Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

New Billy Joe Shaver Album! “Long in the Tooth” (order yours today)

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014



Follow Billy Joe Shaver on facebook.

“Long in the Tooth” is available on vinyl with gatefold jacket and download card. It also includes liner notes by Steve Earle

Pre-order at Amazon: 
or Lightning Rod Records:

Itunes has a special, too:

Pre-order Long in the Tooth @iTunesMusic and instantly receive “Hard to Be an Outlaw” single feat. Willie Nelson.


Country Outlaws

Friday, July 18th, 2014


Willie Nelson’s, “Band of Brothers”, on vinyl

Sunday, July 13th, 2014


Yay, finally made it to to my favorite independent record store, Bart’s, and picked up a copy of Willie Nelson’s new album on vinyl.

I’m loving it.

WIllie Nelson: Band of Brothers

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Willie Nelson

Band of Brothers (Sony / Legacy Recordings)

Phases & Stages

by: Tim Steagall

“Well, it seems that I’ve been here before/ So if this means that there is more – bring it on.”

So intones a familiar, reedy voice, none the worse for wear over 81 years and delivering the titular punch line with characteristic Lone Star Zen: laissez-faire delivery of steel resolve. Halfway through the first verse of the first song on the first album of predominantly self-penned material since 1996, Willie Nelson sounds downright pugilistic. On the occasion of his last set of originals, Spirit (inhale “Twisted Williemania,” Feb. 9, 1996), Abbott’s favorite son invited us aboard his bus the Honeysuckle Rose after having just been dropped by his label of 18 years, Columbia Records. For the better part of the next two decades, he then concentrated on his Louis Armstrong-like interpretive and duet skills – anyone, anytime, any place – occasionally hitting when paired with a Toby Keith (“Beer for My Horses”).

Now, Nelson’s Band of Brothers debuts at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums rankings and No. 5 overall, breaking several of his own career highs. All he needed to revive his commercial fortunes was to obey his calling: songwriting. Remember, having penned deathless standards including “Hello, Walls,” “Crazy,” “Night Life,” and “Funny How Time Slips Away,” the Red-Headed Stranger didn’t make his name on his braids. While Band of Brothers‘ new ones are co-writes with the producer Buddy Cannon, the lyrics are clearly Nelson’s, which taken as a whole constitute as deeply personal a document as any he’s authored. One key track, “Guitar in the Corner,” acknowledges writer’s block before turning it into a metaphor for a faltering relationship: “There’s a guitar in the corner/ That used to have a song/ I would hold it while it played me/ And I would sing along.” Two plays later, Nelson’s hitting “The Wall,” singing of spending “Half my life ridin’ on a rocket/ One world to the next then on and on,” afterward resolving to make improvements: “Taking things to make it make me better/ Remembering things I never knew I’d knew.”

Accompanying Western grooves that harness all the compositions into a cohesive ride – each accessorized with the bandleader’s Django Reinhardt-loving acoustic guitar solos – most of the lyrics speak of broken-down romance, with lines as telling as those in “Send Me a Picture” (“Send me a picture when we were together/ When we held the world in the palm of our hands/ When life had a future forever and ever”). Elsewhere, his interpretive muscles flex hard, as with Billy Joe Shaver’s modern country protest, “Hard to Be an Outlaw”: “Singin’ ’bout the back roads that they never have been down/ They go and call it country but that ain’t the way it sounds”. Even then, Band of Brothers belongs solely to Willie Nelson. This is the sound of rust being ground out, cylinders squeaking back to life, engines and carburetors opening wide on the road again.


Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and more on Mary Sarah’s “Bridges”

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

by: Andrew Leahey

Yesterday, Mary Sarah turned 19 years old. Today, she’s releasing Bridges, a duet-filled album featuring cameos by some of the biggest living legends of country music.

It’s one thing to cover songs from the country songbook. It’s another thing to sing those tunes with the people who originally made them famous. As a result, Bridges serves as a tribute to the classic music Mary Sarah sang in churches and regional Opry houses during her younger days, as well as a testament to the longevity of old-school crooners like Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Ronnie Milsap and Merle Haggard, all of whom lend their voices to the project.

Sarah turns on the waterworks with “Go Rest High on That Mountain,” performed alongside Vince Gill, and dips her toe into more contemporary waters with the Big & Rich duet “My Great Escape.” The most impressive duet, though, may be “Heartaches by the Numbers,” recorded with Ray Price months before the singer’s death last year. The song feels like a passing of the torch between different generations, and Sarah’s performance — confident, tuneful and rarely overshadowed by her vocal partner — bodes well for a songbird who’s just now leaving the nest.

Mary Sarah, Bridges Track List:

1. “Jolene” (featuring Dolly Parton)?
2. “Crazy” (featuring Willy Nelson)
?3. “Fightin’ Side of Me” (featuring Merle Haggard)?
4. “Heartaches By the Number” (featuring Ray Price)
5. “Go Rest High on That Mountain” (featuring Vince Gill)
?6. “Dream On” (featuring the Oak Ridge Boys)?
7. “Texas, When I Die” (featuring Tanya Tucker)?
8. “Rose Garden” (featuring Lynn Anderson)
?9. “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life” (featuring Ronnie Milsap)?
10. “Where the Boys Are” (featuring Neil Sedaka)
11. “My Great Escape” (featuring John Rich and Big Kenny)
?12. “All I Wanna Do Is Sing My Song” (featuring Freddy Powers)?
13. “I’m Sorry”

Willie Nelson Going Strong: Band of Brothers (review)

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Willie Nelson’s “Band of Brothers”
by: Dean Gordon-Smith

At 81 years old and 50-plus albums, Willie Nelson is a clear eyed reporter of world weary choices, moody regret and aw shucks bad assery.

On Band of Brothers, his first mainly original album in over a decade, Nelson reasserts his songwriting mastery in an album replete with his end-of-the-night chord patterns and western swing/country pop hybrid songs.

Nelson’s vigorous work ethic has kept his tremulous voice in solid form (as a vocal stylist, his shaky voice is singular.) Producer Buddy Cannon’s highlighting of Nelson’s voice and rickety, elegant guitar work dovetail sweetly into the relaxed songs of Band of Brothers – an unhurried collection of classic Nelson themes of camaraderie (Guitar in the Corner), the road (Band of Brothers) and wayward love (Wives and Girlfriends).

This album shines light on Nelson’s songs which, along with his voice, are ageless because they’ve always sounded old.

Both are strong and confident, shaded by darkness and humour: He’s no serious prophet but he’s a wry observer of basic situations who turns simple sentiments into roadside wisdom.

Nelson has always had an ear for the “whatever happens,” the type of view as heard on Used to Hear:

“I wish I wasn’t used to her back then, I could have picked a good girl who did not crave other men/ I wish I wasn’t used to her back then.”

Band of Brothers is focused on Nelson’s ensemble, playing western swing songs and easy excursions into bluesy sounds (The Git Go, Hard to Be an Outlaw).

His workhorse musical output has kept his vocal/guitar and songwriting skills vital and pleasantly weathered. This album hones in on all three of his talents with emphasis on the latter. He gives an insight to his longevity and drive on The Songwriters: “We write bridges, we cross ‘em and burn ‘em/Teach lessons but don’t bother to learn ‘em.”

Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon talk about “Band of Brothers” on Sirius/XM Radio

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Willie Nelson: Band of Brothers

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Willie Nelson’s “Band of Brothers”
by:  Chris Talbott

Willie Nelson has written a song – sometimes two, three or four – for every occasion, mood and moment. There’s Wistful Willie. Defiant Willie. Repentant Willie. Randy Willie. Preacher Willie. Populist Willie. Whimsical Willie. Vengeful Willie.

Nelson the songwriter returns in all his wonderful guises on the first album of mostly new material he penned himself since 1996′s “Spirit,” the best album of the latter half of his 60-year career. Nelson wrote nine of the 14 songs on “Band of Brothers” with album producer Buddy Cannon, and each song is a perfect projection of its writer’s best qualities. They’re comfortable, familiar, well-worn, but also new and different.

Nelson is 81 now, and the new songs make allowances for this. His defiant moments sound a little more world-weary, his regrets a bit more painful. But his sense of humor and philosopher’s personality remain un-diminished.

“Band of Brothers” opens with Defiant Willie staring down the storm on “Bring It On.” Wistful Willie lets the “Guitar in the Corner” play him, Repentant Willie hits “The Wall” and Randy Willie leads us through a tall tale of all his “Wives and Girlfriends,” “but may they never meet/may they never know each other when they pass on the street.”

Populist Willie provides the title track, a beautiful display of the sentiment that has made Nelson incongruously both an outlaw and a figure beloved by all. “We’re a band of brothers and sisters and whatever/On a mission to break all the rules.”

Nelson positions that song between a pair of Billy Joe Shaver covers – “The Git Go,” featuring Jamey Johnson, and “It’s Hard to Be an Outlaw” – midway through the album, and this outlaw triptych serves as a powerful reminder of why we’ve loved Nelson all these years.

Willie Nelson: the Sage of Country Music

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

by: Ann Powers

When Willie Nelson was a young hustler selling songs to Patsy Cline’s people, he probably never thought he’d become the crowd-anointed sage of country music. But that’s what happened as the Redheaded Stranger went gray, turned smoking weed into a brand and a virtue, and produced a discography that added up to its own American Songbook. Nelson’s gentle persona and approach has always somewhat masked his fire: to have hits; to play his legendarily worn guitar, Trigger, with killer precision; and to sing, in that quiet voice, with skill that matches the jazz greats who’ve inspired him. On Band of Brothers, Nelson’s first album of mostly original material in 18 years, he calmly asks listeners to consider his whole person.

He still embraces his Yoda role. (Nelson can’t avoid it; someone’s even made a paper doll of Nelson and the Star Wars sage, combined.) “Bring It On” opens Band of Brothers with a cowboy lope and an inspirational salvo: “It’s written in the Good Book that we’ll never be asked to take any more than we can,” Nelson sings, his reedy tenor growing declarative. “Sounds like a good plan.” Within this first track, he’s gotten the guru job out of the way.

Then come other moods. “The Wall” is confessional without being in the least bit sappy, reminiscent of the writing of Nelson’s friend Kris Kristofferson. “Wives and Girlfriends” and “Crazy Like Me” bring the bawdy honky-tonk humor, giving Nelson’s band of unfussy virtuosos a chance to pick up the pace. “Hard to Be an Outlaw,” a Billy Joe Shaver song (originally recorded as a duet with Nelson) about aging out of the country bad-boy role, becomes wry in Nelson’s hands, more like the reflections of Mad Men‘s Roger Sterling than a Game of Thrones-style howl of the Hound.

Band of Brothers is a self-portrait of a long, up-and-down life — specifically the life of an artist. The title track pays tribute to the community (“a band of brothers, and sisters, and whatever”) that Nelson has built with his fellow players and his fans. “The Git Go,” another Shaver song performed here as a bluesy duet with Jamey Johnson, adds in the element of protest against the capitalist straight life. “The Songwriters,” co-written by another soft-spoken country veteran, Bill Anderson, offers a bit of gloating about the bohemian life. “Guitar in the Corner” acknowledges the darker times, when inspiration doesn’t come.

Nelson, who recently turned 81, lets his voice wobble at times, which mostly adds pathos. But his phrasing remains the best — not only in country, but arguably in all of popular music. No one drifts as purposefully as Willie Nelson when he’s letting a melody settle in his bones. His voice is the thought process personified. The players and longtime producer (and co-writer) Buddy Cannon give that voice plenty of room on Band of Brothers, letting it shape arrangements that contrast with most mainstream country the way a clear evening sky contrasts with a crowded nightscape of electronic billboards.

The thing about Nelson inhabiting that Yoda role is that he refuses to make it a cliché. The man possesses actual wisdom — the musical kind, more than anything, but the philosophical kind, too. Band of Brothers is a gift to all of us who look to Nelson for impeccable craft and tender insight. Sage? Sure. Here, though, he’s also wonderfully relatable.

Willie Nelson’s, “Band of Brothers” #1 on Billboard

Sunday, June 29th, 2014
by: Mac Randall

What does an 81-year old country music legend do to keep life interesting for himself? Go back to something he’s good at: writing songs. This is, astonishingly, the first Willie Nelson album to be dominated by self-penned material since the one-two punch of “Spirit” and “Teatro,” released more than 15 years ago. Less astonishingly, it’s his best work by far since then, almost completely free of the questionable song choices and duet overloads that marred his albums in the intervening years. (Sure enough, the sole duet here, with Jamey Johnson on a cover of Billy Joe Shaver’s “The Git Go,” is also the weakest track, despite its warm, wizened gospel-blues vibe.)

Right from the first few jaunty seconds of the opener, “Bring It On” — the wailing harmonica, the swooping pedal steel and the wry initial couplet, “They say there is no gain without pain/Well, I must be gaining a lot” — “Band of Brothers” bears all the marks of an old-fashioned country gem. The nine new originals (out of 14 total tracks) are sharp and often hilarious. “Wives and Girlfriends” is practically a three-minute stand-up routine, while “I Thought I Left You” compares an ex-lover to measles and whooping cough against the backdrop of a stately ballad.

Willie Nelson Scores First No. 1 On Top Country Albums In 28 Years

Nelson’s casually conversational singing, with its sudden drops into the bass register and unmistakable natural tremolo, is as good as it has ever been, and the same goes for his ragged but right mariachi-jazz guitar solos. In his ninth decade, this Texas troubadour still is making music that can match anything in his long, distinguished catalog.

read entire article here.

Questions? Com

The Essential Willie Nelson

Saturday, June 28th, 2014


I probably give this cd away more often than any other Willie Nelson album. It’s such a great collection. But now, I am sharing copies of “Band of Brothers” cd. I love that album! And everyone who hears it loves it too.  It is pure Willie Nelson.


 Track Listing:

1. ‘Bring It On’
2. ‘Guitar in the Corner’
3. ‘The Wall’
4. ‘Whenever You Come Around’
5. ‘Wives and Girlfriends’
6. ‘I Thought I Left You’
7. ‘Send Me a Picture’
8. ‘Used to Her’
9. ‘The Git Go’
10. ‘Band of Brothers’
11. ‘Hard to Be an Outlaw’
12. ‘Crazy Like Me’
13. ‘The Songwriters’
14. ‘I’ve Got a Lot of Traveling to Do’


Willie Nelson’s Magic

Friday, June 27th, 2014


Buddy Cannon, left, and Willie Nelson co-wrote nine of the 14 songs on Nelson’s new, Cannon-produced “Band of Brothers” album.(Photo: Photo by Glen Rose)
by: Peter Cooper

 Buddy Cannon, esteemed Nashville songwriter, musician and producer, got up one morning in 2011 and noticed he’d received a text message while slumbering.

The text said “Roll me up and smoke me when I die.”

Its sender was a fellow named Willie Nelson.

“I got out of bed, picked my phone up and that text was there, and I laughed my (posterior) off,” Cannon says. “Since then, we’ve written probably 25 songs together by texting back and forth.”

How do you write a song with 81-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer Willie Nelson? It helps to have a good mobile plan. Cannon has never been in the same room with Nelson to write a song, but the two co-wrote nine of the 14 songs on the new, Cannon-produced “Band of Brothers” album. That album just made its debut atop the “Billboard” country albums chart.

“I’ll get up, look at my phone and there’ll be a text from him, with a verse or some lines,” Cannon says. “I’ll start tweaking and adding, and we’ll pass it back and forth. When it looks like it’s where we ought to be, we hum a melody to teach each other over the phone. Then he has me go in and cut a track, and he comes in and sings it and plays guitar.”

Easy enough, then. At least for Cannon. For the rest of us, it’s tougher to get Willie’s cell phone number than it would be to get a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on your point-of-view) inhalation of Willie’s favorite herb. But Willie trusts Buddy, and has since 2007, when Nelson added a vocal to  Kenny Chesney’s version of the Cannon-produced classic “Lucky Old Sun.”

“He came in and did his vocal, and I made a rough mix and sent it to him,” Cannon says. “A couple of days later, he called my cell and said, ‘Hey, Buddy, this is Willie. That’s the best version I’ve ever heard on that song. Let’s find some songs and go make a record.’ ”

And so Cannon and Chesney produced Nelson’s 2008 album “Moment of Forever,” which included gems from the pens of Kris Kristofferson, Randy Newman, Guy Clark, Gary Nicholson, Bob Dylan and Paul Craft, among others.

Cannon has been working with Nelson ever since, blending Nelson’s acoustic guitar and longtime Nelson cohort Mickey Raphael’s harmonica with session honchos including drummer Eddie Bayers, bass man Kevin “Swine” Grantt and steel guitarists Mike Johnson and Tommy White.

“Every time he sings a song, he does something spectacular,” Cannon says. “The magic of Willie is his phrasing and his choice of notes. Nobody else on the planet does what he does. But you have to let him do it. I’ve seen people start trying to give him direction, and he’s apt to walk out the door, get on his bus and leave.”

Nelson doesn’t skip out on Cannon-produced sessions. They’ve done five albums together, and Cannon recently accompanied Nelson on a northeast trip to do television appearances in support of “Band of Brothers.” Cannon has grown comfortable around his text-happy friend, but Nelson is also a hero to Cannon, who has worked with industry honchos including Chesney, Vern Gosdin, Mel Tillis and Jamey Johnson.

“Recording with him is the ultimate,” Cannon says. “The first memory I have of him was driving around in Chicago in the 1960s and hearing his versions of ‘Columbus Stockade Blues’ and ‘Home in San Antone’ on the radio. The phrasing was so out there that it hooked me.”

These days, Cannon doesn’t have to check the radio to hear from Nelson. He can usually just check his text messages, and find lines such as “Bring it on,” “Wives and girlfriends” and “I thought I left you.” Lately, the texts are coming fast.

“We’ve got a record that just came out, and Willie’s head is already in the next album,” Cannon says. “Sometimes, he’ll send me a lyric where I can’t figure out what he’s talking about. One, he sent me a year ago, and I’m still trying to figure out what he’s saying. I dig it out and look at it a lot because I know there’s something there.”

Willie Nelson’s, “Band of Brothers” debuts at #1 on Billboard Country Charts

Thursday, June 26th, 2014


Thanks to Brad Wheeler, from Salt Lake City, from KRCL 90.9FM, for the photo.

Band of Brothers, the new Willie Nelson studio album, is entering the Billboard 200 best-selling albums chart at #5, marking Willie’s highest debut and highest position on America’s popular albums chart since Always On My Mind peaked there for four weeks at #2 in 1982.

Willie’s latest is also debuting at #1 on the Billboard Country chart, making Band of Brothers his first #1 Country album since The Promiseland hit the top slot in 1986.

With Band of Brothers sitting high on the nation’s Pop and Country charts, Natural Renegade, a Willie Nelson retrospective collection originally released in 2007, has also returned to the charts, coming in at #7 on the Top Catalog albums chart.

Willie’s second Top 10 album in less than a year–its predecessor, To All The Girls…, entered the Billboard 200 at #9 (and the Country chart at #2) in October 2013–Band of Brothers premieres 14 studio tracks including nine brand-new songs composed by America’s quintessential pop/country songwriter. Willie’s first album of predominately newly-written original material since 1996?s Spirit album, Band of Brothers is already drawing praise from music press and fans alike as a welcome return-to-form from the master tunesmith.

All 14 tracks on Band of Brothers are new recordings and none of the songs have been previously recorded by Willie Nelson.

“We have had many, many great musical performers and music acts on this stage, and this theatre has seen the best of the best,” said host David Letterman recently, introducing Willie Nelson to his Late Show audience, adding, “No one better than this guy….”

It’s a sentiment echoed by NPR, who devoted a section of their online music home page to a “first listen” to Band of Brothers and conducted an extensive, lively interview with Willie on “All Things Considered” on June 15, with host Arun Rath calling the artist, simply “such a great songwriter.”

“The master songwriter turns in his strongest tunes in ages,” wrote Rolling Stone. “A minute into Willie Nelson’s new set of songs – largely self-penned for a change – it’s clear the man who wrote Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ 50-some years ago has lost neither verve nor cojones.”

The New York Times called Band of Brothers “…a serenely feisty autumnal statement from the singer, who formed his sage, grizzled persona decades ago. [...] his relaxed, quavery, behind-the beat vocals and his acoustic lead guitar always made him a voice of maturity. The sly versatility of his style has allowed him to cruise through many albums of collaborations, covers and tributes to vintage country music. But ‘Band of Brothers’–with nine of its 14 songs written by Mr. Nelson and Buddy Cannon, the album’s producer–is set in the present. At 81, Mr. Nelson has more right to be autumnal than ever. That doesn’t mean he’s retreating….”

“Of course when it comes to country nonconformists, Nelson not only wrote the book, he published it and put it on the shelves. Country’s original Outlaw has spent decades proving it’s possible to be an icon and an iconoclast at the same time,” wrote CMT in a review of Willie Nelson & the Family’s recent performance at Radio City Music Hall, testifying to Willie’s on-stage power and charisma. “Watching Nelson work his magic as he did at Radio City is a thrilling experience….as if Nelson was venturing ever further on a high wire without losing his footing.”

Willie Nelson and the Roll Me Up Band, “The Wall”

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Congratulations Willie Nelson: “Band of Brothers” #5 album, #1 Country album Band Of Brothers!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014


Get this album if you haven’t yet!  It is full of original tunes by Willie Nelson, and it is great!