Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Red Headed Stranger” inducted to Library of Congress National Recording Registry (6/23/2010)

Friday, June 23rd, 2017
by Ann Donahue

Recordings by Tupac Shakur, Willie Nelson, R.E.M. and the 1959 original cast album of “Gypsy” are among the 25 eclectic inductees announced today (June 23) to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.

Under the terms of 2000’s National Recording Preservation Act, the criteria for preservation by the Library of Congress are that the work be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and be at least 10 years old. Nominations were gathered from online submissions from the public and from members of the National Recording Preservation Board.

In its citation for Shakur’s “Dear Mama,” the NRPB calls the song a “moving and eloquent homage to both his own mother and all mothers struggling to maintain a family in the face of addiction, poverty and societal indifference.” Nelson’s album “Red Headed Stranger” is cited for its “uncommon elegance,” while R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe” is lauded for setting “the pattern for later indie rock releases by breaking through on college radio in the face of mainstream radio’s general indifference.”

According to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va. will preserve and maintain these recordings and henceforward make them available to the American public. There are now 300 recordings in the National Recording Registry.

Inductees for the 2009 National Recording Registry are:

1. Fon der Choope (From the Wedding) – Abe Elenkrig’s Yidishe Orchestra (April 4, 1913)
2. “Canal Street Blues,” King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band (April 5, 1923)
3. “Tristan und Isolde,” Metropolitan Opera, featuring Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior, NBC Broadcast (March 9, 1935)
4. “When You Wish Upon a Star,” Cliff Edwards (recorded 1938; released 1940)
5. “America’s Town Meeting of the Air: Should Our Ships Convoy Materials to England?” (May 8, 1941)
6. The Library of Congress Marine Corps Combat Field Recording Collection, Second Battle of Guam (July 20 – August 11, 1944)
7. “Evangeline Special” and “Love Bridge Waltz,” Iry LeJeune (1948)
8. “The Little Engine That Could,” narrated by Paul Wing (1949)
9. Leon Metcalf Collection of recordings of the First People of Western Washington State (1950-1954)
10. “Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard (1955)
11. “Smokestack Lightning,” Howlin’ Wolf (1956)
12. “Gypsy,” original cast recording (1959)
13. The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, Bill Evans Trio (June 25, 1961)
14. “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two),” Max Mathews (1961)
15. “I Started Out As a Child,” Bill Cosby (1964)
16. “Azucar Pa Ti,” Eddie Palmieri (1965)
17. “Today!,” “Mississippi” John Hurt (1966)
18. “Silver Apples of the Moon,” Morton Subotnick (1967)
19. “Soul Folk in Action,” The Staple Singers (1968)
20. “The Band,” The Band (1969)
21. “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Lynn (1970)
22. “Red Headed Stranger,” Willie Nelson (1975)
23. “Horses,” Patti Smith (1975)
24. “Radio Free Europe,” R.E.M. (1981)
25. “Dear Mama,” Tupac Shakur (1995)

Willie Nelson sings with Steve Earle on new album, “So You Wannabe An Outlaw”

Friday, June 23rd, 2017



  1. “So You Wannabe an Outlaw” (feat. Willie Nelson)
  2. “Lookin’ for a Woman”
  3. “The Firebreak Line”
  4. “News From Colorado”
  5. “If Mama Coulda Seen Me”
  6. “Fixin’ to Die”
  7. “This Is How It Ends” (feat. Miranda Lambert)
  8. “The Girl on the Mountain”
  9. “You Broke My Heart”
  10. “Walkin’ in LA” (feat. Johnny Bush)
  11. “Sunset Highway”
  12. “Goodbye Michelangelo”

Deluxe Edition bonus tracks:

  • “Ain’t No God in Mexico” (Billy Joe Shaver)
  • “Sister’s Coming Home”/”Down at the Corner Beer Joint” (Willie Nelson)
  • “The Local Memory” (Willie Nelson)
  • “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” (Waylon Jennings)

Top Country Albums of 2017 (So Far) Willie Nelson: “God’s Problem Child”

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

by: Jake Harris

It’s almost the end of June, which means we’re halfway through 2017. And as time continues apace, so does the release of country music records. There have been a lot of releases so far this year, but since we’re nearing 2017’s midpoint, it’s time to take stock of what country music has brought us.

I started this tradition last year, with a power ranking of the best country albums of the first six months of 2016, continuing the list at the end of the year with more conclusive thoughts.

This year, I started off with a list of the albums I was looking forward to the most in 2017. Most of the albums on that list are below. Some didn’t live up to the hype.

However, all of the albums below are proof that good country music does still exist. You’re just not likely to find it on the radio.

As with last year, keep in mind that this list isn’t conclusive and only includes albums I’ve actually listened to. If you think I missed anything, let me know here, through email at, or on Twitter @jakeharris4.




#4. “God’s Problem Child,” Willie Nelson

Willie’s 84 years old, but that don’t mean s—. He can still play with the best of them, and his songwriting skills on display here are the best they’ve ever been.

“God’s Problem Child” finds him contemplating his own mortality, in ways both youthful (“Still Not Dead”) and wise (“Old Timer”). From start to finish, it’s fantastic.

Read our review: Willie Nelson’s new album proves how musically sharp he remains at 84

Favorite Song: “Still Not Dead” cribs Mark Twain’s quip about exaggerated rumors of demise and faces all of those Internet hoaxes about his age head-on.

(Read about all his top ten picks here.)


1. Little House On The Hill (Lyndel Rhodes)
2. Old Timer (Donnie Fritz / Lenny LeBlanc)
3. True Love (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
4. Delete And Fast Forward (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
5. A Woman’s Love (Mike Reid / Sam Hunter)
6. Your Memory Has A Mind Of Its Own (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
7. Butterfly (Sonny Throckmorton / Mark Sherrill)
8. Still Not Dead (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
9. God’s Problem Child (Jamey Johnson / Tony Joe White)
10. It Gets Easier (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
11. Lady Luck (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
12. I Made A Mistake (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
13. He Won’t Ever Be Gone (Gary Nicholson)


Micah Nelson, “Particle Kid”, “Forever Friend” from new album

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Forever Friend” is a brand new track from the self-titled album by PARTICLE KID

“PARTICLE KID” LP from Hen House Studios Records and Org Music.

Willie Nelson on “The Rookie” Soundtrack, “There’s Nothing I Can Do About it Now”

Friday, June 16th, 2017

release date:  March 26, 2002

1. Some Dreams
2. Blue Moon Nights
3. Embryonic Journey
4. Tumbling Down
5. There Is a Light
6. Stuff That Works
7. Slow Turning
8. Baby I Ain’t Gotta Do That No More
9. Shining
10. Nothing I Can Do About It Now (Willie Nelson)
11. In My Time of Need
12. The Plains
13. The Spheres

Willie Nelson, “Summertime”

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Summertime:  Willie Nelson sings Gershwin come out on February 26, 2016.

Take a look at this track list of George and Ira Gershwin hits.

Track List

1. “But Not for Me” by Willie Nelson
2. “Somebody Loves Me” by Willie Nelson
3. “Someone to Watch Over Me” by Willie Nelson
4. “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” by Willie Nelson feat. Cyndi Lauper
5. “It Ain’t Necessarily So” by Willie Nelson
6. “I Got Rhythm” by Willie Nelson
7. “Love is Here to Stay” by Willie Nelson
8. “They All Laughed” by Willie Nelson
9. “Embraceable You” by Willie Nelson feat. Sheryl Crow
10. “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” by Willie Nelson
11. “Summertime” by Willie Nelson

Glen Campbell with Willie Nelson, “Ain’t it Funny, How Time Slips Away”

Sunday, June 11th, 2017
by: Stephen L. Betts

With a musical and personal friendship that stretches back to the early Sixties when they shared the stage during a tour with Buck Owens and His Buckaroos, Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson have performed together countless times through the years. Their final performance together, on a beautiful light-shuffle version of Nelson’s oft-covered “Funny How Time Slips Away” is a marvelous, albeit heartbreaking, tribute to their enduring love and respect for one another.

Taken from Campbell’s final studio LP Adiós, which was released today, the tune was first recorded by Billy Walker in 1961 and has also been cut by Elvis Presley, the Supremes, and as a duet for Al Green and Lyle Lovett, Bobby Bland and B.B. King, and by Juice Newton with the song’s writer in 2010. Adiós, produced by Campbell’s longtime friend Carl Jackson, was their effort to gather several songs Campbell had wanted to record but hadn’t previously. The sessions took place following Campbell’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s and the subsequent Goodbye Tour, chronicled in the poignant documentary film, Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me.

“Glen and I have been close such a long, long time,” Jackson told Rolling Stone Country last month. “I stood right beside him on every line, printed out the lyrics in big print. Sometimes we had to do a line at a time because with Alzheimer’s, his memory of the lyrics, as we saw in the tour he had to use teleprompters, that went away pretty quick. But his melodies did not go away for a long time after his ability to remember actual songs. He would even remember what keys he did them in. I can’t explain it.”

Adiós also includes four songs penned by another of Campbell’s longtime compatriots, Jimmy Webb, who penned the title cut and is the writer behind many of the singer’s massive hits, including “Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”

Campbell is in the final stages of the disease and living in a Nashville memory-care facility. His daughter, musician Ashley Campbell, tells Rolling Stone Country, “He doesn’t really use language much anymore, but we look on the bright side [because] in these late stages of Alzheimer’s, it could be very bad. It could be confusion and anger a lot of the time, which is the case for a lot of people I’ve seen. But for him he’s just happy every day, smiles, he enjoys life and he enjoys being around people – and he loves a good piece of cake.”

Adiós is available now at retail and digital outlets.

Willie Nelson, “God’s Problem Child”

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Willie Nelson with Glen Campbell, “Funny, How Time Slips Away”

Thursday, June 8th, 2017
by: Bob Doerschuk

One favorite on Adios was Funny How Time Slips Away, partly because of Campbell’s long friendship with its writer, Willie Nelson. After capturing the vocals, Jackson contacted Nashville producer Buddy Cannon, who was working with Nelson on a new album. Nelson

Not so long ago, Glen Campbell’s music, acting and winning charm illuminated all of American popular culture. In recent years, the rainbow that was once his career lost much of its luster as he was diagnosed with  Alzheimer’s Disease. Today he is no longer able to talk or understand speech. But before slipping into this last stage, he did decide to record one more album.

The idea for that album, titled Adios and out Friday, traces back to one of many pleasant evenings that Glen, his wife Kim and longtime friend Carl Jackson were enjoying together. We were talking about songs that Glen loved but never had the opportunity to record, said Jackson, 64, who joined Campbell’s band at age 18. And this idea just popped up.

Choosing the songs was easy. It was about helping Glen check off his bucket list,” says Kim, 58. Any time that Glen picked up a guitar at home, these were the songs he would play for fun: Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, A Thing Called Love. They were always his go-to songs.”

As the project’s producer, Jackson had to tailor his approach to what Campbell could handle. “I cut the basic tracks and put vocals on them,” he explains. Because of his familiarity with the material, I’d type out the lyrics and he would sing what he could from them — maybe a whole verse, usually just a couple of lines. But his perfect pitch and his feel for the melodies were still ingrained. He just killed each song.”

One favorite on Adios was Funny How Time Slips Away, partly because of Campbell’s long friendship with its writer, Willie Nelson. After capturing the vocals, Jackson contacted Nashville producer Buddy Cannon, who was working with Nelson on a new album. Nelson was happy to add his performance to Campbell’s, which Carter edited into a duet.

Sadly, Campbell never got to hear the final results.  “But thankfully, he had a great experience connecting with that music,” says Kim. It was so beautiful to watch him enjoy singing and being in the studio one last time.

Willie Nelson’s Deep River of Song

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Willie Nelson circa 1980. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
by:  Tyler Wilcox

Willie Nelson may have canceled a series of concerts earlier this year due to illness, but he remains one of the busiest 84 year olds on the planet. His 61st (!) LP, God’s Problem Child, just dropped in April and is one of his strongest efforts in years. He has a lengthy summer tour scheduled, including dates with performers young (Margo Price, Father John Misty), old (Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne), and in-between (Dwight Yoakam, Sheryl Crow). Nelson has also been making the rounds promoting Willie’s Reserve, the line of cannabis products he developed with his wife Annie. He’s always moving forward, but this recent activity made us want to look back at his extensive body of work. A genre unto himself, it’d be a fool’s errand to try to sum up the deep river of song that flows naturally from Willi’s subconscious. But spending a little while digging into a diverse selection of choice rarities and live performances from over the decades is always time well spent.

“The Storm Has Just Begun” “When I’ve Sang My Last Hillbilly Song” Demo (1954)

One of the earliest glimpses of Willie Nelson’s songwriting prowess come to us via a lo-fi demo recording of two world-weary originals, “The Storm Has Just Begun” and “When I’ve Sang My Last Hillbilly Song.” The two songs, totaling less than three minutes altogether, were cut in 1954 on wobbly reel-to-reel equipment at KBOP, a 50-watt Pleasanton, TX radio station where the barely-out-of-his-teens Nelson worked as a late night DJ. Though clearly under the spell of his idols—Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, Ray Price, among others—Willie’s reedy voice, wise-beyond-his-years delivery, and subtly sophisticated guitar work foreshadow the talent that would blossom in the next few years. When Nelson sent the recordings around to record labels, they were summarily rejected. But he was just getting started.

Hello Walls / Funny How Time Slips Away / Night Life / Crazy 1962)

By the early 1960s, Willie had established himself as a reliable hit country songwriter, lending his sensibilities to such singers as Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, and Billy Walker. But he had ambitions as a solo artist as well. This charming 1962 Nashville television clip shows a shockingly clean-cut Nelson performing abbreviated versions of some of his most well-known tunes (though many in the audience likely didn’t know he had authored them). Dapper in a suit and tie, Willie’s distinctive vocal style is already firmly in place that off-the-beat phrasing that led Dwight Yoakam to call himthe most avant-garde country singer of all time in Rolling Stone‘s roundup of the 100 greatest singers. His bordering-on-jazzy delivery may have been what kept his early Nashville solo albums from racing up the charts, but as we’ll see, it would serve him well in the years to come.

The Very First Austin City Limits (1974)

After finding only middling success in the middle of the road, Nelson grew his hair out and ditched Nashville for Austin, soon finding himself at the forefront of the 1970s outlaw country scene, alongside Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard. This free-flowing sound is on full display during Nelson’s Austin City Limits” appearance in 1974, the inaugural episode of the iconic PBS show. This is a buoyant, joyful hour’s worth of peak Willie, featuring a backing band full of friends (harmonica master Mickey Raphael and guitarist Jody Payne) and family (his older sister, pianist Bobbie Nelson). Eagle-eyed viewers might spot a few famous fans in the audience, too: Townes Van Zandt and Guy and Susanna Clark pop up for a few frames, appearing to be having the time of their lives. It’s a particular pleasure to see Nelson’s impressive guitar chops check out the scorching solo on his signature opener Whiskey River for a taste of his gypsy-jazz-meets-Chet-Atkins fretwork. The Austin City Limits set would provide the template for Willie’s future shows, but he wasn’t ready to settle into a comfortable groove just yet.

Stardust Radio Session (1979)

Nelson had earned his greatest solo successes as a so-called outlaw, but his 1978 standards LP, Stardust, was a stylistic left turn into decidedly less edgy territory. Despite his label’s initial misgivings about the project, Stardust‘s risk paid off both artistically and commercially, expanding Willie’s repertoire and selling millions in the process. Nelson fully inhabited these classics from the American Songbook, embracing the jazz-inflected vocals and guitar he’d flirted with earlier while still maintaining his essential earthiness. He took Stardust‘s surprise crossover success in a stride, as shown in this crackling late 70s FM broadcast. With Leon Russell popping up as a special guest, Willie adds several Stardust standards to the set (including a ravishing rendering of the Hoagy Carmichael-penned title track) around his tried-and-true warhorses. Like virtually everything he does, it all feels as natural as can be.

Countless Star-Studded Duets

For decades now, Willie has been a compulsive duet partner and stage-hopper—has he ever turned anyone down? This laissez faire attitude towards collaboration has resulted in some questionable moments, to be sure. No one needs to hear Willie’s guest spot on fellow cannabis connoisseur Snoop Dogg’s “My Medicine” ever again. Ditto the atrocious, Kid Rock-featuring “Last Stand in Open Country.” But there’s plenty of gold to be found in Nelson’s diffuse team-ups, whether it’s him and Bob Dylan attempting to out-brood each other on Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty” or his New Orleans-inspired pairing with Wynton Marsalis. He can jump onstage with Neil Young & Crazy Horse (as seen above), trade verses with Ray Charles, or slip easily into a reggae groove with Toots Hibbert. It’s hard to imagine a more open-minded musician than Nelson—and one can only imagine that even in his old age, Willie’s still got plenty of tricks up his sleeve.

Willie Nelson, “God’s Problem Child”

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

1. Little House On The Hill (Lyndel Rhodes)
2. Old Timer (Donnie Fritz / Lenny LeBlanc)
3. True Love (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
4. Delete And Fast Forward (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
5. A Woman’s Love (Mike Reid / Sam Hunter)
6. Your Memory Has A Mind Of Its Own (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
7. Butterfly (Sonny Throckmorton / Mark Sherrill)
8. Still Not Dead (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
9. God’s Problem Child (Jamey Johnson / Tony Joe White)
10. It Gets Easier (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
11. Lady Luck (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
12. I Made A Mistake (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
13. He Won’t Ever Be Gone (Gary Nicholson)

The latest album from a classic artist and the revisiting of a classic album by a contemporary act are in the Ear Bliss spotlight this week. Now in his 80s, we should all be blessed with the health and work ethic of Willie Nelson. He tours endlessly and continues to release at least one album every year. His latest called God’s Problem Child is Willie to the bone (no pun intended!) and continues his collaboration with the legendary Nashville producer Buddy Cannon.

Willie Nelson
God’s Problem Child
Sony Legacy Recordings

Having just hit the age of 84, Willie Nelson shows no signs of slowing down from both the recording and touring perspectives. As his latest album called God’s Problem Child attests, he is also not just mailing it in. His first album of new songs since 2014’s Band of Brothers, the Red-Headed Stranger is both in fine voice and picking his old guitar Trigger as good as ever. The album finds him teaming up once again with longtime collaborator and legendary Nashville-based producer Buddy Cannon. (In addition to producing, Cannon is also credited as co-writer on seven of the album’s 13 songs.) Ever the restless one when it comes to style, God’s Problem Child is Nelson’s usual highly listenable brew of country, swing, jazz, and even the blues. The latter is exemplified by the title track written by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, a laid back number that includes vocals by both writers along with the late Leon Russell on what just may be his final recording. It’s punctuated by some fine blues guitar picking by Willie himself. It’s just one of many moments from an album filled with them that begins with the “Whiskey River” styled ramblin’ country of “On the Hill” and closes with a tribute to Merle Haggard (“He Won’t Ever Be Gone”). In between it moves from Willie pondering his own mortality in both serious  (“Old Timer”) and humorous (“Still Not Dead” on which Nelson sings “I woke again still not dead gain today” fashions, not to mention the aging process (“It Gets Easier” and “Your Memory Has a Mind of Its Own”).  Speaking frankly, you just can’t wrong with a Willie Nelson album and God’s Problem Child is yet another keeper. Visit

Old Crow Medicine Show
50 Years of Blonde on Blonde
Columbia Records

It has been 50 years since the release of the album Blonde on Blonde. Ask someone to pick their favorite Bob Dylan album and no doubt it will be in the running. The country and roots collective Old Crow Medicine Show burst on the Americana scene in the late aughts thanks to a cover of a relatively obscure Dylan song called “Wagon Wheel.” It helped establish them as one of the leaders of the Americana genre. The group takes the Dylan thing up another notch with its newly released recreation of the Dylan classic. 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde salutes that classic album while also doubling as the band’s major label debut. Let’s get to it.


Micah Nelson, “With God on Our Side”

Monday, May 29th, 2017

“Happy to have my version of “WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE” featured on this compilation Save Your Prayers!

Thanks Rachel Fannan ! Also many thanks to Megan Pfefferkorn for lending your haunting harmoniees, Paul Bushnell for the melodic low end, Anthony Lo for banging some minimal skins, and Hen House Studios Harlan Steinberger for capturing it all…


— Micah Nelson

Save Your Prayers
Various Artists
1.Meet Me at Standing Rock
2.Let Em In
3.Glitch in the System
Unfurled (feat. Parker Law, Rachel Fannan & Jeff Smith)
5.Fight Back (feat. Rachel Fannan)
6.Hold On
7.This Is War
8.Bible Belt (feat. Rachel Fannan)
9.Nothings Gonna Change My World
10.Outlaw Rebulicants (feat. Jeremy Sandi, Todd Coleman & Hector Lee Heaviside)
11.The Passenger (feat. K. Franklin, Beau Wiley & Graham Spillman)
12.Not Gonna Say Your Name (feat. Guy Blakeslee)
15.With God on Our Side

Willie Nelson, “Hallelujah”

Saturday, May 27th, 2017


Willie Nelson and Webb Pierce, “You’re Not Mine Anymore”

Friday, May 26th, 2017

“He Won’t Ever Be Gone”, by Willie Nelson (from new album, “God’s Problem Child”

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

I love this album.  Every cut.

1. Little House On The Hill (Lyndel Rhodes)
2. Old Timer (Donnie Fritz / Lenny LeBlanc)
3. True Love (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
4. Delete And Fast Forward (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
5. A Woman’s Love (Mike Reid / Sam Hunter)
6. Your Memory Has A Mind Of Its Own (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
7. Butterfly (Sonny Throckmorton / Mark Sherrill)
8. Still Not Dead (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
9. God’s Problem Child (Jamey Johnson / Tony Joe White)
10. It Gets Easier (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
11. Lady Luck (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
12. I Made A Mistake (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
13. He Won’t Ever Be Gone (Gary Nicholson)