Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

Willie Nelson, “Red Headed Stranger”

Sunday, November 19th, 2017
by:  Rebecca Bengal

In 1975, Willie Nelson changed the rules of country music. His lonesome, noir concept album about a wayward preacher was a big and beautiful dream made real by simple and spare music.

Red Headed Stranger, Willie Nelson’s 18th studio album, arrived in the world on May Day, 1975, to little fanfare. It would prove to be an ominous year. Two of Nelson’s fellow Texans and country music heroes, Bob Wills and Lefty Frizzell, would die. At the Country Music Awards, Charlie Rich would set fire to the slip of paper that announced John Denver as Entertainer of the Year. Denver topped mainstream country charts with his friendly ditty “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” which traded places with the lush, bright, radio-friendly productions of Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy,” and Linda Ronstadt’s “When Will I Be Loved.”

It was the year of Tonight’s the Night, Blood on the Tracks, Physical Graffiti, Metal Machine Music, Zuma, Horses, and Born to Run. And it was the year that Willie Nelson finally signed a record deal that allowed him “quote artistic control endquote” as he described it to Rolling Stone. In the span of about a week, summoning a core stable of musicians to a little studio in Garland, Texas, and for just $4,000, Nelson made an album that defied logic, transcended the industry-defined borders separating country from rock’n’roll, jazz, blues, and folk—and it became an artistic and commercial success. Red Headed Stranger remained on the Billboard charts for 120 weeks. It was as if he’d written himself a permission slip for the next four decades of his career. On first listen, one studio head wondered aloud whether it had been recorded in Nelson’s kitchen. It sounds like just Willie and his guitar, another remarked. Waylon Jennings, who was present for the initial listening session, leapt to his feet. “That’s what Willie is all about!” he reportedly hollered.

Nelson’s first four decades had been hard-earned. He was on his third marriage, father of four kids. He had washed dishes and sold encyclopedias door to door until he decided that it went against his beliefs to push them on people who couldn’t afford them and took a job peddling vacuum cleaners instead. He had done his share of time in a trailer park and he had seen his own house burn down. He had played honky-tonks across from Texas to Washington, and he’d worked as a radio disc jockey with the handle “Wee Willie Nelson.” One particularly despondent night, early in his Nashville days, Nelson walked outside Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge—the famous songwriter haunt where he warmed barstools alongside Kris Kristofferson, Hank Cochran, and Roger Miller. Nelson laid down on a snow-covered street and waited for a car to run him over.

The story is one Nelson tells frequently of his Nashville days. For more than 10 years, he made a name for himself recording well-received albums that failed to get the same acclaim as the No. 1 hits he wrote for others; he resisted record company producers and their suggestions of “different styles” while at the same time demanded better marketing for his records. Was it worth it working for nothing to fit someone else’s mold?

It’s those dark minutes, lying in the snow listening and half hoping for traffic, that were on his mind when he scribbled the first few lines of 1973’s Shotgun Willie, his first true outlaw country anthem, on the back of a “sanitary napkin” envelope in a hotel bathroom. “Mind farts,” his good friend Kristofferson bluntly offered. Nelson remained unvexed. “I thought of it more as clearing my throat,” Nelson said. That album contained what remain some of the most beloved songs in the canon of Willie—“Whiskey River,” “Slow Down Old World,” “Sad Songs and Waltzes”—and it set the stage for an album that would challenge an industry’s prejudicial notions, one that would earn Nelson overwhelming and long overdue respect not as a country artist but as an artist, period.

The song ”Red Headed Stranger,” written in the 1950s by Edith Lindeman Calisch and Carl Stutz, is the dark tale of a bereft cowboy, “wild in his sorrow, riding and hiding his pain,” who goes into a grief-stricken rage. It was a song Nelson used to play as a disk jockey on Fort Worth radio and it stayed in his head long after. In the spirit of fieldworker blues, gospel, country, and traditional Mexican songs that reverberated through the rows of Texas cotton Nelson picked as a child, it follows an ancient plot. It’s a murder ballad, a noir tune of damaged characters and fateful, human errors. When his own children were small, Nelson sang it to them as a lullaby.

On a long drive from Steamboat Springs, Colo. to Texas, the song got in his head again. As he sat behind the wheel, Nelson envisioned the Stranger’s song as part of a larger story, mapping out the narrative in chapters. In his telling, the Stranger of the song becomes a Preacher who discovers his wife in the arms of another man and kills them both (“And they died with their smiles on their faces”). Doomed to wander the countryside alone on his horse, he seeks a redemption that may never be realized. Nelson worked his old ballads into a roster of country standards that, he reckoned, would naturally inhabit the Preacher’s mind. Eddy Arnold’s “I Couldn’t Believe It Was True,” a brief, jaunty number, stands in for the moment when the Preacher discovers that his wife has forsaken him. In the next iteration of the recurring theme, “Time of the Preacher,” the recognition of loss sinks in: “And he cried like a baby/And he screamed like a panther.”

Deliberately spare arrangements echoed the Stranger’s existential loneliness. Relying mostly on guitar, piano, and drums, Nelson summoned a small crew of musicians in the studio—his sister, Bobbie Nelson, longtime drummer Paul English, Bucky Meadows, Mickey Raphael, Jody Payne. Little else was needed to evoke the sound of the Preacher’s violent ride, the relentless, loping, strumming gait: “Don’t fight him don’t spite him/Let’s wait till tomorrow/Maybe he’ll ride on again.” The horse in the studio was, of course, Trigger, the Martin guitar Nelson had customized in Nashville a few years earlier, Frankensteined with a pickup from his old Baldwin guitar and named after Roy Rogers’ television horse. Nelson heard Trigger “as a human sound, a sound close to my own voice.”

Musically, Nelson has always subverted plain, pure song with utter, starlit mystery. He had an uncanny ability to bend the listener’s perception of time. “I could put more emotion in my lyric if I phrased it in a more conversational, relaxed way,” he wrote in 1988. His vocal phrasings snake around the surfaces, altering its inflections, anticipating a beat or falling just behind it; his guitar appears to stretch and shorten the meter without ever breaking it.

As a single punched into a dusty jukebox, Fred Rose’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” is a beautifully if painful love song, the harmonies on the line “Only memories remain” landing with a little sting. Threaded into the Preacher’s story, it becomes the heart of the album. Like Nelson and Trigger lingering on certain phrasings, parsing missed chances and regrets, the Preacher and his black stallion haunt the canyons, retracing steps. He’s mindful that the love he lost is a place to which he can never return, but he can’t stop himself from trying to get back there.

Country music had always been one of the truest genres, gritty and realistic songs of broken hearts, the farm, the factory, the bottle. But until Red Headed Stranger, music critic Chet Flippo wrote in Texas Monthly, the genre had offered scant escapism and “almost no fantasy.” Nelson, for the first time, allowed country music to dream big and beautiful. Nelson converses with the genre’s roots but sends them into uncharted and previously forbidden territory, fusing his essential influences—the tragic brilliance of Hank Williams and the melodic expression of Django Reinhardt. His anti-heroic story has elements of Homeric myth, a moody, Sergio Leone sensibility, the devastating lyrical force of Cormac McCarthy, whose Border Trilogy Red Headed Stranger in many ways prefigures.

When he left Nashville for Austin in 1972, Nelson had gladly traded his jackets and ties for bandannas and jeans; he’d grown his own red hair long. And in casting himself as the title character of Red Headed Stranger, he had chosen for his story an essentially archaic thing, tough and worn and mythic; an incessant wanderer and broken spirit, at war with himself. The artist lying on the street in the snow.

You can have an appreciative listening of Red Headed Stranger as a clear, uncomplicated tale about manhood and morality and infidelity, about the characteristic lonesomeness of the cowboy drifter, about some bygone notion of Americana, as listeners and critics did in 1975, layering on desperado descriptions. It is possible in 2017, when interpretations still overwhelmingly shrink to the literal-minded, to return there too.

And yet that would be missing out on so much. Sure, by 1975, Nelson had weathered and been implicated in his own share of stormy relationships, allegedly standing on both sides of infidelity. But to dwell on a reading of Red Headed Stranger primarily as a tale of manhood and waywardness or as one entrenched in bygone notions of America feels dated, particularly if you are anywhere on the margins of that story. Women, empathetic listeners by nature and necessity, learn to be very good at imagining ourselves into narratives framed around the literal experiences of boys and men. And in Red Headed Stranger, the story that resonates loudest is not the most obvious one but a universal one, about what it means, in dark and thrilling ways, to follow your instincts when you have everything at stake and nothing to lose.

With Red Headed Stranger, arguably the biggest artistic gamble of his career, Nelson framed it as an album about creativity and risk, about bad decisions and lonesome paths, about learning to listen to instincts, and, moreover, about distinguishing instinct from impulse. If Shotgun Willie was Nelson’s newfound manifesto, Red Headed Stranger forged into mythic weirdness acknowledging that this is a kind of wandering that can never end. Such is the nature of the itinerant solitude and perpetual dissatisfaction of the artist—the life that the restless and relentlessly prolific Nelson chose for himself—on the road again.

As the album draws to a close, after searching in Denver dance halls and in strangers’ arms, the Preacher claims to have found some version of solace and maybe even love, if we can take him at his word. His declaration is followed by one of the album’s wordless instrumentals, quiet and beckoning as a campfire, as Mickey Raphael’s harmonica reverberates and fades out. The memory of the lyrics of the previous song linger like smoke: “I looked to the stars, tried all of the bars/And I’ve nearly gone up in smoke/Now my hand’s on the wheel/I’ve something that’s real/And I feel like I’m going home,” the Preacher-Stranger had just sung in “Hands on the Wheel.” It’s not clear, though, whether he’ll ever truly arrive, or if he’d let himself stay long.

Willie Nelson with LeeAnn Womack on “Baby, it’s Cold Outside”

Friday, November 17th, 2017
by:  Madison Vain

Not even a month after the release of her stellar, roots-based The Lonely, The Lonesome & the Gone, Grammy-winning singer Lee Ann Womack is back with new music. Today, EW is thrilled to premiere her holiday season duet with Willie Nelson covering “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

While the cut is well-known, the two country classicists update it with sounds of the Lonestar State, where each was raised. “It’s fun to take a standard song and figure out a way to make it your own,” Womack tells EW of their take. “The fact that Willie and I are both Texans and fans of Western swing made this treatment a no-brainer.”

She adds, “It also made it one of the most fun projects I’ve ever been a part of!”

Womack released her first Christmas record, The Season for Romance, in 2002, and says that teaming up with the Red Headed Stranger has been a goal all along. “I’ve always wanted to have a Christmas record with Willie,” she says, “and I’ve always wanted to record something that wasn’t just oozing with clichéd Christmas sounds. So I just let him know my idea and we went from there.”


The stars’ updated “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is now streaming above. The song was recorded as one of the new tracks on Amazon’s “All Is Bright” holiday playlist, which will begin streaming on Nov. 24.

This Day in Willie Nelson History: “Without a Song” certified platinum (11/14/1994)

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017


On November 14, 1994 Willie Nelson’s album, “Without a Song” was certified platinum

This album was originally released in 1983.

  1. Without a Song
  2. Once in a While
  3. Autumn Leaves
  4. I Can’t Believe to Tell You
  5. Harbor Lights
  6. Golden Earrings
  7. You’ll Never Know
  8. To Each HIs Own
  9. As Time Goes By
  10. Dreamer’s Holiday

Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, “Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On”

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

1. Move It On Over (Williams)
2. Mind Your Own Business (Williams)
3. Healing Hands Of Time (Nelson)
4. Can I Sleep In Your Arms (Cochran)
5. Send Me The Pillow You Dream On (Locklin)
6. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (Williams)
7. I’m Movin’ On (Snow)
8. Your Cheatin’ Heart (Williams)
9. My Tears Fall (Miller)
10. Cold, Cold Heart (Williams)
11. Mansion On The Hill (Williams and Rose)
12. Why Don’t You Love Me (Williams)

Willie Nelson: Teatro the Complete Sessions re-replease (10/27/2017)

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

1. Ou Es-Tu, Mon Amour
2. I never cared for you
3. Everywhere I Go
4. Darkness on the Face of the Earth
5. My Own Peculiar Way
6. These Lonely Nights
7. Home Motel
8. The Maker
9. I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye
10. I’ve Just Destroyed the World
11. Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
12. Three Days
13. I’ve Loved You All Over the World
14. Annie
by:  John Paul

Willie Nelson, EmmyLou Harris, Daniel Lanois, ‘The Maker’

Willie Nelson

Teatro: The Complete Sessions

(Light in the Attic)

Release Date: 27 Oct 2017

For the recording of what would become Teatro, Nelson and producer Daniel Lanois elected to take over an unused movie theatre in Oxnard, California. Aiming for what they conceived as a cinematic sound and feel, the empty theatre seemed as good a place as any to capture just the right atmosphere. Adding to this, they landed on recording the entirety of the album live amidst the red velvet seats of the Teatro. This rawness lends the recordings an urgency and an ever-present threat of going off the rails – words dropped, cues missed and flubbed notes captured for posterity – but also a relaxed, confident air that permeates the whole of the album (the jazz-indebted ballad “Home Motel” is particularly brilliant in its stark simplicity).

Newly reissued by the folks at Light in the Attic, TeatroThe Complete Sessions here is presented as both sound and vision, Wenders’ film accompanying the remastered recording, and seven previously unissued tracks. To watch the recording process is to fully inhabit the world in which the music of Teatro was created and captured. As the camera pans across the performers, you’re able to watch Emmylou Harris looking to Nelson for cues as to when she is to come in vocally. There’s a delicate uncertainty on her entrances, Nelson’s notoriously behind-the-beat style making true harmonic collaboration very nearly impossible. But she still gamely follows throughout, her eyes keyed in on Nelson as he loses himself in the song (“My Own Peculiar Way”, in particular, offers a prime example of just this).

Harris’ presence here adds another level of country royalty, herself having experienced renewed critical interest in the wake of her Lanois-produced Wrecking Ball. Able to harmonize with seemingly everyone with whom she works, she sounds particularly inspired when paired with Nelson, her voice gently seeping into the cracks of his iconic nasal twang. “I Never Cared For You”, a song that had been in the Nelson catalog for some time prior to its recording here, bristles with an immediacy and intimacy, the brushed snare insistently pushing the melody forward, Nelson and Harris intertwining their vocals with a subtle sophistication and Nelson’s own rhythmically dangerous guitar solo lending the track a heightened thrill in its potential to come fully undone.

Given Lanois’ involvement in Harris’ Wrecking Ball, he proves to be a particularly inspired choice to capture what can be seen as the umpteenth phase of Nelson’s career, one built on knowing collaborations that have continued to the present day. Indeed, the one-two pairing of Spirit and Teatro seem to have rejuvenated interest not only in Nelson but Nelson’s interest in the music he was capable of producing. Rather than resting on his laurels – something he no doubt would’ve been more than entitled to by the time the ’90s rolled around – he once more proved himself to be a vital creative force. Just listen to the emotional tenderness with which he and Harris sing “Everywhere I Go” or the shit-kicking blues that underscores “Darkness on the Face of the Earth”. The latter in particular is a savvy choice, going all way back to his 1962 debut, And Then I Wrote, showing the continued relevance of both Nelson the writer and Nelson the performer.

Read entire article here.

New music from Austin Artists, Willie Nelson and the Boys

Monday, November 6th, 2017

1. Move It On Over (Williams)
2. Mind Your Own Business (Williams)
3. Healing Hands Of Time (Nelson)
4. Can I Sleep In Your Arms (Cochran)
5. Send Me The Pillow You Dream On (Locklin)
6. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (Williams)
7. I’m Movin’ On (Snow)
8. Your Cheatin’ Heart (Williams)
9. My Tears Fall (Miller)
10. Cold, Cold Heart (Williams)
11. Mansion On The Hill (Williams and Rose)
12. Why Don’t You Love Me (Williams)
by:  Peter Blackstock

Autumn has brought the usual onslaught of new releases from Austin musical artists, both high-profile and under-the-radar. Here’s a look at some of our favorites so far.

Willie, Lukas & Micah Nelson, “Willie and the Boys: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2” (Legacy). The first volume in this loosely structured “Willie’s Stash” series of archival recordings, 2014’s “December Day,” featured siblings Willie & Bobbie Nelson on songs that placed Bobbie’s piano playing front-and-center with Willie’s singing. Now comes another family affair, as Willie’s youngest sons Lukas and Micah join him for a dozen tracks that emphasize their vocal interplay.

Initially recorded at Pedernales Recording Studio in Spicewood as part of the sessions for Willie’s 2011 “Heroes” album with producer Buddy Cannon, these tracks featured a cast of Austin and Nashville musicians backing Willie and Lukas, with Micah’s vocals added later. All three of them are fine singers; if Willie remains the most distinctive, Lukas isn’t far off, often sounding eerily like a younger version of his father. Micah’s voice is slightly less twangy and more plainspoken, but pleasant and effective in its own way.

When they join in three-part harmony, there’s the kind of natural magic that has long been ingrained in classic country music history, dating back to the Carter Family and beyond. It’s fitting, then, that almost all the material here is decades old, coming mostly from the pens of four Hanks: Williams, Cochran, Locklin and Snow.

They might sound best of all on “Healing Hands of Time,” the lone Willie original in the batch. As the lead vocal passes from Willie to Lukas to Micah, it’s as if those hands of time are being passed into the future, more than a half-century after the song was written. Live in Austin: Willie Nelson & Family, along with Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, play Dec. 29-31 at ACL Live

photo:  Greg Giannukos

Read article here.

Legend: The Best of Willie Nelson

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Track listing

  1. “On the Road Again”
  2. “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” (w/ Julio Iglesias)
  3. “Crazy”
  4. “City of New Orleans”
  5. “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”
  6. “Always on My Mind”
  7. “Me and Paul”
  8. “Good Hearted Woman” (w/ Waylon Jennings)
  9. “Night Life”
  10. “Georgia on My Mind”
  11. “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”
  12. “Pancho and Lefty” (w/ Merle Haggard)
  13. “Funny How Time Slips Away”
  14. “Hello Walls”
  15. “Highwayman” (w/ Johnny Cash ; Kris Kristoferson ; Waylon Jennings)
  16. “Blue Skies”
  17. “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (w/ Waylon Jennings)
  18. “Whiskey River” (Live, April 1978)
  19. “Seven Spanish Angels” (w/ Ray Charles)
  20. “Bloody Mary Morning”

Neil Young with Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, new album, “The Visitor”

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Neil Young has teamed up with his recent backing band Promise of the Real, the group led by Willie Nelson‘s son Lukas, to record a new studio album titled The Visitor, which will be released as a CD and a digital download on December 1 and as a vinyl LP on January 5, 2018. The 10-track collection is available for pre-order now.

Young is giving fans a preview of the record by posting the lead track, “Already Great,” on his official YouTube channel. The song, a mid-tempo rocker featuring with fuzz guitar and off-kilter piano, celebrates the U.S. while appearing to take a dig at President Donald Trump and his slogan “Make America Great Again.”

“I’m Canadian by the way, and I love the U.S.A.,” sings Neil. “I love this way of life, the freedom to act and the freedom to say/ Already great, you’re already great / You’re the promised land, you’re the helping hand.”

“Already Great” is available for purchase now as a digital single. If you pre-order The Visitor, you instantly receive a free download of the song.

The album also includes “Children of Destiny,” a patriotic protest anthem that premiered just before July 4 of this year.

The Visitor is the third album Young has recorded with Promise of the Real, following the 2015 studio effort The Monsanto Years and the 2016 two-disc live album Earth.

Here is the full track list of The Visitor:

“Already Great”
“Fly by Night Deal”
“Almost Always”
“Stand Tall”
“Change of Heart”
“Diggin’ a Hole”
“Children of Destiny”
“When Bad Got Good”

WIllie Nelson with Waylon Jennings “Take it to the Limit”

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

  • “No Love at All” (Johnny Christopher, Wayne Carson Thompson)
  • “Why Do I Have to Choose” (Willie Nelson)
  • “Why Baby Why” (Darrell Edwards, George Jones)
  • “We Had It All” (Donnie Fritts, Troy Seals)
  • “Take It to the Limit” (Randy Meisner, Glenn Frey, Don Henley)
  • “Homeward Bound” (Paul Simon)
  • “Blackjack County Chain” (Red Lane)
  • “‘Til I Gain Control Again” (Rodney Crowell)
  • “Old Friends” (Roger Miller)
  • “Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone)” (David Allan Coe)
  • Producer: Chips Moman


Willie Nelson, “What Was it You Wanted”, on Bob Dylan – 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration (2014)

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Columbia Records and Legacy Recording, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release Bob Dylan – The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration – Deluxe Edition in three configurations  (2CDs; 2DVDs, and BlueRay Disc) on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Struck from a new High Definition video master with remastered audio, The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration – Deluxe Edition makes this historic all-star musical event available for the first time on DVD and Blu-ray.

The 2DVD and Blu-ray versions of The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration – Deluxe Edition include 40 minutes of previously unreleased material including behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage, interviews and more.

The 2CD audio edition premieres two previously unreleased recordings from the concert’s sound check: Sinéad O’Connor singing “I Believe In You” and Eric Clapton’s interpretation of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.”

The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration – Deluxe Edition includes new notes by pop music historian Bill Flanagan.

On October 16, 1992, New York City’s hottest concert ticket was the live gathering of musical giants, legends and archetypes who’d come to Madison Square Garden to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s first Columbia Records album and play a selection of Dylan songs—from culturally iconic (John Mellencamp’s no-nonsense “Like A Rolling Stone”) to bootleg obscure (Lou Reed’s acerbic take on “Foot of Pride”)—that had moved and inspired them over the decades.

The four hour show, performed for a sold-out audience of more than 18,000 fans and live-cast around the world, brought together an unprecedented roster of artists and icons including Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Lou Reed, The Clancy Brothers, Richie Havens, Johnny Winter, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, Chrissie Hynde, The O’Jays, Eddie Vedder, Sinéad O’Connor, Tracy Chapman, George Harrison (then making his first US concert appearance in 18 years) and more. Providing musical backing throughout the show was an ensemble dream team featuring three members of Booker T. & The M.G.’s, G.E. Smith on guitar with Jim Keltner and Anton Fig on drums.

Dubbed “Bobfest” on stage by a jubilant Neil Young, the 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration reached a transcendent crescendo with an unforgettable performance and all-star jam featuring the evening’s honoree.

Viewed anew from a 20-year perspective, Bob Dylan – The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration – Deluxe Edition is a remarkable testament to the enduring legacy and ongoing musical influence of Bob Dylan. That valedictory gathering from more than 20 years ago proved to be a mid-career retrospective of a recording artist and performer who continues to inform and transform the cultural landscape.

The Bob Dylan – The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration – Deluxe Edition is the first Dylan title to follow the historic November 5 release of Bob Dylan Complete Album Collection Vol. One, a colossal library box housing the artist’s official Columbia Records album canon, from 1962’s Bob Dylan through 2012’s Tempest


Bob Dylan – The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration – Deluxe Edition

Like A Rolling Stone – John Mellencamp
Blowin’ In The Wind – Stevie Wonder
Foot Of Pride – Lou Reed
Masters Of War – Eddie Vedder/Mike McCready
The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Tracy Chapman
It Ain’t Me Babe – June Carter Cash/Johnny Cash
What Was It You Wanted – Willie Nelson
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight – Kris Kristofferson
Highway 61 Revisited – Johnny Winter
Seven Days – Ron Wood
Just Like A Woman – Richie Havens
When The Ship Comes in – The Clancy Brothers and Robbie O’Connell with special guest Tommy Makem
War – Sinead O’Connor
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues – Neil Young
All Along The Watchtower – Neil Young
I Shall Be Released – Chrissie Hynde
Love Minus Zero, No Limit – Eric Clapton (Track Only Available on DVD/Blu-Ray Format)
Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Eric Clapton
Emotionally Yours – The O’Jays
When I Paint My Masterpiece – The Band
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – Mary Chapin Carpenter/Rosanne Cash/Shawn Colvin
Absolutely Sweet Marie – George Harrison
License To Kill – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Mr Tambourine Man – Roger McGuinn
It’s Alright, Ma – Bob Dylan
My Back Pages – Bob Dylan/Roger McGuinn/Tom Petty/Neil Young/Eric Clapton/George Harrison
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Everyone
Girl Of The North Country – Bob Dylan

DVD Bonus Tracks:
Leopard-Skin Pill-box Hat – John Mellencamp
Boots Of Spanish Leather – Nancy Griffith with Carolyn Hester
Gotta Serve Somebody – Booker T. & The M.G.’s

DVD Bonus Features:  Behind The Scenes (40 minutes of previously unreleased rehearsal footage, interviews and more)

CD Audio bonus tracks:  Sinéad O’Connor – I Believe In You (from sound check – previously unreleased)
Eric Clapton – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright (from sound check – previously unreleased)

Rest in Peace, Fats Domino (2/26/1928 – 10/24/2017)

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Willie Nelson has recorded “I Hear You Knockin’” for the album, Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino, due for a Sept. 25 release on Vanguard Records. The double-disc set will also feature Elton John (“Blueberry Hill”), Paul McCartney (“I Want to Walk You Home”) and Tom Petty (“I’m Walkin’”), as well as Robert Plant, B.B. King, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones, Bonnie Raitt and many more. The project will help raise funds for musical instruments that will be donated to public schools in New Orleans, Domino’s hometown.

This day in Willie Nelson history: “American Classic” album (October 25, 2009)

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

On October 25, 2009, Willie Nelson released, “American Classic” album, on Blue Note Records.

Track List:

  • The Nearness of You
  • Fly Me to the Moon
  • Come Rain or Come Shine
  • If I Had You (with Diana Krall)
  • Ain’t Misbehaving
  • I Miss You So
  • Because of You
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside (with Norah Jones)
  • Angel Eyes
  • On the Street Where You Live
  • Since I Fell For You
  • You Were Always on My Mind

Willie Nelson and his sons – new album

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

For Willie Nelson, making music – and making radio – is a family affair.

On his new album, Willie Nelson and the Boys, the second installment in his Willie’s Stash series, the 84-year-old legend teams with sons Lukas and Micah to tackle 12 country classics. Willie’s older sister Bobbie Nelson was featured on the first volume of Willie’s Stash, December Day in 2014.

To celebrate the Oct. 20 release of the Willie Nelson and the Boys, Willie’s own SiriusXM channel – Willie’s Roadhouse – will feature an exclusive album premiere special with his daughter Paula Nelson, a host on both Willie’s Roadhouse (Ch. 59) and Outlaw Country (Ch. 60).

Listeners will hear the full album in its entirety, along with commentary from Willie, Lukas and Micah Nelson. Both Lukas and Micah also have their own thriving careers – Lukas with his band Promise Of The Real and Micah recording and performing under the alias Particle Kid. Both Nelson sons, along with POTR, have also backed Neil Young on albums and tours in recent years.

Willie first announced the new album live on Willie’s Roadhouse last month, during a broadcast of the annual Farm Aid concert in Burgettstown, PA. He also premiered the first song, a cover of Hank Williams’ Move It On Over.

“Well, the boys and I – Lukas and Micah – got together with Buddy Cannon and cut a bunch of good country songs,” he told Willie Roadhouse host Dallas Wayne. “I can’t wait for it to come out. I think Oct. 20 is the release date. Oh, yeah, well this is a song I’ve been doing for years, an old Hank Williams classic, and I got the boys to do it with me, and I think it turned out pretty good.”

Willie Nelson and the Boys exclusive album premiere special will air at the following times:

  • Friday, Oct. 27 at 12am & 12pm ET



Willie Nelson sings the songs of Cindy Walker

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Release date: March 14, 2006

Bubbles in My Beer
Not That I Care
Take Me In Your Arms and Hold Me
Don’t be Ashamed of your Age
You Don’t Know Me
Sugar Moon
I Don’t Care
Cherokee Maiden
The Warm Red Wine
Miss Molly
Dusty Skies
It’s All Your Fault
I Was Just Walkin’ Out The Door

Ms. Walker pronounces Mr. Nelson’s latest CD “wonderful.” While she was not directly involved, the disc does feature a number of her peers. The fiddler Johnny Gimble, credited as session leader, played with Wills’s band for many years, in addition to frequent stints with Mr. Nelson. Fred Foster is a close friend of Ms. Walker’s who produced Roy Orbison’s hit version of her “Dream Baby,” as well as her sole LP, the 1964 “Words and Music.” His arrangements on “Songs of Cindy Walker,” which include backing vocals by the Jordanaires, are retro but clean-lined, with a modern use of space.

Cindy Walker
by Will Hermes
March 13, 2006

At this point, Willie Nelson is a national monument. One of country music’s most fertile songwriters, tireless performers and distinctive vocal interpreters, he is also a longtime ambassador between red and blue states of mind; he has been pals with presidents, allegedly smoked marijuana on the White House roof (and just about everywhere else), founded Farm Aid to assist family farms and recently launched his own biodiesel fuel company.

And Mr. Nelson has made dozens of records and this year he’s on a roll. In addition to campaigning for hurricane relief and the usual endless touring, he has released ” in light of the media attention surrounding the hit film “Brokeback Mountain” a touching version of Ned Sublette’s gay cowboy homage “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each Other)” as an exclusive single on iTunes. And this month, Mr. Nelson, 72, will release a record of pop and country classics titled “Songs of Cindy Walker.”

So much for the lethargy of pot smokers.

In addition to being a tremendously likable, laid-back set of classics with jaunty, western swing-flavored arrangements by the veteran Nashville producer Fred Foster, “Songs of Cindy Walker” spotlights another monument of American music, one who might have been forgotten had she ever been properly known in the first place. Ms. Walker, who lives and works in the small East Texas town of Mexia, is a prolific songwriter whose works have been covered by Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Ernest Tubb, Roy Orbison and many others. Her tunes ” including “You Don’t Know Me,” “Dream Baby,” “In the Misty Moonlight,” “I Don’t Care” made regular appearances on the top 10 charts beginning in the 1940’s and are still covered today.

With hundreds of recorded songs to her credit, she is known as the dean of Texas songwriting and is generally considered the foremost female composer in country music history; in fact, the late Harlan Howard called her “the greatest living songwriter of country music” and he had some claim to that title himself.

“Her work as a writer, spanning so many decades, and still getting things cut, is unparalleled,” said Eddie Stubbs, country music historian and announcer for the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts on WSM-AM in Nashville. “A lot of the songs she wrote have become standards, although people may not know Cindy Walker wrote them.”

A good example of her direct, finely chiseled art is “You Don’t Know Me.” A hit for Eddy Arnold in 1956, Ray Charles in 1962 and Mickey Gilley in 1981, it was re-recorded by Mr. Charles with Norah Jones for 2004’s best-selling “Genius Loves Company,” and is the lead single for Mr. Nelson’s record. It telegraphs the silent longing of a man for a female friend:

You give your hand to me and then you say hello
And I can hardly speak my heart is beating so
And anyone could tell you think you know me well
But you don’t know me.

Some of Ms. Walker’s best-known songs — “Miss Molly,” “Cherokee Maiden,” “Sugar Moon” â” were written for Bob Wills, a fellow East Texan and master of the country-jazz hybrid known as western swing. In fact, she wrote more than 50 songs for Mr. Wills, the Texas Playboys bandleader.

“Wills was a big hero of mine,” Mr. Nelson said by telephone from his tour bus before a show near Fresno, Calif. “And Cindy is from Mexia, Tex., which is only a few miles from Abbott, where I was born and grew up. I didn’t know her personally in those days, but I was well familiar with her writing. I told her years ago I wanted to do an album of her songs; she’d probably given up on me.”

She hadn’t, but she was hardly holding her breath ” she was too busy writing. Ms. Walker began writing songs when she was around 12, and until a recent stretch of ill health, she never stopped. Each morning, she woke up before dawn, poured herself some black coffee, headed upstairs to her little studio, sat down at her pink-trimmed Royal typewriter (which graces the cover of Mr. Nelson’s CD) and set to work.

“Songwriting is all I ever did, love,” Ms. Walker said in an interview last month from her home. “I still can’t cook, to this day!”

She has been in the music game for a while. As a young woman visiting Los Angeles in 1940 with her father, Aubrey (a cotton buyer), and mother, Oree, she talked her way into what was the Crosby building on Sunset Strip in an attempt to show her suitcase of songs to Bing. When she got an on-the-spot audition with his brother, Larry Crosby, she ran to get Oree, her lifelong piano accompanist.

“Mama said: ‘Are you crazy, girl? Don’t you know I’m not goin’ anywhere with my hair not fixed? It’s up in rollers!’ And I said, ‘I don’t care what it’s in ” You c’mon with me!’ ” With Oree at the piano, she sang a song called “Lone Star Trail,” which Crosby recorded later that year. It was her first sale.

Others quickly followed, and Ms. Walker was so successful that she remained in Los Angeles with Oree when her father’s business in town was done. As a handsome blonde with singing and dancing talent (she had performed for years in Texas), she soon had her own recording contract and was a pioneer in the proto-music videos called “soundies.” She shows a husky, jazzy and rather elegant voice on her sole hit as a singer, “When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again” (not her composition, surprisingly). But songwriting was her calling, and she soon abandoned performing, returning to Texas in the mid-1950’s to be near family.

And there she stayed, except for regular trips to Nashville, New York and Los Angeles to sell her songs. Like a honky-tonk Marianne Moore, she lived most of her life with her mother, who died in 1991, and has led a very private life, the details of which remain sketchy, which seems to suit her fine. While most biographers note she has never married, Ms. Walker claims she did marry once. “But it was a short-lived marriage,” she said. “A very short-lived marriage.” She closes discussion on the topic with a long, hearty chuckle.

In the end, songs seem to be her preferred mode of expression. She quotes her own lyrics often during a conversation. After finding out about a death in a reporter’s family, she insists he hear Arnold’s recording of her poignant cowboy eulogy “Jim, I Wore a Tie Today,” even offering Arnold’s home phone number to request a copy.

The CD recalls “Stardust,” Mr. Nelson’s 1978 Tin Pan Alley set, also a career high point. But while the singer’s voice may be a tad less steady here, the material lies closer to his roots, the mix of Texas country, blues and jazz, of ballads and uptempo romps, a mirror of his impish, hybrid-minded character. It may in fact be the quintessential Willie Nelson album.

This disc aside — and not counting the hard-to-find “Words and Music” and a recent tribute set by the former Wills vocalist Leon Rausch — there are no proper documents of the breadth of Ms. Walker’s achievement. Fans might trawl eBay for a gray-market transcription of a seven-hour Cindy Walker radio special, broadcast in 1997 on the California freeform radio station KFJC. Or they might try assembling an MP3 playlist from tracks available on digital music services like iTunes or eMusic.

But they’ll have to play catch-up with a writer whose catalog is said to number over 500 songs and counting. And does Ms. Walker intend to return to writing when her health permits? “I sure do hope so, love,” she said. “I sure do hope so.”

Willie Nelson with Margo Price on new album, “American Made”

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

1. Don’t Say It
2. Weakness
3. A Little Pain
4. Learning to Lose (featuring Willie Nelson)
5. Pay Gap
6. Nowhere Fast
7. Cocaine Cowboys
8. Wild Women
9. Heart of American
10. Do Right By Me
11. Loner
12. All American Made

Margo Price, All American Made

Price takes the vivid storytelling and rootsy twang of last year’s debut, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, to new heights on her second LP, a lush collection of tunes tackling subjects from the rural working class (“Heart of America”) to gender discrimination (“Pay Gap”). Don’t miss the stripped-down “Learning to Lose,” which channels ennui and hardship — with a world-weary assist from country hero Willie Nelson. —E.R.B.

In addition to Willie, Margo’s new album features her touring band — Kevin Black (bass), Jamie Davis (electric guitar), Micah Hulscher (piano), Jeremy Ivey (acoustic guitar/bass/harmonica), Dillon Napier (drums), and Luke Schneider (pedal steel). Like her debut, it was produced by Matt Ross-Spang and Alex Munoz, with co-production from Margo and her bandmate Jeremy Ivey. The album also has backing vocals by gospel group The McCrary Sisters. The album came out October 20 via Third Man Records.