Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Come Early Morning” soundtrack (10/31/06)

Friday, October 31st, 2014


On November 10, 2006, the Ashley Judd movie “Come Early Morning” debuts in theaters. The soundtrack features Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Eddy Raven, Don Gibson, Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan, Jim Chesnut, Emmylou Harris and Billy Joe Shaver.

Nov 10, 2006

1. Killing the Blues – The Malcolm Holcombe Group
2. End of the Wine – Misty Morgan/Jack Blanchard
3. Going to See Cal
4. The Way I Am – Merle Haggard
5. Don’t Knock – Taylor Grocery Band
6. An Invitation and a Kiss
7. Silver Wings – Merle Haggard
8. Frog Leg Champ
9. I Got Mexico – Eddy Raven
10. Goodnight Lucy
11. Oh Lonesome Me – Don Gibson
12. Movin’ Out, Movin’ Up and Movin’ On – Troy Cook Jr./The Long Haul Band
13. Argument in the Parking Lot
14. I’m Going Nowhere – Troy Cook Jr./The Long Haul Band
15. What’s Done Is Done – Jeannie Max Lane
16. Owen Is Leaving
17. Jesus on the Main Line – Taylor Grocery Band
18. Gaining Strength
19. Get Back to Loving Me – Jim Chestnut
20. Daddy and Daughter
21. Leavin’ Ain’t the Only Way to Go – Eric James Jochmans
22. Somebody Pick Up My Pieces – Willie Nelson/Emmylou Harris
23. Lucy is Free
24. Old Chuck of Coal – Billy Joe Shaver
25. It Anybody Asks You (Callin’) – Shannon Boshears

Willie and Bobbie Nelson, “December Day”

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Austin Music Source
By Peter Blackstock


Coming Dec. 2 from Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson on Legacy Recordings is “December Day: Willie’s Stash Vol. 1,” a collection of 18 new recordings of old favorites by the eightysomething siblings and longtime bandmates.

Billed under the name Willie Nelson & Sister Bobbie, the set features mostly Nelson originals such as “Permanently Lonely,” “Who’ll Buy My Memories” and the title track (in a medley with “Summer of Roses”), plus a handful of classics from the songbooks of Irving Berlin, Django Reinhardt and Al Jolson.

Though focusing on the guitar and piano interplay of Willie and Bobbie, the set also features contributions from members of their Family band — including the late Bee Spears, who laid down the bass tracks for “What’ll I Do” during his final session with Willie before his death in 2011.

Longtime Family Band harmonica player Mickey Raphael also is on the album, for which he penned the liner notes as well. “When it comes to a brother-sister collaboration with the longevity of Willie and Bobbie, there is beauty in keeping things simple,” Raphael writes. “‘Less is more’ is the underlying theme.”

The album was recorded by Steve Chadie at Willie’s Pedernales Recording Studio outside of Austin, with Buddy Cannon producing.

“December Day” is the first installment of a new “Willie’s Stash” archival series curated by Nelson that Legacy says “will present a variety of releases … culled from decades of recording and touring.

Read about other new releases:

“December Day”, by Willie Nelson, Bobbie Nelson

Monday, October 27th, 2014


Willie Nelson and his sister, Bobbie Nelson, will release a new collaborative album, December Day: Willie’s Stash Vol. 1, on Tuesday, December 2.  The project features the siblings performing new versions of songs from Willie’s catalog as well as covers of American standards from Al Jolson and Irving Berlin.

Bobbie has performed in Willie’s band since 1973. Look for more installments in the Willie’s Stash series soon.

Here is the track listing for December Day: Willie’s Stash Vol. 1:

“Alexander’s Ragtime Band”
“Permanently Lonely”
“What’ll I Do”
“Summer of Roses”/”December Day”
“Mona Lisa”
“I Don’t Know Where I Am Today”
“Who’ll Buy My Memories”
“The Anniversary Song”
“Laws of Nature”
“I Let My Mind Wander”
“Is the Better Part Over”
“My Own Peculiar Way”
“Sad Songs and Waltzes”
“Ou-es tu, mon amour”/”I Never Cared for You”

Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, ‘Just Breathe’

Monday, October 27th, 2014

This beautiful duet of Willie and Lukas Nelson is included in Willie Nelson’s “Heroes” album.


Willie Nelson – Heroes tracklist:

1. “A Horse Called Music”Merle Haggard & Lukas Nelson
2. “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die”Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson
3. “That’s All There Is To This Song”
4. “No Place To Fly”Lukas Nelson
5. “Every Time He Drinks He Thinks Of Her” Lukas Nelson
6. “Come On Up To The House”Lukas Nelson & Sheryl Crow
7. “Hero”Billy Joe Shaver, Jamey Johnson
8. “My Window Faces The South”Lukas Nelson
9. “The Sound Of Your Memory”Lukas Nelson
10. “Cold War With You”Lukas Nelson & Ray Price
11. “Just Breathe”Lukas Nelson
12. “My Home In San Antone”Lukas Nelson
13. “Come On Back Jesus”Lukas Nelson & Micah Nelson
14. “The Scientist”

Bobbie Nelson, on piano (Michael Corcoran interview)

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

by: Michael Corcoran

She had done whatever it took to raise three sons alone after their father died in an automobile accident in 1961. She demonstrated organs for Hammond, taught at J.R. Reed Music on Congress Avenue and at night played elegant solo piano at local lounges and restaurants. But what Bobbie Nelson really hungered for, especially after her boys had grown up and moved out by the early 1970s, was to play music again with her brother Willie. The pair had forged an instinctive instrumental bond since she was 6 and Willie was 4 and their grandparents showed them the chords to “The Great Speckled Bird.”

Then one day in early 1973, Bobbie got a call from “Hughtie,” her name for Willie, summoning her to New York to play piano on his gospel album The Troublemaker. Willie had just signed a deal with Atlantic Records that gave him the creative control, including choice of session players, that had been denied him in Nashville. It was a new start for Willie, who had just moved to Austin, where Bobbie had beat him by a few years. So at age 42, empty-nester Bobbie Nelson took her very first airplane flight and embarked on a glorious musical journey that is still en route. Willie and ” Sister Bobbie,” as she’s known in the extended Nelson family, have been musical partners for an incredible 77 years.

The culmination of all this musical family love is the upcoming LP December Day, coming out Dec. 2. Although the “Vol. 1” of the “Willie Stash” series of archival recordings features the full band, included bassist Bee Spears who passed away in 2011, the cover credit goes to Willie & Bobbie. She’s the one who’s always there when he wants to jam.

watch the video here:

ABOUT THE VIDEO: 17 years ago, I was channel-surfing and came across a segment on the Austin Music Network featuring Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie playing guitar and piano in a living room studio. The show was “Rogers & Hammerhead,” hosted by Freddy Powers and Bill McDavid and I was completely blown away by the musicianship and warmth of this brother and sister, then 64 and 67 years old. Anyway, I finally tracked down the tape at the Wittliff Collection at Texas State, and they transferred it to digital, so here’s a sample of that magical hour. First song is “She Is Gone,” followed by “It’s a Dream Come True,” both from the great 1996 LP Spirit. Directed by Ingrid Weigand. Used by permission of Freddy and Catherine Powers. Edit master Willie & Bobbie Nelson Rogers & Hammerhead, Freddy Powers Collection, Southwestern Writers Collection / Texas State University.” – Michael Corcoran

“There’s just no way to explain how lucky I am to have a good musician in the family,” Willie Nelson told me in 2007, from the tour bus he shares with his sister. “Whenever I’ve needed a piano player, I’ve had Sister Bobbie right there… whenever our band plays, she’s the best musician on the stage. While Brother Willie has become a modern folk hero, as instantly recognizable as anyone on the planet, Sister Bobbie has happily remained in the shadow, except for the one spotlight turn – usually “Down Yonder” from “Red-Headed Stranger” – she gets at each Willie Nelson and the Family concert.

“I’ve always been very shy,” said Bobbie, who always wears a cowboy hat onstage, but never off. “I sang a little when we were kids, mostly in church. But Willie had such a beautiful voice. I’d always tell him, ‘you sing, Willie, and I’ll play the piano.’” Bobbie didn’t really do many interviews until 2007 when she gingerly stepped out of the background to promote her first solo album, Audiobiography, put out by Randall Jamail. I first met with her at the Pedernales recording studio owned by her son Freddy Fletcher and then we followed up the next week at Farm Aid on Randall’s Island in New York City. She’s got a smile bright as Willie’s, but is much more soft spoken. “I’ve always expressed myself best through music,” she said. “I remember when I got my first piano. I thought, ‘I’ll never be lonely again.’” Not that there weren’t painfully trying times in the devout Christian’s life. She lost two of her three sons, Michael to leukemia and Randy in a car crash, in a six-month period in 1989. “Me and my three boys grew up together, and we had so much fun … and then to lose two of your three babies, well, it’s something you never get over,” Bobbie said. “It taught me to never take life for granted.” Bobbie turns 84 on New Year’s Day. Willie is 81

. Bobbie and Willie, Abbott 1949.

“It’s just the most wonderful therapy in the world to play with Willie,” she said, adding that sometimes when she’s away from her brother for more than a couple weeks, she gets a cold and feels worn down. Vitamin W always gets her right. Willie and Bobbie ride together on the tour bus, where Bobbie slides a keyboard from the bottom of an adjoining bunk and Willie sits there with his famous battered Trigger and they play as Honeysuckle Rose V hurtles through the deep darkness between gigs. Some nights they don’t quit until they play every gospel song they know.

From church to teenage honky tonk bands to 40 plus years in Willie Nelson and Family, the brother and sister have played music together many more days and nights than they haven’t. Bobbie Lee, born on the first day of 1931, and Willie Hugh, born April 30, 1933, were children of the Depression. Their biological parents were a pair of married teenagers who had recently moved from Arkansas to Abbott, a farming community about 70 miles south of Dallas. But Bobbie and Willie were raised by their paternal grandparents, whom they called Mama and Daddy.

“Daddy Nelson was the sweetest person I’ve ever known,” Bobbie said. “He had the most gorgeous tenor voice.” A proficient player of stringed instruments, Daddy Nelson taught Willie how to play guitar, while Mama Nelson, who lived to be in her 90s, showed Bobbie how to play piano. “It was just so amazing to us that I could play one part and Willie could play another and together we had a song. We’d look at each other and our eyes would light up.”

After Daddy Nelson died when Willie was 7 and Bobbie was 9, the distraught brother and sister took to tunes, both spiritual and secular, to soothe their sorrow. “Playing music made us realize that there was something bigger out there, something more than human life,” she said. They played together for hours every day, and on Sundays they played and sang at the Abbott Methodist Church (which Willie bought in July 2006 when he heard prospective buyers had planned to move it to another town). Bobbie, who could read music at age 6, also played at other churches in the area.

When she was 16, she met 21-year-old ex-GI Bud Fletcher at a revival at Vaughn Methodist Church, near Hillsboro. The couple married a few months later, while Bobbie was a senior at Abbott High. “I’d kiss my husband goodbye every morning then get on the school bus,” she recalled. Seeing so much talent in his new bride and her brother, Fletcher organized a western swing dance band around them – Bud Fletcher and the Texans. Because they played in Czech-centric towns of West and Ennis, they also played polka in the mix. A non-musician in the beginning, Fletcher took on the role of emcee, adding a Bob Willsian “Ah-HA” to that cowboy jazz and pumping up the crowd. He eventually learned to play bass fiddle and then the drums. “Bud was one of those outgoing guys who could talk to anyone,” Bobbie said. “And he was a fabulous dancer.”

Bobbie in the '60s.

Bobbie became pregnant with Randy when she was 19; by age 23 she had three sons and was still playing in her husband’s band. But too many nights in a roadhouse were wearing Fletcher down. “Bud was a great person and we loved each other very much, but he was having a rough time,” she said. “That’s why, to this day, I hate alcohol. I’m so glad Willie doesn’t drink anymore.” The young parents of three small boys also had very little money. In 1955, Bud’s parents went to court to get custody of Randy, Michael and Freddy and won. “Bud’s father was the road commissioner of Hill County and had a lot of influence,” Bobbie said. “They tried to portray me as unfit because I played honky tonk piano. It just broke my heart.”

Bobbie said she had a nervous breakdown after losing her children. “The Fletchers hated the Nelsons,” said Freddy Fletcher. “They looked down on musicians and blamed my mother for getting my father involved, when in reality it was his idea to start a band.” After she gave up the nightlife, took bookkeeping courses and got a job with the Hammond organ company in Fort Worth, Bobbie got her sons back after a year with their grandparents.

She later divorced Fletcher and remarried, but that new union ended in divorce after a few years, as did her third and final marriage in the late 1960s. While Bobbie’s life revolved around her three sons, Willie had hit the jackpot as a Nashville songwriter. In 1961, three of his compositions were big country hits: “Hello Walls” by Faron Young, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline and “Funny How Time Slips Away” by Billy Walker. “I was just so proud of him,” Bobbie said. “People got tired of hearing me say ‘my brother Willie wrote that one’ whenever one of his songs came on the radio.”

Bobbie moved to Austin from Fort Worth in 1965. She came to town to demonstrate a Hammond organ for the El Chico restaurant, set to open at the spanking new Hancock Center, and the owners were so impressed by her interpretations of such standards as Stardust” and “Laura,” as well as her boogie-woogie and swing numbers, they offered Bobbie a job playing nightly. She later opened the Chariot Inn in North Austin and played regularly at the Lakeway Inn. “When Willie called me (in 1973) to come to New York, I was ready,” Bobbie said. “I was always playing the piano, using music to survive, so I never got rusty.”


Although Willie and producer Arif Mardin had blocked out five days at Atlantic studio that year, Bobbie was told she’d be needed only the first day, when The Troublemaker was knocked out in ten hours. The next day, Willie was back with his band to record what would become Shotgun Willie and when she popped in to say goodbye, he asked Bobbie to stick around to play some more piano. He was exploring a new musical direction and needed the comfort of Sister Bobbie, who’s been in the band ever since. Willie said there’s an instinctive connection between him and his sister that he doesn’t feel with any other musician.

“She knows what I’m going to do even before I do sometimes,” he said with a laugh. In a recently unearthed access TV appearance (above), Willie and Bobbie played with their backs to each other and were still able follow subtle cues. “I’m just always listening to what Willie’s doing,” she said. “He shows me the way.” In 1976, Willie bought Bobbie an $85,000 Bosendorfer grand piano like the one she played on Red Headed Stranger. But when IRS agents seized Willie’s property in 1990 to help satisfy a $16.7 million tax lien, Bobbie’s piano was among the Pedernales studio contents auctioned off.

Luckily, the winning bid was from friends of Willie, who gave the Bosendorfer back to Bobbie. It’s the piano she plays so exquisitely on Decoration Day and all of Willie’s records. The brother and sister have never had an argument, Bobbie said, even after she was awakened by police in Louisiana in September 2006 and charged, with Willie and three others, with possession of a pound and a half of marijuana and three ounces of psychedelic mushrooms. The prim and proper churchgoer has never used drugs, but since they were found on the bus she was traveling in, Bobbie was cited with the others.

Rather than vitriol from being awakened in such a way, Bobbie’s reaction was unwavering loyalty to baby bro. “All I knew was that if Willie was going to jail, they’d have to take me to jail, too,” she said. But Willie and company were issued only misdemeanor citations and sent on their way. In the mid-’70s, when Red Headed Stranger hit and the parties and groupies got crazy, Bobbie didn’t ride with Willie and the band, but flew to gigs and stayed in hotels. But she’s traveled with Willie since 1983 and has learned to tolerate the ever-present illegal perfume. “I think he smokes (marijuana) too much,” Bobbie said in 2007, “but that’s just because I’m worried about his health.”

At Randalls Island, Bobbie suggested moving the interview from the back of the bus when Neil Young and all his rowdy friends came onboard to do what you’re supposed to do on Willie’s bus. “Sometimes I need a break,” she said, as Willie’s assistant David Anderson led us to an empty trailer about 50 yards away. Bobbie had heart surgery in 2007 and uses a pacemaker, but she has almost never missed a Family show since 1973. Playing with Willie, she said, “is a gift.

We are just so blessed to be still doing what we’re doing after all these years.” In a small Texas town in the 1930s, a 6-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother learned the power and magic of making music together. Blessed are those who know their purpose so young. And lucky are we who get to hear what they create. (note: a different version of this article appeared in the Austin American Statesman in 2007)


December Day: New Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson Album out in December

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014


Legacy Recordings will release Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie’s December Day, the first installment of the Willie‘s Stash archival recordings series, on Tuesday, December 2.

An eclectic album collaboration from outlaw country legend Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie Nelson, December Day debuts intimate new recordings of the siblings performing 18 songs they love.

As brother and sister growing up in Abbott, Texas, Willie and Bobbie Nelson learned to read music and play instruments as pre-teens under the tutelage of their grandparents, who raised them. They played together in Texas bands early in their careers and Bobbie has been an essential member of Willie’s Family Band since its official formation in 1973. Willie and Bobbie’s deeply intuitive musical bond, formed and developed through of decades of practice and spontaneity, can be felt throughout December Day.

With songs personally selected by Willie and Bobbie, December Day includes new versions of gems from Willie’s extensive songwriting catalog (“Permanently Lonely,” “My Old Peculiar Way”) alongside some surprising cover tunes (Al Jolson’s “The Anniversary Song,” Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “What’ll I Do” and “Always”).

The album’s sound is augmented by contributions from other Family Band members, including harmonica player Mickey Raphael and the late Bee Spears on bass on “What’ll I Do,” recorded during his poignant last session with Willie.

In his first-hand observer liner notes for December Day, Family Band member Mickey Raphael provides fascinating details of the album’s performances and insights into the artists’ creative process.

“As long as I can remember, Willie and Bobbie, who ride together on Willie’s bus, spend some of their traveling time jamming on their favorite songs,” Raphael writes.  “Bobbie has a travel size keyboard on the bus and Willie’s guitar, Trigger is always by his side. This is where the idea for December Day was born. ‘Why not record our favorite songs like we play them for ourselves?,’ Bobbie asked….

“….When it comes to a brother-sister collaboration with the longevity of Willie and Bobbie, there is beauty in keeping things simple. ‘Less is more’ is the underlying theme. We’ve heard these songs before but not like this. The spontaneity born out of familiarity is what this record, December Day, is all about.

“It’s not rocket science, it’s alchemy.”

The Willies Stash series will present a variety of releases, personally curated by Willie Nelson, culled from decades of recording and touring, a singular career that’s established Willie Nelson as an American musical icon.


December Day is Willie’s fifth release since signing to Legacy Recordings in 2012. His last Legacy release, Band Of Brothers, was released in June 2014 and hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart. is produced by Buddy Cannon and recorded by Steve Chadie at Pedernales Recordings Studio in Austin, Texas. Musicians on the album include Willie Nelson (Trigger) and Bobbie Nelson (piano, B-3 organ) with Mickey Raphael (harmonica), Kevin Smith (bass), Bee Spears (bass), Billy English (drums, percussion) and David Zettner (acoustic guitar).


Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie
December Day
(Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1)

1. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (Irving Berlin)
2. Permanently Lonely (Willie Nelson)
3. What’ll I Do (Irving Berlin)
4. Summer of Roses / December Day (Willie Nelson)
5. Nuages (Django Reinhardt)
6. Mona Lisa (Ray Evans & Jay Livingston)
7. I Don’t Know Where I Am Today (Willie Nelson)
8. Amnesia (Willie Nelson)
9. Who’ll Buy My Memories (Willie Nelson)
10. The Anniversary Song (Al Jolson & Saul Chaplin)
11. Laws of Nature (Willie Nelson)
12. Walkin’ (Willie Nelson)
13. Always (Irving Berlin)
14. I Let My Mind Wander (Willie Nelson)
15. Is the Better Part Over (Willie Nelson)
16. My Own Peculiar Way (Willie Nelson)

17. Sad Songs and Waltzes (Willie Nelson)

18. Ou-es tu, mon amour  (Emile Stern & Henri LeMarchand) / I Never Cared for You (Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson: The Country Biography (10/27/14)

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014



New Willie Nelson collection on sale October 27th, part of a Classic Country Heroes series.  The cd includes an eight-page biography.

Purchase it at


Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, “She Was No Good for Me”

Monday, October 13th, 2014


To All the Girls (Legacy)

1.Dolly Parton – From Here To The Moon And Back
2.Miranda Lambert – She Was No Good For Me
3.Secret Sisters – It Won’t Be Very Long
4.Rosanne Cash – Please Don’t Tell Me
5.Sheryl Crow – Far Away Places
6.Wynonna Judd – Bloody Mary Morning
7.Carrie Underwood – Always On My Mind
8.Loretta Lynn – Somewhere Between
9.Alison Krauss – No Mas Amor
10.Melonie Cannon – Back To Earth
11.Mavis Staples – Grandma’s Hands
12.Norah Jones – Walkin’
13.Shelby Lynne – Til The End Of The World
14.Lily Meola – Will You Remember Mine
15.Emmylou Harris – Dry Lightning
16.Brandi Carlile – Making Believe
17.Paula Nelson – Have You Ever Seen The Rain
18.Tina Rose – After The Fire Is Gone

New Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson Album, “December Day”

Saturday, October 11th, 2014


Can’t wait for this album that is scheduled to be released in December! Sony Records has plans to release his latest project, “December Day”, on some December Day, 2014.  The album will include more original songs by Willie Nelson.

Willie talked about the project in a New York Times interview last summer:

“It’s mostly me and sister [Bobbie Nelson] with a little harmonica and a little bass in there” he explained.

“We’re doing nine songs that I wrote and a couple of Irving Berlin songs — ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ and ‘What’ll I Do.’

It’s coming out sometimes before the holidays, maybe October.”

– Willie Nelson

Here’s an earlier rendition of that beautiful song.

Another Willie Nelson Fan

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

olivia jiminez
The sweet Olivia.

Willie Nelson: The Platinum Series (2007)

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014


Track Listing
1. Night Life
2. Half a Man
3. The Last Letter
4. Is There Something on Your Mind
5. Will You Remember Mine
6. Pride Wins Again
7. A New Way to Cry
8. I’ll Stay Around
9. Let’s Pretend
10. No Tomorrow in Sight
11. Shelter of Your Arms
12. One Step Beyond
13. Home Is Where You’re Happy
14. End of Understanding

Willie Nelson, “Philadelphia Lawyer” (Tribute to Woody Guthrie – A Vision Shared”)

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Willie Nelson, “Band of Brothers”

Monday, October 6th, 2014

by:  Jan Crawford.

Music legend Willie Nelson has everyone, young and old, liberal and conservative, singing along.  At 81 years old, Nelson is doing something unheard of: remaining relevant, reports

He still spends about half the year on the road, and now he’s promoting his newest album, Band of Brothers, which recently hit number one on the country charts.

Critics say it’s some of his best, most reflective work in years.

He’s an American original and has a sound like no other — yet his songs tell stories we’ve all felt.

He said he thinks part of his craft, is that people feel like they can relate to his music.

“And I think that’s probably the reason I was put here; to write songs and come out here and sing ‘em and play ‘em for people,” Nelson said. “And people can hear ‘em and relate to what I’m talkin’ about.”

It’s the music that keeps driving him.

“The energy that we get from playin’ and the feedback that we get from people listenin’ to it,” Nelson said. “That’s all good stuff.”

His body of work is extraordinary: 21 number one hits and more than 100 albums — his latest, reached the top of the country charts in June.

He lives life on his terms — with music that somehow puts in words what we wish we could say.

There are songs of heartbreak, like the classic, “Angels Flying too Close to the Ground.”

He has the image of an outlaw, but friends say he is uncommonly kind.

Nelson started on a traditional path in Nashville, but feeling boxed in he went back to his native Texas.

Along the way, the good life became a hard life.

He struggled with drugs, alcohol and marriage.

Songwriting was an escape, but with performing came consequences. When he’s writing his songs, he said it’s like reliving moments in his own life.

“And when you sing ‘em every night, I think that’s why a bunch of us got into drugs and alcohol and things so heavy is because when you go out there at night and relive all that B.S. that put you in that place and you have to relive it every — sometimes people can’t handle it,” Nelson said. “And it’s too tough.”

Nelson said cigarettes were too hard on his lungs and drinking made him a little crazy.

So to take the edge off, he turned to pot.

How much does he smoke?

“Oh, I don’t know, as much as I want to,” Nelson said. “A lotta people couldn’t smoke as much as I do. I think I have a pretty good tolerance for it. And it’s a good medicine for me. It’s a good stress reliever.”

He’s been arrested at least four times for marijuana and is an outspoken advocate for legalization.

“I never thought during my lifetime that it would, because it was so hardcore against it in so many places,” Nelson said. “But then it looks like I was wrong.”

The future looks good for pot, he said, and in the meantime, he plans to keep making music.

Nelson said he doesn’t have anything to prove unless it’s “don’t stop.”

“You know, don’t look back,” he added. “They might be gainin’ on you.”

Nelson said he’s thinking about cutting back on some of his touring, but he’s not going to stop writing and making music.

His next album will be released in December.

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

Sunday, October 5th, 2014


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?

Micah Nelson Particle Kid “Demo-itis”

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014


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