Every word of the winding title It Will Come to Pass: The Metaphysical Worlds and Poetic Introspections of Willie Nelson indicates that this 2014 Omni compilation is no standard Willie Nelson collection. As is its wont, Omni specializes in the Nashville netherworld that exists somewhere between Tennessee and Hollywood, a place Willie explored quite often in the '60s. Often when his story is told, it's implied there was no room for Nelson in Nashville during the '60s because he was too much of a rough outlaw, but this collection, drawn entirely from records he cut for RCA during that decade, plus a cut or two from the early '70s, illustrates how Willie didn't fit in because he'd descend into spooky, jazzy grooves or strum a 12-string just as often as he'd haul out the western swing. Apart from "Me and Paul," a 1971 tune that became an outlaw standard, and the sweetly melancholic "Healing Hands of Time," there's not much here that made Nelson's songbook, but that's the appeal of It Will Come to Pass: it is steeped in the '60s, from its sound to its attitude. This captures the often-forgotten Willie the beatnik, dressed in a turtleneck and picking out jazzy runs on his guitar as he sings elliptical song-poems and open-ended stories. Nelson's great originals of the '50s were rooted in jazz -- "Crazy," "Night Time," "Funny How Time Slips Away" -- and so are these songs, but they also flirt with the progressive country-folk, pop, and psychedelia of the time, while also dipping into the quieter side of Texas country. It's a beguiling mix and even if he rarely returned to this expansive state of mind, it is a sound that is quintessentially Willie, so it's a blessing to have it preserved on this expertly curated comp.
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