Kris Kristofferson celebrates 80th birthday with the release of The Cedar Creek Sessions
In June 2014, legendary songwriter Kris Kristofferson hosted a three-day impromptu jam session at Cedar Creek Recording in Austin, Texas. It had been a while since Kris had recorded and here was a chance to lay down some of his favorite compositions with a live band. With Shawn Camp on lead guitar, Kevin Smith on bass, Michael Ramos on keyboard, and Mike Meadows on drums, the group ran through twenty-five of Kristofferson’s best-loved songs. On the final day, Kris’s friend Sheryl Crow came in to sing a duet of “The Loving Gift,” a song made famous by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash that Kris had never recorded.
Two years later, Kristofferson will release The Cedar Creek Sessions just days before his 80th birthday, June 22, 2016.
As music critic Peter Cooper wrote in the liner notes to The Pilgrim (2006), a Kristofferson tribute album released upon the songwriter’s 70th birthday, in his hands “Nashville-based country songs became literate, layered and respectable.” Consider Kristofferson’s daring “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” “Take the ribbon from your hair, shake it loose and let it fall,” Kristofferson sang. “Laying soft upon my skin like shadows on the wall.” Few writers as fluidly convey human kinetics.
“Forty years ago, Kris single-handedly changed the way people write songs,” Don Was, who produced several Kristofferson albums, told the Austin American-Statesman in 2009. “He combined the simplicity and directness of Hank Williams with the emotional intelligence of a Rhodes Scholar. There isn’t a songwriter out there today who hasn’t been influenced by Kris. He’s a giant.”
Kris Kristofferson has been recognized several times for dedication to human rights activism through songwriting. In 2002, he received the American Veteran Awards Veteran of the Year award. The First Amendment Center and The Americana Music Association honored his contributions with the “Freedom of Americana Free Speech Award” in 2003. Kristofferson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004, the Songwriter Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2006. Additionally, BMI honored him with their Icon Award in 2009. He received the Frances Preston Music Industry Award from the T.J. Martell Foundation in 2012. In 2014, Kristofferson was honored with a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and the PEN Song Lyrics of Literacy Excellence Award.
The Cedar Creek Sessions collection is a snapshot of the legendary songwriter in the twilight of his life.
1. Duvalier’s Dream
2. The Loving Gift (with special guest Sheryl Crow)
3. The Sabre and the Rose
4. The Law is for the Protection of the People
5. It No Longer Matters What I Do
6. Stagger Mountain Tragedy
7. The Wife You Save
8. Lay Me Down and Love the World Away
9. The Bigger the Fool (The Harder the Fall)
10. Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down
11. Spooky Lady’s Revenge
12. Forever In Your Love
1. Darby’s Castle
2. Me and Bobby McGee
3. Broken Freedom Song
4. Casey’s Last Ride
5. Billy Dee
6. Easter Island
7. For the Good Times
8. Help Me Make It Through the Night
9. Jody and the Kid
10. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)
11. Risky Business
12. To Beat the Devil