Picks and Pans Review: Willie Nelson

updated 09/14/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/14/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

American Classic |

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Few artists can measure up to the title of Willie Nelson's new album like he does. But American Classic also refers to the jazz-pop standards that he Willie-fies on a sort-of sequel to 1978's hit Stardust. The 76-year-old country maverick inhabits this well-worn material with his lived-in voice. Whereas many a crooner might ape Sinatra on "Fly Me to the Moon," Nelson is at ease doing it his way (even though his limited range can make his delivery a bit one-note). Two duets pair him with Diana Krall ("If I Had You") and Norah Jones ("Baby, It's Cold Outside"). He's best, though, on a haunting "Angel Eyes."

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