Willie Nelson has been a prolific singer and recording artist since the 1970s, but the songwriter who penned hits for Ray Price, Patsy Cline, Billy Walker, and Johnny Cash, among others, hasn't issued an album of predominantly original material since 1996. Band of Brothers ends the drought. Its 14 selections include nine new songs by Nelson (with producer Buddy Cannon) and a handful of fine covers. Opener "Bring It On" is a honky tonk waltz that offers wisdom by someone who has lived through plenty as he looks eternity squarely in the eye. He is in excellent voice as Mickey Raphael's harmonica moans to underscore his lyric. Nelson delivers his first guitar solo on Trigger (his nylon-stringed instrument). His playing, with its unique phrasing, has always been underrated and here it evokes the blues. His love songs have always been highlights in his catalog. "I Thought I Left You" is in 4/4, with a slow processional pace adorned with slippery steel and piano. The lost romance portrayed in the waltz "Send Me a Picture" is another clear standout; a sighing pedal steel and Raphael's mid-register wail echo every sung line.
BLOOD OF THE NATIONS is the twelfth studio album by German heavy metal band Accept. It is the band's first studio recording since 1996's Predator and the first album to feature vocalist Mark Tornillo and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann. It is the first Accept album without Udo Dirkschneider on vocals since Eat the Heat (1989), and the band's the first album to feature guitarist Herman Frank since Balls to the Wall (1983). Accept returned in 2010 with this superb slap of heavy metal. There is a definite old school vibe to the music, just as there should be. New singer Mark Tornillo is the ace in the sleeve. He has an excellent, raw voice that fits the music.