Contuining a collaboration with producer Don Was that began with A Moment of Forever (1995) and This Old Road (2006), Kris Kristofferson went back into the studio this year with Was to make Closer to the Bone, a spare, mostly solo set of new original songs. Major kudos to Was, whose work with and encouragement to Kristofferson is turning out to be the kind of fruitful treasure that Rick Rubin provided with Johnny Cash on the American Recordings series. Was has long championed the non-Cash members of the Highwaymen, producing solo albums for both Willie and Waylon in the ‘90s, as well as the Highwaymen’s third record, 1995’s The Road Goes on Forever, arguably their best. But unlike Was’s work with Willie or Rubin’s work with Cash, on which the producers fed those legends piles of great songs from other writers to sing, Was has pushed Kristofferson these last 15 years to get the notebook back out and to do what he does best—write great songs. And given Kristofferson’s drought before Was got hold of him, it wasn’t clear that we’d ever see much more from Kristofferson the songwriter.