Willie Nelson, Willie Nelson Jr - Peace In The Valley: The Gospel Truth Collection Vol 1

Thursday 1st December 1994
Willie Nelson, Willie Nelson Jr - Peace In The Valley: The Gospel Truth Collection Vol 1
Willie Nelson, Willie Nelson Jr - Peace In The Valley: The Gospel Truth Collection Vol 1

STYLE: Country
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Promised Land PLMCD052158

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

There can be few stranger or sadder stories behind the release of a gospel album than the one behind 'Peace In The Valley'. Although living a life of substance abuse and with a string of broken marriages country music superstar Willie nevertheless has Christian roots. In fact, it was an autobiographical song about his believer mother "The Family Bible" (a version of which can be found here) which was his first Nashville hit, though one which he signed away for a few dollars. In 1987 Willie began working on a gospel album - this one. He'd previously made a wonderful gospel album 'Willie Nelson Gospel' (reviewed in CR17). Willie's son, Billy, who had ambitions of becoming an established gospel singer, recorded three songs for the album 'Peace In The Valley' and Willie added songs as the project slowly developed. Then in 1991 the Internal Revenue Service descended on Willie, charged the country star with tax evasion and confiscated most of his earthly possessions - including the masters of this gospel album. Then on Christmas Eve 1991, Billy Nelson committed suicide at the age of 33. In 1992 the tapes were returned and producer Bob MacDonald got the project rolling again and the album was finally issued on MacDonald's Promised Land label. The recording is billed as the first volume in a projected three volume set. The album is fine country gospel. Billy sings a solo on Mae Axton's "My Body's Just A Suitcase For My Soul" and duets with Dad on "Family Bible". There are some acappella Southern gospel harmony singing and even a bit of black gospel on "Kneel At The Feet Of Jesus". But usually it's Willie singing in his poignant country voice simple country fare which appeals most as he does a nice version of Hank Williams' "I See The Light" and sings a beautiful self composition "In God's Eyes" ("In God's eyes we're like sheep in a meadow/Now and then a lamb goes astray/But open arms should await its returning/In God's eyes he sees it this way."). Has Willie returned to the fold? I hope and pray so.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Adrienne Sloane in United States @ 18:10 on Apr 11 2015

I found Volume 1, but is there another volume?

Posted by Ray in Rye UK @ 10:32 on Oct 2 2012

I have a copy but cant remember where or when I obtained it. Probably late 90's and maybe from Christian music store in Indonesia or Malaysia. CD produced in US though. For me it's a great CD and very interesting but sad to read the background to it

Posted by Larry in Mississippi @ 00:42 on Dec 2 2010

I don't think this CD exist unless Willie has a copy of his own. I have been trying for at least fifteen years to find a copy of this. I even contacted Willie's web site and just got the run around. Never did get a straight answer as to if this was available through them or anywhere in the world. If any of these ever even existed, I think they have all been destroyed.

I would appreciate any help in finding one of these.

Thanks for listening...

Posted by Debbie in Austin @ 16:22 on Jan 13 2010

I would also like to know where to purchase it

Posted by Nancy in Tennessee @ 03:28 on Dec 5 2007

I have been searching for this CD forever. My dad would love to have this for Christmas. Please let me know where you purchased this CD. Thank you for your info.

Posted by Peter Behr in Southern Sweden @ 05:44 on Apr 27 2007

This album is A MUST HAVE, If you`re a true Willie-fan. It Has a lot of different "stages", of his way of singing. And of cearuse you`ll hear Willie`s son Billy. He realy sounds like his father. The album is just GREAT.

Reply by Jan in TEXAS @ 15:44 on May 15 2007

I have searched for that CD for years,,,may I ask when and where you purchased it??? Would LOVE to get one for my "Willie Collection". Thanks!!!

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