Kris Kristofferson is a Country Music Hall of Famer who ranks among the most versatile of American talents. He s been a Golden Gloves boxer, a Rhodes scholar, a college football player, an acclaimed actor, a military officer, a helicopter pilot, a Grammy-winner, and an icon, and now he finds himself releasing the third Don Was-produced album in a twilight years trilogy. Feeling Mortal follows 2009 s Closer To The Bone and 2006 s This Old Road in examining hard-won grace. Wide awake and feeling mortal, he writes on the title track. At this moment in the dream/ That old man there in the mirror/ And my shaky self-esteem. Going back to the beginning, the songs have been reflections of where I was at that point in my life, he says. I always try to be as honest as I can in the songwriting, otherwise there s no point in doing it: I might as well be doing an advertising job or something. And what I m finding, to my pleasant surprise at this age, is that I m more inclined to laughter than tears. I hope I ll feel this creative and this grateful until they throw dirt over me. In the Nashville beginning, Kristofferson threw away a promising military career in favor of life as what he sometimes calls, A songwriting bum. He had excelled at most everything he d ever tried, save for singing and songwriting, but it was the singing and the writing that called to him. He wound up penning classics including Me and Bobby McGee, Help Me Make It Through the Night, Sunday Morning Coming Down and For The Good Times, as well as a slew of other empathetic, incisive gems. Kristofferson along with contemporaries Tom T. Hall, Mickey Newbury, Willie Nelson and John Prine enhanced the scope of country music songwriting, focusing on layering, nuance, empathy and emotional truth. A major reason for Kris enduring popularity is that he s always been very honest and open about revealing his inner life, says producer Don Was, who has worked with Kristofferson for the past 17 years. Sunday Morning Coming Down is a brutally frank, first-person narrative that just happens to hit a common nerve among millions of people, and that s why Kris is such a great artist. I suspect a whole lot of folks will be able to relate to Feeling Mortal, now and for years to come. It s totally in keeping with the body of Kris oeuvre.