Notch yet another #1 for Willie. 84 years of age, and Billboard’s new rules that register streaming data in the album tabulations can’t keep Willie Nelson from topping the charts this week with his first record of original material in three years, God’s Problem Child. Willie also notches another Top 10 on the all-genre Billboard 200 where God’s Problem Child came in at #10. This is Willie’s 17th #1 record on the Country Albums chart, and sixth Top 10 on the Billboard 200.
Featuring seven new original songs from Willie and produced by Buddy Cannon, his now seventh release on Sony’s Legacy Recordings is anything but a tired, late career effort. God’s Problem Child is a solid, critically-acclaimed release, with many saying this is one of Willie’s best records in years. As Saving Country Music said in its review,
Though we all well up with nostalgia whenever you hear those unmistakable cadences in Willie’s voice, or the woody, nylon string tone of Trigger, and the lonesome moan of Mickey Raphael’s harmonica, the material itself on these newer Willie Nelson original releases does not solely rely on Willie’s history to be worth hearing. These albums constitute a brilliant, and relevant contribution to the listening public beyond leaning on legacy for importance and attention. And God’s Problem Child is no different.
Along with the originals, the album’s title track was written by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, and features an appearance by Leon Russell who recently passed away. Russell was a close personal friend of Willie’s, and was the first to sign his famous guitar Trigger. There is also a Merle Haggard tribute on the album called “He Won’t Ever Be Gone” written by Gary Nicholson, and a bit of humor in “Still Not Dead” about Willie’s ever-present death hoaxes.
God’s Problem Child sold 36,000 equivalent albums, with 34,000 in pure sales to earn the #1. Though radio long since passed Willie Nelson by, those still listening know that Willie has plenty left to say and some great music left to share.