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Picks and Pans Review: Homemade Songs

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Tracy Nelson

By rights she ought to be a major progressive Country star, but the Wisconsin-born Nelson, 34, has never enjoyed a real breakthrough. One explanation may be her appearance: She maintains the long-haired, no-frills look of a ’60s folkie. Then, too, her voice is so powerful and intense as to be intimidating at times. Whatever, there is little better Country rock around than She’s Taking My Part or I’ve Been There Before on this album. Her gospel-strength tones are perfect for Randy Newman’s God’s Song (“You all must be crazy to put your faith in Me/That’s why I love mankind”), and yet she can turn gentle enough to sing a duet with Carlene Carter on Friends of a Kind (which Carter wrote). Though Tracy is no relation to Willie Nelson, she has been his opening act on occasion (they sometimes joke that they’re the illegitimate offspring of Ozzie and Harriet), and if there is any justice, some of Willie’s good fortune will rub off.