Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

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

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

www.RollingStone.com
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

www.USA.com
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)

www.pitchfork.com
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 www.legacyrecordings.com.

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.

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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…

#speaktruthtopower”

— 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)
13.1X0n3
14.Devour
15.With God on Our Side

Willie Nelson, “Hallelujah”

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

songbird

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)

Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson, “December Day” (with liner notes by Mickey Raphael)

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie
“December Day”

Liner Notes by Mickey Raphael:

Peering through the control room glass into the studio, a cloud of smoke rises from Sister Bobbie Nelson’s Bosendorfer grand piano. After four hours of non-stop recording with baby brother Willie, perhaps she has ignited the keys during this marathon session???

Listening back to “I Never Cared for You,” the interplay between Bobbie and Will on the instrumental intro “Ou-es tu, mon amour” sets the mood perfectly for the darkness the song portrays.

“Nuages,” a song written by French Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, showcases Willie’s dexterity and guitar genius.  Whenever we are just sitting around the bus, Willie will pick up a guitar and start playing.  Like the horse heading to the barn, he always gets around to “Nuages.”  It’s good mendicine for him.  And on this take, Bobbie’s piano provides the support that makes their performances seem effortless.

In the beautiful hill country near Austin, Texas you’ll find Willie’s Pedernales studio.  Willie and Bobbie are set up in the main room which is L-shaped and doesn’t allow direct eye contact during recording.  Without much discussion of an arrangement, Bobbie started playing and Willie began singing “Mona Lisa.”  That was the beginning of another magical session.

Recording engineer Steve Chadie and Willie’s friend and producer, Buddy Cannon were at the controls as it all happened. It’s kind of like photographing a ghost; you don’t really see it till the picture is fully developed.  Throughout these sessions Bobbie and Willie played continuously and seemed to never run out of song ideas — which is a producer’s dream (or nightmare).  Eventually songs had to be picked for the final selections.  With so many outstanding performances to choose from.  I’m glad I wasn’t a part of that 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.  Bobbie has a travels 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.

In 2010 after ending a tour in Austin, Texas, the band, made up of Paul and Billy English, Bee Spears and myself, went in the studio to record with Bobbie and Willie.  The song “What’ll I do” is especially bittersweet because of the passing of Bee Speers.  Bee was Willie’s bass player for more than four decades and this was the last recording session he played with us.  He is missed by us all.

In 2012 while recording songs for the record LET’S FACE THE MUSIC AND DANCE, we would stray from the song list every once in a while.  Willie might call out a song title or Bobbie might have a suggestion and this was the fun part of recording with these guys.  You didn’t know where the music was going next.  “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” was born from such a diversion.  We are all fans of the Irving Berlin songbook and of the Ray Charles version, so this was a perfect tribute to both.

In 2004, another impromptu visit to the studio resulted in three songs penned by Willie.  “Walkin'” is truly a classic.  Originally heard in the concept album PHASES AND STAGES, this version goes right to the heart.  Willie’s guitar solo hits you like a gunshot at the O.K. Corral.  If through is the question, then Bobbie is the answer as nothing rings more true than her piano.

“Laws of Nature” is an “a-ha” moment.  Willie writes like he’s talking to you face-to-face.  Bobbie provides the soundtrack for that conversation.  It’s easy to make records with these guys.  You just have to listen… and then  react from the heart.  It’s pretty primal.

The song “Amnesia” rounded out those sessions but honestly, I can’t remember anything about it.

Raised by their grandparents in Abbott, a small farming community north of Waco, Texas, Willie and Bobbie began a musical odyssey that has continued for over 70 years.  Daddy Nelson taught Willie how to play guitar when he was seven, and momma Nelson taught sister Bobbie the piano when she was nine.  Sundays were spent playing at the Abbott Methodist church and gave Bobbie and Willie the spiritual foundation that still can be found in their music.

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.

Mickey Raphael
Nashville, TN

bobbiewill

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)

Willie Nelson On the Road Again and new #1 Album (July 2014)

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Published on Jul 11, 2014

After a lifetime of touring, at 81 this music icon just landed another number one album.

 

Willie Nelson music on “Ruckus” movie soundtrack (1981)

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Kyle Hanson is a Vietnam veteran whose traumatic war-time experiences have left him unable to rejoin mainstream society. When Kyle, unkempt and in dirty fatigues, stops in a small town for some food, the local bullies can’t wait for an opportunity to harass him. After Kyle uses his Special Forces training to escape the bullies, he becomes the subject of a co…

Kyle Hanson is a Vietnam veteran whose traumatic war-time experiences have left him unable to rejoin mainstream society. When Kyle, unkempt and in dirty fatigues, stops in a small town for some food, the local bullies can’t wait for an opportunity to harass him. After Kyle uses his Special Forces training to escape the bullies, he becomes the subject of a community-wide manhunt. Only Jenny Bellows, a local girl whose husband was declared missing in action in Vietnam, is willing to give Kyle a chance.
  • Release date: Mar 01, 1981 (United States)

Soundtrack Credits

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HIM NOW?
Written by Willie Nelson and Hank Cochran
Sung by Janie Fricke
Tree Publishing Co.
ONE DAY AT A TIME
Written by Willie Nelson and Hank Cochran
Sung by Janie Fricke
Tree Publishing Co.
SALLY WAS A GOOD OLD GIRL
Written by Harlan Howard (as Harland Howard)
Tree Publishing Co.
PLEASE DON’T PLAY A-11
Written by Hank Cochran
Tree Publishing Co.
I DON’T DO WINDOWS
Written by Hank Cochran
Tree Publishing Co.
YOU COMB HER HAIR
Written by Harlan Howard (as Harland Howard) and Hank Cochran
Tree Publishing Co.
AIN’T LIFE HELL
Written by Hank Cochran
Tree Publishing Co.

Willie Nelson his Greatest Hits and Finest Performances

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

Track List

  1. To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before with Julio Iglesias
  2. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboy
  3. On The Road Again
  4. Heartbreak Hotel with Leon Russell
  5. Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
  6. Forgiving You Was Easy
  7. If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time
  8. Blue Skies
  9. Georgia On My Mind
  10. Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
  11. Pancho And Lefty with  Merle Haggard
  12. Always On My Mind

 

Willie Nelson, “The Hungry Years”

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Track Listing:

  1. The Hungry Years
  2. Detour
  3. I’m ragged but I’m right
  4. It Wouldn’t be the same
  5. Your memory won’t die
  6. When I stop Dreaming
  7. If That’s the Fashion
  8. Solitaire
  9. Milk Cow Blues
  10. Linda
  11. The Last Thing on My Mind
  12. She is Gone
  13. Til I Gain Control Again
  14. Time Changes Everything
  15. Carefree Moments

Willie Nelson’s “God’s Problem Child” #1

Monday, May 15th, 2017