Kris Kristofferson, Union Chapel, review

Helen Brown enjoys a warm and nostalgic set from veteran country singer, Kris Kristofferson.
The Telegraph
London, UK

Still lean and handsome at 77, Kris Kristofferson rocks forward on his battered white cowboy boots, closes his eyes, lifts his lips toward the microphone and assures the hushed crowd in Islington’s Union Chapel that: “There ain’t nothin’ sweeter than naked emotions.” The first of a new, liberal generation of country singers to be as influenced by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen as he was by Hank Williams, he sounds like a man who’s lit his share of joints from the campfire, and he injects the line with sorrow, warmth and a flicker of rebel sexiness. “You’re feeling salty, I’m your tequila/ If you’ve got the freedom, I’ve got the time...”

You can read the fond memories of past lovers in the smile that ripples across his face; he’s had more than his share of extraordinary women to recall. The nostalgic twinkle in his eye could be for Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Carly Simon or Barbra Streisand. He’s written more songs about leaving and losing love than he has about finding it. Yet the songs find him striving for kindness and generosity as he closes the door. He never seeks to blame.

Tonight, even the bleak “Nobody Wins” is delivered with a gentle no-fault reassurance: “The lovin’ was easy/ It’s the livin’ that’s hard/ And there’s no need to stay and see/ The way it ends/ It’s over./ Nobody wins.”

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