Kris Kristofferson: Closer To The Bone – Kris Kristofferson: Closer To The Bone CD reviewElly Roberts reviews

Kris Kristofferson: Closer To The Bone
Distributed by
New West Records

  • Released: September 2009
  • Rating: 6/10
  • Vote and comment on this album:View Comments

Kristofferson’s swansong? Maybe.

Johnny Cash’s late renaissance was masterminded by producer Rick Rubin. Let’s not forget he effectively turned round Neil Diamond flagging career too.

It’s Don Was’s turn again to try the same trick for off-the-radar country icon Kris Kristofferson, on his 20th studio album. Of course, to make any impact, (Cash certainly did), you need the songs.

The key, as with Cash, the singer, as vocally frail as 73 year-old Kristofferson sounds, needs to be the focal point. Don Was has allowed that to happen.As with Cash latter albums, this also sees Kristofferson in deeply reflective mood on these rugged country ditties, instead of his penchant for ranting about military aggression and civil rights.

He says of his album, “I like the intimacy of the new album. It has a general mood of reflecting on where we all are at this end of life.”

Married three times with eight children, he dedicates a melancholic lullaby to his kids (and wife), From Here To Forever. This is a beautiful and tender song sung with great feeling as he declares his love for them, but there are some hints of guidance too. Holy Woman is a sweet dedication to his third wife of 26 years, wedding attorney Lisa Meyers. There’s some great harmonica on this.

Sister Sinead is a swipe at Sinead O’Connor, where he recalls the events in 1992 when she was heckled at Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary show for tearing up a photo of the Pope on American television. This is where he really hits his stride, with his country twang coming to the fore, as he huskily glides the lyrics across a simple template of acoustic guitar and harmonic.Kristofferson wrote Hall Of Angels for the late Eddie Rabbit ( I Love A Rainy Night) after his son’s unsuccessful liver transplant operation touched him.

Following a heartbreaking Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, about the desperate state of a relationship (not to be confused with pop hit by Rose Royce) he whips up a jaunty little number about his old friend and mentor Johnnie Cash – Good Morning John.It tracks the devastating effect of addiction in Cash’s early life.

“You scared me John / Because you crossed so many borders into danger with a price upon your head / They got you John,” he sings of the risks he took. It’s apparently lifted from a letter he wrote to his buddy many years ago.At the end, he sings the first song he wrote, aged 11 years – The Wonder, very mature song for a youngster.

The verdict – well worth checking out.

The full list of tracks included are :

1. Closer To The Bone
2. From Here To Forever
3. Holy Woman
4. Starlight And Stone
5. Sister Sinead
6. Hall Of Angels
7. Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
8. Good Morning John
9. Tell Me One More Time
10. Let The Walls Come Down
11. The Wonder
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Elly Roberts passed away in 2011, but he was a man who was so passionate about all types of music and loved meeting his musical heroes, such as Mick Hucknall at a book signing at the Trafford Centre, Manchester in 2007.

A former teacher and also a music journalist, DJ and radio presenter on local community station Calon FM, plus appearances on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio 2, Elly started doing reviews for in 2004 and he did the majority of the CD and concerts reviews on the website.

I know also that he loved getting away for the summer to Spain and I hope that wherever he is now he is enjoying the hot sunshine and, as one of his friends has said on his Facebook page, that he is interviewing his musical heroes.


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