That's Life

Willie Nelson

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That's Life Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

The second of Willie Nelson's Frank Sinatra tributes -- records that belong on the same continuum as Stardust yet are their own distinct thing -- That's Life is a jauntier affair than My Way. Where that 2018 record never quite wallowed in melancholy, it seems like a saloon album compared to That's Life, an LP that tends to lean into the swinging side of Sinatra so much, it can almost seem like a tip of the hat to the Chairman of the Board's stature as king of Las Vegas. Not that Willie indulges in splashy, ring-a-ding-ding arrangements; there are a few horns scattered here and there, yet the focus remains squarely on Nelson and his band, who bring some western flair to their renditions while keeping their versions grounded in swing. Willie sounds younger here than he has in years. He seems to be singing with a smile, as buoyed by his band as he is by these standards, a quality that gives That's Life an endearing kick.

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