Kris Kristofferson, "Closer to the Bone"

3.5

As the title suggests, Kris Kristofferson's newest album, "Closer to the Bone," is an attempt to reach new depths of vulnerability-a portrait of an old man, laid bare following his 2006 opus, "This Old Road" (which was his first recording after a 12-year hiatus). Folk relies heavily on the willingness of the artist to be confessional. Now, considering himself near the end of his life, Kristofferson is exposing himself more than ever before, exploring death and love from this new mortal perspective. On the song "From Here to Forever," Kristofferson sings tenderly in his familiar bear-like smoky growl, "Here's one I wrote for my kids"; and on the title track, "I'll love you from here to forever." Kristofferson returned to veteran folk molder Don Was to helm the recording and also to contribute bass to the intimate, live-feeling instrumentation. With "Closer to the Bone" Kristofferson digs deep into his long and troubled past to bring listeners one of his most beautiful moments.-Lavinia Jones Wright