Like everyone else, Kris Kristofferson has a Web site attached to his name. But don't think that means he'll be the one answering your e-mail at kriskristofferson .com .
"It seems weird, you know?" Kristofferson says by phone from his home in Hawaii. "You've got computers that can get the songs and record them, but if I touch a computer, it quits working.
"I have no abilities in that direction. I don't even understand the language. I told my wife I'd Google my iPod - no, I do not have one. The whole thing just passed me by, and it's brought in a whole new language that you have to work with to know what anybody's talking about. You might as well be talking about nuclear physics."
Fortunately, Kristofferson is highly practiced at the language of songwriting, and you don't have to know anything about computers when you've written the songs he has.
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He has penned some of the greatest songs of the past half-century, including signature tunes for Janis Joplin ("Me and Bobby McGee") and Johnny Cash ("Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"), among others.
Kristofferson performed in Raleigh recently as part of shows marking the 25-year anniversary of PineCone, a nonprofit that books traditional music acts in the Triangle. He wasn't accompanied by his longtime sidekick, the beloved guitarist Stephen Bruton.
Dedicated to Bruton
Bruton died of throat cancer in May, but he hung in long enough to play on Kristofferson's latest album "Closer to the Bone" (New West Records), which is dedicated to his memory. Kristofferson still has difficulty speaking of his friend in the past tense.
"He's been my guitar player forever, so I was glad he had the opportunity to do something that meant something to him," Kristofferson says of Bruton's contributions to "Closer to the Bone."
"He was fighting dying at the time. He loves making the music, and it was sad because he really didn't want to go. For so many years, he was what I could imagine, but not express in songs, with his guitar-playing."
"Closer to the Bone" followed Kristofferson's previous album, 2006's "This Old Road," by a relatively brisk three years.
There's plenty of mortality invoked in "Closer to the Bone," which was produced by Don Was with spare elegance and plenty of rough edges. It was originally going to be named after another song on the album ("Starlight and Stone") before Kristofferson changed the title at the last minute.
Given how many of his contemporaries Kristofferson has outlasted, including his old Highwayman bandmates Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, the sentiment behind "Closer to the Bone" certainly fits.
"I felt like 'Closer to the Bone' summed up this album better," Kristofferson says. "Unfortunately, time is a finite quantity. Time is gonna run out on us all one day. And I guess as you get closer to the finish, you think more about what the whole thing means.
"The great thing for me, for so many years I've been able to do what I wanted to do," he adds. "I've been fortunate to be able to keep doing that and support my family. Since I made the commitment to follow this path, I've never stopped feeling good about being able to do this. I'm able to express myself without getting too embarrassed in front of people. If I'd been a painter, I wouldn't feel like retiring. Just like Picasso, I'm gonna create until the end."