The Wind was the last album Warren Zevon produced before his untimely (but expected) death from lung cancer earlier this year.
This record makes me cry. Zevon summoned up the last of his remaining strength to produce this cd, and it shows - his voice is falling apart. His voice, the thing that he trusted to work every day of his life suddenly up and quit on him, and it destroyed him. It sounds like every note was a struggle.
Lucky for him, Zevon had help; an almost insane amount of help. The album features these guest artists in varying capacities: Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Springsteen, David Lindley, Don Henley, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh, John Waite, Ry Cooder, T. Bone Burnett, Timothy B. Schmit, Tom Petty and Tommy Shaw. This wasn't some morbid record label cross-marketing deal; these were his friends. Almost all of them played on more than one track. They all knew he was dying. They didn't mourn, they didn't tell him how sorry they were and they sure as hell didn't cry while he was still breathing.
Instead, they helped him spit out one last album. Bless them.
The songs themselves are standard Zevon - you either love him or hate him. Some are extremely beautiful: his cover of Knockin' on Heaven's Door is filled with acceptance and regret; Keep me In Your Heart is a sweet, acoustic "I love you, but you've just got to leave and not come back. EVER." kind of song, and I must admit that I have a soft spot for pitched drums. Prison Grove is the only song to show off Zevon's storytelling talent, the talent he used so effectively on his earlier albums. It's a creepy song, and the background vocals (Springsteen, Browne, Thornton and Burnett as a chain gang) give me chills.
It's a fitting tribute, not because he went out with a bang, but because the heart that went into its creation is palpable. I'm really going to miss him.
- - -
- Dirty Life And Times
- Disorder In The House
- Knockin' On Heaven's Door
- Numb As A Statue
- She's Too Good For Me
- Prison Grove
- El Amor De Mi Vide
- The Rest Of The Night
- Please Stay
- Rub Me Raw
- Keep Me In Your Heart