American Classic finds Willie Nelson re-imagining Tin Pan Alley classics made popular by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and the country star seems quite comfortable flying to the moon and singing among those stars. Nelson’s weathered voice is complemented by refined instrumentals from a collective of seasoned jazzmen on his Blue Note Records solo debut.
But even though he’s wearing a suit on the album cover, this country outlaw hasn’t completely cleaned up his act. A harmonica solo sounds perfectly at home with Nelson’s cheeky vocals on “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” a duet with Norah Jones. Meanwhile, the singer injects a tinge of world-weary sadness to remakes of “Fly Me to the Moon” and his own 1982 hit, “Always on My Mind.” At the age of 76, the Texas native proves that there is still plenty of stardust left under his cowboy hat.