Kris Kristofferson celebrates 80th birthday

Kris Kristofferson celebrates 80th birthday with the release of
The Cedar Creek Sessions
Recorded live June 23, 24 and 25, 2014 at Cedar Creek Recording in Austin, Texas.
Produced by Tamara Saviano and Shawn Camp
Street Date June 17, 2016
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 dear 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. 
eighty years old, few songwriters can look back and see that they have
transformed an entire American musical art form. In a single line,
Kristofferson turned modern music into viable contemporary literature:
“Freedom’s just another word,” he wrote, “for nothing left to lose.” For
years, those words from his song “Me and Bobby McGee” served as the
hippie generation’s most resonant mantra. Today, songwriters from
Belfast to Belleville replay the classic when seeking inspiration.
Kristofferson’s first recording of the song as a demo, while working as a
janitor at Columbia Records in 1968, signaled only the beginning of his
lasting contributions to the creative arts.
his most famous lyric suggests, Kristofferson has lived a Renaissance
man’s life. The Brownsville, Texas native served as an Army Ranger and
helicopter pilot as a young man. He earned early prestige as a Rhodes
Scholar who won an Atlantic Monthly short story competition.
Fans know that Kristofferson fought as a Golden Glove boxer. Of course,
many simply know him as a movie star (Cisco Pike, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Heaven’s Gate, Blade
and more than 50 others). Kristofferson solidified marquee status in a
blink when Barbra Streisand cast him in her hit remake of A Star Is Born (1976). For nearly four decades since then, he’s defined diversity as an actor with roles in films as varied as Songwriter (1984), Big Top Pee-wee (1988), Paper Hearts (1993), Lone Star (1996) the critically acclaimed Fast Food Nation (2006), and the hit family story Dolphin Tale (2011, 2014).
A Star Is Born
made Kristofferson a sex symbol, but he had more substantial plans from
Day One. “I always felt that I was going to be some kind of writer,” he
told The Guardian in 2010. For more than four decades,
Kristofferson’s deep-browed craftsmanship has had broad influence on
peers and followers. “There’s no better songwriter alive than Kris
Kristofferson,” legendary country songwriter Willie Nelson told the Associated Press in 2009. “Everything he writes is a standard, and we’re just going to have to live with that.”
As a key figure in the 1970s Outlaw Country movement, Kristofferson’s early albums Kristofferson (1970) and The Silver Tongued Devil
(1971) immediately established him as a top-tier songwriter whose tunes
were recorded by Johnny Cash (“Sunday Morning Coming Down”), Janis
Joplin (“Me and Bobby McGee”), Ray Price (“For the Good Times”), Sammi
Smith (“Help Me Make It Through the Night”) and several other prominent
artists. Plainspoken poetry forever unites him with kindred spirits such
as Cash, Merle Haggard and Nelson who stood head and shoulders above
others as progressive musicians.
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
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
nature an outsider, Kristofferson frequently centers lyrical themes on
better days for the down-and-out (“Shipwrecked in the Eighties”) and
disenfranchised (“Sandinista”). In fact, he consistently has addressed
social, political, cultural and personal issues largely taboo in country
music at the time that he began writing professionally. That pioneering
approach came at a price. For a time, Kristofferson was persona non
grata in the music world for exploring political concerns in albums such
as Repossessed (1986), which addressed widespread tragedy
(“They Killed Him,” “Anthem ’84”) and turmoil specifically in that era’s
war in El Salvador (“What About Me”).
those songs show, Kristofferson speaks his mind. He always has, always
will. His concern isn’t popular opinion – or who agrees with his. He
seeks truths. He listens. He asks difficult questions. His album Third World Warrior
(1990), which includes his song “The Eagle and the Bear,” alone proves
that. “And I’ll say until the day we free Mandela,” he wrote, “all the
world will be in chains.” He later declared support for Nicaraguan
rebels. “[Kris Kristofferson] and Jackson Browne were out there talking
all of the shit in the 1980s when the US was behaving really badly all
over the Southern Hemisphere,” renegade songwriter Steve Earle recalls.
“I admired that.”
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.
realized a personal highlight while anchoring the Highwaymen, an
all-star collective with fellow Outlaw Country legends Cash, Waylon
Jennings and Nelson, throughout the 1980s. Many would have hung their
hat after that run. Instead, Kristofferson barely has paused for breath
since. He’s released several recent high watermarks including the
increasingly intimate A Moment of Forever (1995), The Austin Sessions (1999) and This Old Road (2006), and he produced some of his finest work with the deeply personal Closer to the Bone (2009) and Feeling Mortal (2013).
Now, at eighty years old, Kristofferson tours worldwide as a solo and
acoustic troubadour, supplying singer-songwriters worldwide with a role
model for legitimacy and longevity.
The Cedar Creek Sessions collection is a snapshot of the legendary songwriter in the twilight of his life.
Track Listing:
Volume One
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
13. Winter
Volume Two
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

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