Nashville Rebel

Like his compatriot “outlaw” Willie Nelson, WAYLON JENNINGS had already done a lot of solid work in Music City before reaching his breaking point, one set off by an accumulation of road dates, divorces, unpaid bills, and pep pills. So NASHVILLE REBEL (RCA/Legacy), a beautifully annotated four-CD retrospective, is a bit of a misnomer: The Littlefield-born singer hadn’t come to town to stir things up. In truth, when Jennings finally took control and started making records on his terms in 1972, his music really didn’t change all that much; unlike Nelson, who was much more of a dabbler, Jennings—long hair or no—was always about well-produced country songs. Up until his death, in 2002, the troubled singer stayed true to his ornery self, with an iconic body of work almost as notable for its consistency as its artistry.

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