photo: Janis Tillerson
Stop by Scooterville, Willie Nelson’s travelling Merchandise Store, run by the Frank Brothers. They have Willie Nelson souvenirs that you can’t get anywhere else. And the best collection of Willie Nelson & Family music you can find anywhere. And cool trinkets, buttons, key chains, bandannas of course, posters and books. That’s all I can think of right now. And hats.
“Today was the first day of the tour and also the first day of sales in Washington for Willie’s Reserve, so we celebrated accordingly.” – www.willienelson.com
One month before Ray Price passed away in December 2013, the country legend put the finishing touches on one last album, wrapping up the recording sessions for Beauty Is… with help from producer Fred Foster and string conductor Bergen White. Nearly three years later, Wille Nelson has reassembled the same team for For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, a moving record that finds Nelson — a short-lived member of Price’s touring band, the Cherokee Cowboys, in 1961, as well as a longtime friend during the half-century that followed — saluting one of his mentors.
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Rolling Stone Country offers an exclusive sneak peak of the new album, which hits stores September 16th. In the behind-the-scenes video above, Nelson and company set up shop in Nashville’s Ocean Way Studios, eventually recording For the Good Times in the same room — the former chapel of a 100-year-old Gothic revival church — that housed Price’s sessions for Beauty Is. Vince Gill makes a few appearances along the way, backing up Nelson on a half-dozen tracks as a member of western swing supergroup the Time Jumpers. In one memorable snippet, Gill and Nelson crowd around a studio piano, hammering out vocal harmonies for the album’s opener, “Heartaches by the Number.”
Balanced evenly between country shuffles, orchestral ballads, honky-tonk throwbacks and Price classics like “Night Life” — a song that, coincidentally, was written by Nelson — For the Good Times captures the range of a performer who, during his prime, helped turn country music from an acquired taste into a mainstream genre. With Fred Foster and Bergen White back on board, Nelson treats the source material with respect, rarely deviating too far from the original arrangements. Appropriately, the countrypolitan ballads are draped with strings and other orchestral touches, while the honky-tonk-heavy tunes find room for fiddle and Paul Franklin’s pedal steel. One of the only curveballs — and it’s a welcome one, really — is the presence of Nelson’s longtime harmonica player, Mickey Raphael, who adds his own blend of metallic swoon and squawk to the mix.
Nelson is no stranger to tribute albums, having paid his respects to Ray Charles, George Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, Cindy Walker and the Great American Songbook during the past decade alone. For the Good Times offers more of a poignant, personal approach, though. Price’s presence looms throughout these 12 tracks — in the string arrangements, in the vibrato of Nelson’s vocals, in the warm ambiance of the recording studio itself — and Nelson responds accordingly, delivering some of his strongest vocal performances of the 2000s.
“Ray was as a close a friend as you could have,” he says. “We traveled together, lived together, played music together, partied together. . . and had a lot of good times.”
They recorded an album together, too, teaming up with Merle Haggard for 2007’s Last of the Breed, a double-disc project that recast the three country singers as the slimmed-down, 21st century equivalent of the Highwaymen. Price was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer several years after its release, though, and Last of the Breed sadly lived up to its name, marking the last time Price and Nelson ever co-billed an album. For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price brings them back together again, a move that only hardens the punch Price’s music already packed.
Ebbet’s Field wasn’t a field, but a music concert venue opened by Denver concert promoter Chuck Morris in the 1970’s, a small night club located in the Brooks Tower near 15th and Curtis. Denver was a great place for music in the’70’s, and Ebbet’s field contributed and let music lovers in Denver, the front range and beyond hear some of the best music from around the world. We used to drive from Lincoln, NE to Denver to hear bands.
Everybody played Ebbets Field, including Willie Nelson, Bob Seger, Tom Waits, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Freddie King, Taj Mahal, John Prine, Muddy Water, Asleep At The Wheel, J.J. Cale, Ry Cooder, Commander Cody, Dr. John, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Peter Frampton, Dan Hicks, Lightning Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Kraftwerk, Little Feat, Don McLean, the Outlaws, Robin Trower, Jerry Jeff Walker, Muddy Waters, and more! Rock, blues, country, jazz, every genre found a home there.
A few years back, 102.3 KCUV released a compliation CD’s of some of this music, and a portion of the profits from the newly released Volume II go to the Morgan Adams Foundation, to raise awareness and financial support for pediatric cancer.
Volume II has a great medley of Willie Nelson, including his famous “Denver”, from his Red Headed Stranger album.
1. LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III Down Drinking at the Bar – 6/19/74
2. WILLIE NELSON Denver/over the Waves/Down Yonder – 9/2/75
3. BREWER & SHIPLEY Witchi-Tai-To – 5/25/75
4. TOM RUSH No Regrets – 10/22/74
5. LIVINGSTON TAYLOR Carolina Day – 11/27/73
6. WENDY WALDMAN Mad Mad Me – 11/7/74
7. FAIRPORT CONVENTION Matty Groves – 5/23/74
8. STRAWBS Out in the Cold/Round and Round – 3/4/74
9. BRIAN AUGER OBLIVION EXPRESS Happiness Is Just Around the Bend – 4/4/74
10. WET WILLIE Grits t Groceries/Soul Jones – 6/27/74
11. TOMMY BOLIN Homeward Strut – 6/3/74
12. PROCTOR & BERGMAN Channel 85 Sign-On – 12/6/73
These tracks, digitally transfered directly from the original tapes, have been remastered by Bob Ferbrache at Absinthe Studios in Westminster. The CD package was designed by Steve Holt, includes a cover shot featuring a vintage hand-illustrated Ebbets Field crew shirt, and a twelve-page booklet with archival photographs of Brian Auger, Strawbs, Brewer & Shipley, Wet Willie, Tom Rush, Tommy Bolin and Fairport Convention onstage at Ebbets, taken by Bob Ferbrache. G. Brown wrote the liner notes detailing the history of Ebbets Field as well as help ListenUp and KCUVÃ¢â‚¬.
photo: Gary Miller
by: Joseph Hudak
Outlaws never die; they just headline new music festivals. On Sunday, September 18th, the inaugural Outlaw Music Festival gets underway in Scranton, Pennsylvania, with preeminent rebels Willie Nelson and Neil Young topping the bill.
A daylong celebration of artists who go against the grain, the concert also features Lee Ann Womack, Brothers Osborne, Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Sheryl Crow, with more performers to be announced at a later date. As usual, Nelson will be joined by his Family Band, while Young is backed by Promise of the Real, featuring Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah Nelson. The group has been supporting Young throughout his summer tour.
The Outlaw Music Festival will be held at the Pavilion on Montage Mountain, a site that has become a destination for music fans throughout the Northeast. Since 2012, it’s hosted the Peach Music Festival, the Allman Brothers Band’s annual gathering. This year’s Peach, featuring Gregg Allman, will be held August 11th through 14th. Nelson headlined last year’s event.
The outlaw-country genre remains one of the most popular — and profitable. On February 26, 2017, the second Outlaw Country Cruise, with Blackberry Smoke, the Mavericks, Shooter Jennings and Steve Earle, will depart Tampa for Cozumel.
Tickets for the inaugural Outlaw Music Festival go on sale Friday, July 29th.
Come August, Willie Nelson’s premium cannabis brand – Willie’s Reserve – will be available in select Colorado stores. The outlaw country singer is celebrating the occasion with a concert this weekend in The Centennial State.
The cannabis brand’s website proclaims, “Willie’s Reserve pays tribute to a tradition of sharing, caring and toking. It’s as if the Red Headed Stranger has offered an invitation aboard the Honeysuckle Rose to sample the choicest selections of his stash.”
Fellow marijuana aficionados can expect “top grade, meticulously grown” products, whether they’re purchasing a cannabis flower, ready rolls, CO2-extracted cannabis concentrated cartridges or disposable vape pens.
The celebratory Colorado concert is scheduled July 30 at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Englewood.
A few days ago Nelson performed at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Wash., in honor of Willie’s Reserve being available in select Washington stores starting this month.
Fans age 21 and up can visit WilliesReserve.com for more information about the brand.