Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

Willie Nelson, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Somora, “Always on My Mind”

Thursday, July 30th, 2015
by: Stephen V. Betts

Willie Nelson has always relied on the kindness of his many celebrity friends, whether it’s to perform at the annual Farm Aid concerts or to share a duet with him on the seemingly endless string of LPs he has released throughout his 82 years. In April of 2002, several of those musical family members gathered at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium for an informal tribute to the American treasure, with the eclectic lineup including Keith Richards, Sheryl Crow, Brian McKnight, Ryan Adams, Ray Price, Nora Jones and Dave Matthews.

In addition to all-star performances of some of the Red Headed Stranger’s most iconic tunes, the special also celebrated the release of Nelson’s The Great Divide, the 2002 LP that included several collaborations and featured three songs penned by Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas, who duets with Nelson on “Maria (Shut Up and Kiss Me),” which became a minor country hit. The more well-known release from the album was the Bernie Taupin and Matt Serletic-penned “Mendocino County Line,” a duet with Lee Ann Womack which made the Top Forty, becoming his first country hit to do so in 12 years. The tune would go on to win a CMA award for Vocal Event of the Year and the Grammy for Best Country Collaboration, and Womack joined Nelson and the house band to perform it during the special.

One of the most dramatic renditions of the night was of Nelson’s massive pop-country hit, “Always on My Mind,” which featured Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Coming four years before Bon Jovi would top the country charts with Jennifer Nettles on “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” the TV show performance featured Bon Jovi, sporting a cowboy hat, taking the first verse and delivering a somber vocal as Sambora and Nelson harmonize. The country great then steps up for the second verse, strumming his faithful guitar, Trigger, and putting his distinctive vocal spin on the song that won him a Grammy and a CMA award.

“Always on My Mind,” penned by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson, who died July 20th, was also famously recorded by Elvis Presley, the Pet Shop Boys and many others. In 2013, Nelson revisited the track for his duets LP, To All the Girls…, recording it with Carrie Underwood.

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The Best of Willie Nelson (Liberty Records)

Thursday, July 30th, 2015


Willie Nelson wasn’t at Liberty Records for much longer than a couple of cups of coffee, but he did record some great material for the label, including “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Hello Walls,” “Crazy,” and “Mr. Record Man.” This set includes all of these, plus a handful of others from the early portion of Nelson’s career, and it makes for a fine introduction to the songwriting side of Nelson, since some of the best songs he ever wrote are here.

~ Steve Leggett, All Music Guide

Track List:

1 Funny How Time Slips Away 3:05
2 Hello Walls 2:24
3 The Part Where I Cry 2:21
4 Undo the Right 2:34
5 Wake Me When It’s Over 2:49
6 Crazy 2:52
7 Touch Me 2:14
8 One Step Beyond 2:27
9 Three Days 2:58
10 Half a Man 2:27
11 Where My House Lives 2:21
12 Mr. Record Man 2:32
13 Darkness on the Face of the Earth 2:49

Willie Nelson, Souvenirs

Saturday, July 25th, 2015


Track Listing


1. Man with the Blues
2. A New Way to Cry
3. Happiness Lives Next Door
4. Misery Mansion
5. Night Life
6. The Storm Has Just Begun
7. What a Way to Live
8. Country Willie
9. San Antonio Rose
10. Waiting Time
11. The Ghost
12. I’ll Stay Around
13. Both Ends of the Candle
14. Rainy Day Blues
15. Right from Wrong


1. Good Hearted Woman
2. Blue Skies
3. Georgia on My Mind
4. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
5. On the Road Again
6. Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
7. City of New Orleans
8. To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before
9. Texas Luckenbach
10. Whiskey River
11. Seven Spanish Angels
12. Stardust
13. Funny How Time Slips Away
14. Pancho & Lefty

Win a Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard, “Django and Jimmie” Poster

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015


Enter to win a autographed 12 x 12 album flat of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s new album Django and Jimmie!

Enter contest here

Willie Nelson: New book, new album, new pot business

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

by:  George Vargas

Willie Nelson, cedar bark smoker?

Yes, indeed, as the country-music giant affirms in his new autobiography, “It’s a Long Story: My Life.”

“As a kid, I’d sneak off and smoke anything that burned,” writes Nelson, who performs here Friday at Harrah’s Resort SoCal in Valley Center.

“Loved to smoke. Would even smoke strips of cedar bark. The various substances have changed over the years, but the act itself has never ceased to satisfy me.”

Happily, Nelson’s musical legacy continues to burn even brighter than his long-avowed fondness for marijuana.

Now 82, Nelson is embarked on a joint summer tour with his longtime band and Alison Krauss & Union Station, although his Harrah’s show is, sadly, sans Krauss.

Blessed with an oh-so-supple voice, Nelson has released 17 albums in the last decade alone — and nine since 2010. They include last year’s “December Day,” which teams him with his sister, Bobbie (his pianist for the past half century), and this year’s “Django and Jimmie,” his first duo outing with Merle Haggard since 1983’s “Pancho & Lefty.”

Highlights on the album include “The Only Man Wilder Than Me,” “It’s All Gone To Pot,” “Missing Ol’ Johnny Cash” and an inspired new version of Haggard’s classic “Swinging Doors.”

Nelson recently announced plans to launch Willie’s Reserve, a premium marijuana line, which will be sold in Colorado and Washington. In November, he’ll receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Past recipients include Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Carole King.

“My Life,” co-written with David Rich, is not Nelson’s first book. It was preceded by “Willie: An Autobiography,” “The Tao Of Willie,” “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” and “The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes.”

Nelson’s sense of humor is matched by his tenacity. Both have helped him greatly in a career that proceeded in fits and sparks, before finally igniting in the 1970s.

In 1961, four artists scored Top 20 hits with songs Nelson wrote: Patsy Cline (“Crazy”); Faron Young (“Hello Walls”); Ray Price (“Nightlife”); and Billy Walker (“Funny How Time Slips Away”). Yet, his first 14 albums were all flops. Undaunted, the Air Force veteran persevered, as befits a former encyclopedia and vacuum cleaner salesman.

“There’s a lot of similarities,” Nelson told me in a 1993 Union-Tribune interview.

“You’ve got to sell yourself first. And, once you do that, it really doesn’t matter what the product is; they’ll try to buy it from you, whether they like it or not. Door-to-door selling was the best education I ever had. My first door-to-door salesman job was back when I was a kid — so I’ve been selling one thing or another ever since I can remember.”

Willie Nelson  & Family, with Emi Sunshine

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Where: The Events Center, Harrah’s Resort SoCal, 777 Harrah’s Resort Southern California Way, Valley Center

Tickets: $55-$125 (must be 21 or older to attend)

Phone: (800) 745-3000

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, “Two Men With the Blues” (2008)

Monday, July 20th, 2015


On January 8, 2008, Blue Note Records released, “Two Men With the Blues”.

Willie Nelson – vocals and guitar Wynton Marsalis – trumpet and vocals Mickey Raphael – harmonica Walter Blanding – saxophone Dan Nimmer – piano Carlos Henriquez – bass Ali Jackson Jr. – drums

“These songs, heard this way with this group—that’s never been done before. Whatever I’m doing, if you put Wynton and these guys around it, that brings it up to a different level.” – Willie Nelson

A first-time collaboration between two American icons, Willie & Wynton discover common ground in their love of jazz standards & the blues on this sparkling set that brims with spontaneity, congeniality & fun.

Wynton wears crisp suits, reads sheet music and is the musical director of New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Willie wears crumpled jeans, wings it onstage and runs his concert venue, Willie’s Place, out of a truck stop in Abbott, Texas.

So what exactly do these music legends have in common? The blues, of course. Wynton Marsalis, 46, and Willie Nelson, 75, are the two men on the new CD “Two Men With the Blues,” a live recording culled from two concerts they played at Lincoln Center last year.

“I like playing with Wynton,” says Nelson, “because you know the piano player won’t show up drunk, and whatever comes out of it, it’ll be worth the listen.” They are playing venues including the Hollywood Bowl and “The Tonight Show” between breaks on Nelson’s tour and Marsalis’s Lincoln Center duties. Recently, the two chatted with NEWSWEEK’s Lorraine Ali in Nelson’s second home—his airbrushed, tricked-out tour bus:

ALI: Your collaboration has been described as “a summit meeting between two American icons.”

NELSON: I like the way they put that.

MARSALIS: I’m not an icon, he is.

NELSON: I thought an icon was one of those things on your computer screen. I’m not one of those.

MARSALIS: OK, I say this modestly—this is a historic event. It’s not a big surprise to have Wynton and Willie playing together, but to have this much attention for it, that’s a surprise.

But the attention makes sense: both of you are highly respected, and Willie, you can’t go anywhere without being recognized. NELSON: I’m offended if I don’t get recognized. I say, “Hey, man, don’t you know who I am? Perhaps you didn’t realize.”

MARSALIS: My son always says, “I want to repudiate you, Dad, but nobody knows who you are. When I have to explain who I’m repudiating, it’s not really worth it.”

Willie, I imagine you as an off-the-cuff player, but with Wynton, there’s the whole issue of keeping time. Is that a problem?

NELSON: Well, it’s a little different than when we just go up there and wing it for four hours and play requests. This has to be exactly right, especially because Wynton and the guys are reading off pieces of paper, and I’m just up there trying to remember words. These guys have a lot more to do and think about than I do. For me, it’s a free ride on top of their rhythm and rockin’.

MARSALIS: He’ll come in with a phrase, and we’ll think, “Uh-oh, he ain’t gonna make it fit.” And then he’ll collect it on the back end. It’s like somebody jukin’ or fakin’ on a basketball court. They take you this way, then come back that way. He’ll come in perfectly on key, on time, and we’re, like, “Damn!” It’s so natural and true.

Do you see yourself as an odd couple?

MARSALIS: No. As musicians, we like a lot of the same things.

NELSON:Â Louis Jordan’s “Caldonia.”

MARSALIS: Yeah, that’s right, or “Saturday Night Fish Fry.” See, we came up on the same sounds

Music aside, personality-wise, how is it working together? Is one of you…

NELSON: On drugs?

That’s not exactly where I was going.

MARSALIS: We really follow each other. I think we’re gracious that way. There’s no crazy soloing over one another.

NELSON: We [Nelson and his harmonica player] can’t play anything more than they [Marsalis and his quartet] can play. There’s only so many chords, and they know ‘em better than we do. Honestly, I don’t read music that well. Or I don’t read well enough to hurt my playing, as the old joke goes.

MARSALIS: And it’s not like we need to translate. We’re coming from the same American experience. The songs he picked to play,”Bright Lights, Big City,” “Basin Street Blues”we don’t need an arrangement for those. The grooves we play are shuffle grooves, swing. We grew up playing that music. There wasn’t one time where we had to stop and say, “Willie, what do you mean?” We are together.

NELSON: Even though some of us may not look all that together.

I heard you two barely rehearse.

MARSALIS: Willie doesn’t do two or three takes. Just once, and then, “That’s good, gentlemen.” That’s how we play. We record live.

NELSON: If you can play, then what do you want to rehearse for? Just play.

Willie, you still tour like mad. How different are the shows with Wynton?

NELSON: Honestly, it’s a lot easier for me to come out and work with Wynton and his guys, because in my shows I’ll go out and play for two hours or more. With Wynton, they’ve already played for an hour and a half before I come out. I come out and do the last 30 minutes, and all of a sudden I’ve had a great night.

Wynton, was there any sort of intimidation factor in working with a legend like Willie?

MARSALIS: I’ve been around musicians all my life. My daddy was a musician, and we played all kind of gigs. I played with philharmonic orchestras when I was 22 years old. That’s intimidating! This man is natural. He makes you feel at home. When he comes to rehearsal, there’s not 65 people around him, scurrying to make it all right.

NELSON: Send in the dogs to clear the place out first.

MARSALIS: It’s not like that. He’s very approachable.

NELSON: We used to work in clubs where we had to build up the crowd. We’d hop from table to table, have a drink with everybody, hoping they’d show up tomorrow night. By the time you made your rounds you’re about half drunk.

MARSALIS: How could you not love this man?

Willie Nelson’s Greatest Hits (entire album)

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Willie Nelson continues to thrive

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard's new album, Django And Jimmie, comes out June 2
by:  Paul De Barros

When Willie Nelson sings, “We’d have taken better care of ourselves if we’d known we were going to live this long” on his new collaboration with Merle Haggard, it resonates. Not only has the 82-year-old master of American song survived a recent Internet hoax that put him 6 feet under, but he has also burst into late bloom with two first-rate albums during the past year.Last summer’s Band of Brothers — the title track is an ode to the solidarity of outlaws — featured nine new songs, more than any of his albums since Spirit (1996). Band of Brothers reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart. As well it should have.From the hard-charging dare of Bring It On to the contemplative Guitar in the Corner, which offers songwriting as a metaphor for life and love, Nelson — like Picasso was at the same age — is as creative as ever. And Nelson hasn’t lost his sense of humor, as evidenced by the sarcastic I Thought I Left You (“You’re like the measles .?.?. I’ve already had you”) and the facetious novelty number Wives and Girlfriends.

Last month, Nelson hit another high with Django and Jimmie, a collaboration with Haggard that sounds like two wise and wily old men shooting the breeze on the porch. A tribute to hot-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and “the singing brakeman” Jimmie Rogers, the album features a nod to Johnny Cash in which Nelson recalls a caper that involved Cash having a casket brought to his hotel room, climbing inside and calling room service.

There’s also the tongue-in-cheek It’s All Going to Pot and a sparkling, up-tempo version of Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right that highlights the hurt over the meanness in that durable lyric in a way its author never managed.

Chris Stapleton at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic in Austin

Thursday, July 16th, 2015


This was my first time seeing Chris Stapleton perform.  He and his band, which includes his wife Morgane, performed at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July picnic.  The picnic is always fun because you get introduced to other great music that you might not normally hear.  They were great.

Morgane Stapleton



Kentucky-born singer, songwriter and producer Chris Stapleton is one of Nashville’s most revered craftsmen, with a 15-year career that includes No. 1 hits, Grammy Award nominations, feature film contributions, the respect of his peers and, now, a new album.

Stapleton will release his highly anticipated debut “Traveller” on May 5. The Mercury Records Nashville release is the rare mainstream country album eagerly awaited by fans on both sides of the dial.

Blessed with an otherworldly voice, Stapleton earned this respect in numerous recording studios and anonymous writing rooms on Music Row and on stage as a touring headliner and opener for the most popular acts in the genre.

He has written five No. 1 songs for George Strait, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Darius Rucker and Josh Turner and contributed cuts to several major motion picture soundtracks. He’s also been nominated for three Grammy Awards and won the International Bluegrass Music Association Emerging Artist of the Year award as a member of The SteelDrivers.

His songwriting credits span all genres and artists from Adele to Jason Aldean and he’s recorded with everyone from Miranda Lambert to Don Williams.


Check out their album, and learn more about the band at:



Raelyn Nelson Band: New Single, New Shirt, New Video! “Mason Jar”

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015


“This year we are releasing a single/video/tshirt each month or so, instead of a CD. Mason Jar is the latest in the series and is about the evolution of my mid to late twenties.

“The melody and first few lines came to me while driving some back roads around my house in Tennessee, that’s probably where the “open spaces” theme came about. It’s a song about deciding to face fears, forgetting about what “has been”, and going after dreams. The video concept was born out of necessity as much as anything.

At this point, we are literally doing everything ourselves, so we needed to come up with something that we were actually capable of doing, yet still be entertaining. Once we had our idea, it was just a matter of building a mason jar/GoPro rig and gathering some family and friends for the “actors”. Much like our “Brother” video, it tells a bit of a story and hopefully takes the viewer on a fun and wild ride.”

Download the single here, for only $.99:

And get the Shirt here:

If you haven’t watched the video for their first video release, “Brother”, here it is.

Download the “Brother”  and “Mason Jar” songs, and other RNB music here:
Follow them on Facebook

You can also purchase the band’s recent album here:

The Paula Nelson Band at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic

Monday, July 13th, 2015


Just like lots of Americans last weekend, Paula Nelson spent the 4th of July with her dad and family, and she brought her band! Paula sang her original songs, and also honored Waylon Jennings and Mickey Newberry, and sang their songs, from the band’s album, “Under the Influence”. That album is available at CDBaby website, along with her earlier albums, too. Collect them all!

Landis Armstrong, master of the stratocaster, it’s phenomenal to watch him play guitar.


mad man Andrew Gerfers on drums & percussion


And sorry, only a tiny view of Matt Eskey on bass but he was there.


Matt Hubbard on keyboard and vocals.


“The Monsanto Years” — Neil Young, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

by:  Bill Lamb

Backed by Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah of Promise of the Real, The Monsanto Years sounds much like many of Neil Young’s best-loved albums with Crazy Horse.

At age 69, the legendary singer-songwriter is still angry about injustices in the world, with attacks on chemical giant Monsanto and its genetically modified foods along with other corporations like Starbucks and Wal-mart. Not a happy message, but the heavy rock has the melodic crunch long-term fans of Neil Young will love.

Neil Young and the Promise of the Real will close Summerfest 2015 as Marcus Amphitheater headliners on July 5.



Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “Django and Jimmie”

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard's new album, Django And Jimmie, comes out June 2

Merle Haggard: “They might not give us a grammy.”

Willie Nelson: “They’ll give us a crumby. They’ll throw us a crumb.”

Get this great cd, if you haven’t yet:



Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard on NPR’s best songs of 2015 (so far) list

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015


…2015…so far

NPR Music is launching an online radio station today with the best songs of 2015 (so far), and Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard’s “He’s the Only Man Wilder Than Me” is on the list.

Give the station a listen here:

Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard, “Alice in Hululand”

Monday, June 29th, 2015
by: Chris Parton

Country legends Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard team up for some pickin’ & grinnin’ in paradise in their new video for “Alice in Hulaland.” Filmed in Hawaii, Nelson’s home-away-from-the-road, the clip is filled with sunshine, sand and smiles from the pair of longtime buddies.

The track comes from their recent Number One album, Django and Jimmie — named after Nelson and Haggard’s respective musical heroes, jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers — and features a sound heavy on beachy steel guitar and carefree harmonica.

In the video, 82-year-old Nelson and 78-year-old Haggard relax with their acoustic guitars, looking totally at ease. Haggard even sports a pot-leaf-adorned hat, while Nelson — whose frame of mind needs no identifying symbols — kicks back in shades and a straw cowboy hat.

The lyrics to “Alice in Hulaland” are all about a sweet girl whom some might describe as a groupie. Naturally, the clip includes some pretty ladies, but it’s made to look more like an innocent home movie, not the pseudo peepshows that have become so common in modern country videos. Adding to the home-movie feel are scenes of beachfront shops and colorful locals, giving the impression that viewers might actually be getting a glimpse into what Nelson’s life on the green islands is really like.

After a pair of dates with Alison Krauss & Union Station this weekend, Nelson will adjourn to his home in Austin to prepare for his annual Fourth of July Picnic. Haggard is also on the bill, along with Eric Church, Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell. Many of those same artists, led by Nelson, will participate in a July 6th tribute to Waylon Jennings, also in Austin.

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