kris just the bed he needs to keep the vocals and the feeling front and center. And when there are additions (background vocals here and there), they're ragged but right, not so much concerned with perfect harmony as with adding texture to the sound.

Kristofferson has been a major force in American music for a very long time, and it's great to see him still working at such a high level. Wonderful.
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on June 12, 2017
As described - no issues.
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on April 29, 2017
Its a great cd.
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on March 10, 2010
I think finding sweetness closer to the bone applies to the song Kris wrote when he was eleven, I Hate Your Ugly Face. Honesty is the best policy for art that wants to earn the right to be destitute so they can avoid trying to be disguised as a normal person. I like this CD. I only got the songs by downloading mp3, which does not include the live songs on disc 2 in the Deluxe Edition, but I try to imagine how those sounded.
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on October 21, 2009
This is a very special CD. Kris has done it again and that is he's bought me to tears with some of his songs but then took them away with his bonus track that he wrote when he was 11 yrs old. This one had me laughing again. Kris is natural on this CD just a down to earth type of guy. I will always love this Man not just for his many talents but because he believes in the same things I believe in and that is...FREEDOM, JUSTICE, MERCY, and PEACE! He is a hard man to find, A good man to find but a one of a kind Man who could never be replaced by anyone. God Bless you Kris Kristofferson!
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on February 20, 2016
C'mon, it's Kristofferson...Right up there with Lightfoot, Denver, Cohen, Chapin, and others in that genre. Not vintage Kris, but to those who value one of the most gifted songwriters of the Boomer generation, this will not disappoint
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on November 16, 2009
[...]

The poet prince writes again
Published in

New Straits Times Press
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Monday 2009/11/16

BY ERROL DE CRUZ

American music icon Kris Kristofferson is back with his 15th solo album, an acoustic recording about his friends, love and tenderness. ERROL DE CRUZ writes.

HE'S won more than a dozen awards since his debut in 1971 with Me and Bobby McGee. He was described by the late Johnny Cash as a visionary. Above all that, he has the undisputed reputation of having changed the landscape of country music songwriting.

With hits like Help Me Make It Through The Night, For The Good Times, Sunday Morning Coming Down, Me and Bobby McGee, From The Bottle To The Bottom and Why Me, Lord? he inspired Nashville's writers, some of whom called him the most refreshing thing since Hank Williams.

Kris Kristofferson, the poet prince of country music, is back with his 15th solo album, aptly entitled Closer To The Bone, and like poets down the annals of history, he writes of what he sees and experiences, or as someone described, recently, "songs built on emotional bedrock", when the composer was honoured with an Icon Award from performance rights organisation BMI.

His vast experience before he eloped to Nashville to become a songwriter included stints as a college athlete, Golden Gloves boxer, member of Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes scholar, US Army captain and helicopter pilot.

Once there, he went from janitor to award-winning actor, composer and undisputed star.

In his early albums -- Spooky Lady's Sideshow, The Silver-Tongued Devil And I, Border Lord and Who's To Bless And Who's To Blame? he recorded his life's story, most significantly, the booze and mind-altering drugs, the chances he took, the dues he'd paid and the women he loved and left.

Then came the protester and political activist who hounded his government for interfering in the affairs of South American nations like Nicaragua on several albums, including Repossessed and Third World Warrior.

It then seemed like he took a hiatus and it wasn't until 2006 that he finally resurfaced and reclaimed his throne.

Thanks to his skillful penmanship, a host of highly-reputed crooners, groovers and rockers turned to the Kristofferson trove for their hits.

His debut album alone brewed hits for an eclectic list, including Roger Miller and Janis Joplin (Me and Bobby McGee), Sammi Smith and Gladys Knight (Help Me Make It Through The Night) and Johnny Cash (Sunday Morning Coming Down).

The plethora of love songs and catchy ditties from his 15 solo outings were recorded by the who's who of music -- Frank Sinatra, Bobby Bare, Roger Whittaker, Elvis Presley, Rita Coolidge, Val Doonican and even Millie Jackson who recorded his If You Don't Like Hank Williams (You Can Kiss My Ass), replacing Williams' name with hers!

Kristofferson wrote, sang, spoke and reeked of a life he had lived. When his discoverer and country star Johnny Cash wanted to sing his Sunday Morning, Coming Down on TV, he was instructed to remove a line -- ... wishing, Lord, that I was stoned ... -- but Cash stood his ground, saying: "If that's the way Kris wrote it, that's how I'm singing it".

That cover garnered Cash the Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year in 1970.

Kristofferson's poetry attracted many music stars and also resulted in at least three tribute albums, the first -- The Pilgrim -- by country stars like Emmylou Harris, Randy Scruggs, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Shooter Jennings, Patty Griffin, Jessi Colter and Willie Nelson.

Another -- Nothing Left To Lose -- was recorded by some rather young garage, soul and punk bands like the Handsome Family, Souled American, Califone, Calexico, Court And Spark, Milk Chopper, Radar Brothers, Granfaloon Bus, Virgil Shaw, Killer Views Band and Grandaddy.

A third, again by indie bands, was entitled Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down and featured the talents of interpreters like Polara, Mother Hips, Hannah Marcus, Mark Kozelek, John Doe, Oranger and more.

It was a respectful acknowledgement of the essence of Kristofferson's songs and just goes to show how eclectic his writing has been and the influences he's had on three generations of recording artistes across a slew of genres.

The third stage in his evolution came with This Old Road which reflected crime and other social ills and crusaded understanding and forgiveness.

Kristofferson's latest studio outing, at age 73, is not just closer, but downright stripped to the bone, and the silver-tongued devil, is completely unplugged, his gravelly vocals pickled in lyrical brine, a heady cocktail of sawdust and honey.

The album, produced by Don Was (who plays bass), stars drummer Jim Keltner, Rami Jaffee on keyboards, and guitarist Stephen Bruton, who passed away shortly after finishing this album.

Closer To The Bone is dedicated to Bruton's memory and is kept burning with Kristofferon's poetry all over again and this time around, he's writing about his friends, about love and tenderness.

Cool shadows fall through the moonlight, soft as the breeze through your hair, and the smile on face when you're sleeping, is the answer to anyone's prayer comes through on From Here To Forever dedicated to his kids and so is:

Darling, if you need a reason for living,

Do it for love and for me.

Kristofferson's most touching, heart-breaking lines on this album are in Hall Of Angels, a song he wrote for the late Eddie Rabbitt who had lost his son Timmy to biliary atresia (a liver ailment) in 1985. Rabbitt, incidentally, passed away from lung cancer, several years later.

In this one, Kristofferson, writes as if from a parallel universe:

I dreamed of a young band of angels that shone like the stars from above,

For each held a bright burning candle, except for the angel that I loved.

Then I asked why their candles were burning and why that hers wasn't the same,

She said: Oh Daddy, each time that I try to light it, your tears just keeping drowning the flame.

Good Morning, John is probably the only song Kristofferson was ever commissioned to write. As he said in a recent interview with Aquarium Drunkard, it was Johnny Cash's wife June who'd asked him to write a song when Cash came out of rehabilitation.

"It was the first time I was asked to write," Kristofferson had said, bemusedly. "I usually write when it hits me."

Good Morning, John, written for The Highwaymen (Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Cash and Kristofferson), was never recorded by the legendary quartet.

Kristofferson's affair with bare acoustic recording began in 1999, when he released The Austin Sessions, stark naked versions of his biggest and earliest hits, with vocal accompaniment from such stars as Jackson Browne, Steve Earle, Matraca Berg, Vince Gill, Marc Cohn, Alison Krauss, Catie Curtis and Mark Knopfler.

He followed that acoustic trek with This Old Road in 2006, his first album of originals in 11 years.

Now, three years later, he's back with this 12-tracker which he's currently touring with dates confirmed right into February.

Over the last 40 years, he's toured with several outfits, first with sessionists like Billy Swan, Donnie Fritts, Terry Paul and Jerry Kennedy, followed by the Borderlords, then the legendary The Highwaymen and now, he's come full circle, playing to packed houses.

There's something in all that because they haven't come to hear instrumental masterpieces. They come to hear the man and his guitar, maybe a mournful harmonica, every once in a while and they know he's right. Everything is sweeter, closer to the bone.

Closer to the bone

Tracks: Closer To The Bone, From Here To Forever, Holy Woman, Starlight And Stone, Sister Sinead, Hall Of The Angels, Love Don't Live Here Anymore, Good Morning John, Tell Me One More Time, Let The Walls Come Down, The Wonder, I Hate Your Ugly Face (bonus track).

The Deluxe Edition includes a bonus CD with This Old Road, The Final Attraction, Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down, The Silver Tongued Devil and I, For The Good Times, A Moment Of Forever, Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down and Why Me? recorded live at The Olympia Theatre in Dublin, Ireland on March 21, last year and fold-out poster.

For more, you can visit [...].
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on October 15, 2013
Kris is putting out some pretty good stuff with his last three albums. This is a favorite. His voice is scraggy and his lyrics are pretty good.
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on March 7, 2016
Closer to the bone, the sweeter the meat, sure is true here!!! Have about everything Kris has ever released!! Just keeps getting better!!
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