When rockers reach the sunset of their days they slow the tempo, sit on the metaphoric porch and tell wistful tales of back in the day. If they’re really famous they bring in Eric Clapton and Stevie Winwood, and it’s all beautifully produced and beautifully orchestrated, and I fear it could turn into a whole wistful genre.
The route is all mapped out. A touch of Bruce Springsteen in reflective mood, Nick Cave in mourning, and gravel from Tom Waits and Dr John.
On How To Become Clairvoyant, Robbie Robertson touches all these bases and, of course, his own mellowed-down sad-song vocals with the Band. That bloke Clapton even plays a gut-string solo that sounds a whole lot like Willie Nelson.
Every old-timer is entitled to a measure of last-round-up self-indulgence, but what converts wistful into glorious swansong is intriguing stories and memorable songs. It’s retaining the old wickedness and – by this showing – Robertson just plumb can’t remember were he put his.