Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

“She Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” Willie Nelson contributes to Barbara Mandrell tribute album (10/10/06)

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

On October 10, 2006 BNA releases “She Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool: A Tribute To Barbara Mandrell.” Contributors include Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Shelby Lynne, Terri Clark, Lorrie Morgan, Randy Owen, Dierks Bentley and Sara Evans.

Saturday, October 6th, 2018
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Head over to Willie’s webstore to peruse special bundles for his new @franksinatra tribute ‘My Way,’ including including exclusive merchandise you can’t get anywhere else!

Willie Nelson, “Summer Wind”

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

This beautiful song is on Willie Nelson’s new album, “My Way”, his loving respectful cover of Frank Sinatra tunes.

My Way Tracklist

  1. Fly Me To The Moon
  2. Summer Wind
  3. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
  4. A Foggy Day
  5. It Was A Very Good Year
  6. Blue Moon
  7. I’ll Be Around
  8. Night And Day
  9. What Is This Thing Called Love (with Norah Jones)
  10. Young At Heart
  11. My Way

Willie Nelson interview, the Guardian

Sunday, September 30th, 2018


photo:  Taylor Hill

At 85, Willie Nelson still spends half the year on the road and is busy supporting Texan Democrat nominee Beto O’Rourke. And the giant of country music’s 2,500 song catalogue just keeps growing.

www.theguardian.com
by: Rebecca Bengal

Soon after Nelson signed on to headline a major O’Rourke rally on 29 September, some conservative fans reportedly planned to boycott his music in protest. A doctored photograph went viral of Nelson in a Beto for Texas shirt, flipping off at the camera like his friend Johnny Cash. But an actual boycott appeared to be bogus, or at least overblown; and anyway, as singer Wheeler Walker Jr tweeted: “You can argue politics all you want, but you cannot argue Willie.”

A waxing harvest moon hovers over the latest incarnation of the Honeysuckle Rose, Nelson’s bus and home on the road. Annie D’Angelo Nelson, his fourth wife since 1991, greets me warmly. “Were you watching?” she asks, meaning the debate. “I thought Beto blew him away.” She is the dynamite to Willie’s calm when he ambles into the kitchen, his grey hair in two long braids. At 85, Nelson is still vigorously hale, as handsomely and admirably weathered as his battered guitar, Trigger. “Willie, you gotta look at her butt!” Annie says – my jeans are embroidered with a map of Texas. From the pocket I pull a “You Beto Vote For Beto!” sticker I picked up in Austin.

At Nelson’s annual Fourth of July picnic, O’Rourke, who played in punk bands growing up in El Paso, and who referenced the Clash in his Cruz debate, joined Willie onstage for It’s All Going to Pot and Will the Circle Be Unbroken. “We hit it off immediately ’cause he’s a musician too. He’s for the same things I’m for in Texas, which is letting everybody do what they want to,” Nelson says. He levels his steady gaze. “Ev-er-y-body.”

With President Jimmy Carter, 1979.
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With President Jimmy Carter, 1979. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Texas looms large in all his music; in concert, his songs sound as if they were scripted to fill its enormous skies. “I miss it all the time,” Nelson says. “I miss the hot weather, I miss the cold weather, I have some ponies down there I like to see.” Nelson used to average 200 days a year on the road, now around 150; it’s his preferred way of being. His sister, Bobbie, the longtime pianist in Nelson’s Family band, says Nelson takes after their mother, a wanderer who left her and Willie with their grandparents when they were very young. The road gives him a rare vantage point; he has seen more of the US, and more of its changes, than most. He takes this in his stride. “I’ve moved around a lot in 85 years,” he says. “And I went through a lot of political spaces in our country – four years of this, eight years of that.”

Collective memory recalls Nelson allegedly getting high on the White House roof during his friend Jimmy Carter’s administration, but tends to forget Nelson’s long history of political involvement. Over the years he has lent his support to friends such as the irrepressible Texas governor Ann Richards, the satirist Kinky Friedman, even the independent presidential candidate Ross Perot. He supported Barack Obama and both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. He has spoken out against LGBTQ discrimination and covered the Ned Sublette song Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other. “I call myself a VI,” Nelson says. “Very independent.”

Without deigning to mention Trump by name, Nelson included the protest song Delete and Fast Forward, on God’s Problem Child in 2017, in apparent opposition to the president’s agenda of hate and divisiveness. Nelson was outraged by the detention centres and the forced separation of families: “I thought everything that happened there was unforgivable.” He opposes the proposed wall, too. “We have a statue that says: ‘Y’all come in,’” he says. “I don’t believe in closing the border. Open them suckers up!” When I ask how his 33-year-old charity Farm Aid supports immigrant farmworkers in the US, he is reflective. “We need those folks,” Nelson says. “I used to pick cotton and pull corn and bale hay and I’m lucky to play guitar now, but we have to have the people who want to work, and take care of them.”

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Stardust, with Nelson’s searing covers of All of Me and Blue Skies, went platinum and earned a Grammy for Georgia On My Mind. My Way, Nelson’s 68th studio album and his second this year, with covers of Sinatra standards, is the latest chapter in Nelson’s singular interpretation of the Great American Songbook and a tribute to his longtime favourite singer. “Sinatra’ll lay down behind the beat and he’ll speed up and get in front of the beat,” Nelson says, “and I thought that was cool. I tried mimicking it a little and I wound up doing that a lot in my songs.”

He and Sinatra cemented their mutual admiration with a duet of My Way in 1993. “We used to play shows together in Vegas and Palm Springs,” Nelson remembers. After one gig, Sinatra invited Nelson to his place in Palm Springs. “I was in a big hurry to go somewhere, so I said, ‘I’ll catch you next time,’ and I never did see him again,” Nelson says. Sinatra died of a heart attack in 1998. “I always regretted that.”

Nelson with Waylon Jennings, celebrating their new new album, Waylon and Willie, 1978
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Nelson (left) with Waylon Jennings, celebrating their new new album, Waylon and Willie, 1978. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

I repeat something Kinky Friedman said of him: “Willie walks through the raw poetry of time.” Nelson has written some 2,500 songs, and numerous books, including two memoirs, but there is a part of him that remains unspoken and essentially mysterious, perhaps even to himself. Early on, he wrote three of his best songs – Crazy, Funny How Time Slips Away and Night Life – in the span of a week; even in anthems such as Whiskey River there is pure and stealthy lyricism, songs that understand their listeners better than they can articulate. Does Nelson even know, I wonder, where some of his deepest words come from?

Not really, he admits. You know, every song I write that I’m proud of, I wonder how it got there. I think the same thing about Merle’s songs and Hank Williams. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry: what was Hank going through when he wrote that? He died when he was 29 – compared to him, I haven’t had a lot of rough times at all.”

But he has been through a mighty lot, I venture, thinking of the absence of his mother, of an often hard-lived life, of the loss of his son Billy to suicide in 1991. “I think there’s some things that can only come out in songs,” Nelson agrees. “You can write a beautiful book, but take verses out of it and put a melody to it and you’ve got another dimension.

“I wrote something the other day that said, ‘I don’t want to write another song, but tell that to my mind!’” he continues, laughing. “‘I just throw them out there and try to make them rhyme.’ I write everywhere, anywhere. I write a lot at home at night.”

“It’s like birthing babies!” Annie says from one of the bus’s built-in sofas. She doesn’t mind; in fact, she stays up listening.

He thinks in lyrics first; the music comes after. “Usually it starts as a poem,” he says. “At some point I’ll get up and go get the guitar and see what kind of melody those words suggest.” A song, he reckons, is just a poem with a melody. I say I’ve always thought that words and melody just naturally found each other in his songs. “Good!” Nelson says. “Fooled ’em again!”

As the Family convenes onstage, dust shines up in the spotlights and a musky cloud wafts up from the front row to meet it. Under the lights, Trigger’s moonfaced complexion is visibly cratered where Nelson has dug into the wood. The crowd is a smoky sea of grizzled grandpas, grandmas in Dwight Yoakam shirts, teenagers whose uncles played them Nelson, people on dates, people in wheelchairs and people who look like they might have just come from the rodeo down the street. Like Nelson says: “There are no political debates in my audiences.” When he and the Family play Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, it is at once pro-weed anthem and as gospel as Hank’s I Saw the Light. Nelson is the poet laureate of the guy in the parking lot; the girl, too.

At last when the house lights go up, a roadie gathers a bunch of rose petals scattered on the stage and tosses them unceremoniously in the direction of a few stragglers. “I don’t want it to be over!” says a veterinarian near me, eyes shining. “Willie’s even better than he was 10 years ago.” Her friend confesses she missed that concert – the last performance she saw here was the Spice Girls, 20 years ago – but in the meantime she has converted to Willie too. “We’re farm girls from Mansfield,” she says, reluctantly following the crowd out of the amphitheatre. The vet glances back at the emptying stage, and as Nelson has just done for us in song, voices the thing we are all thinking inside. “He’s the last of them,” she says. “The last of the real ones.”

My Way by Willie Nelson is out now on Legacy Recordings

Willie Nelson “Pretty Paper” on blue and gold vinyl

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Willie Nelson, “I’m a Memory”

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

New Willie Nelson Album out today! “My Way”

Friday, September 14th, 2018

My Way Tracklist

  1. Fly Me To The Moon
  2. Summer Wind
  3. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
  4. A Foggy Day
  5. It Was A Very Good Year
  6. Blue Moon
  7. I’ll Be Around
  8. Night And Day
  9. What Is This Thing Called Love (with Norah Jones)
  10. Young At Heart
  11. My Way

Willie Nelson on QVC (September 12, 2013)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

On this day in Willie Nelson history in 2013 performed livhe e on QVC in support of his album, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”

Willie Nelson: “One for My Baby (and one more for the road)”

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

www.RollingStone.com
by: Patrick Doyle

Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson were huge fans of each other, even playing a show together and teaming up for a series of PSAs in the 1980s. Nelson pays tribute to his favorite singer on My Way, out this Friday, and just released a video for “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)” that showcases Nelson’s loose, indelible phrasing and jazz skill.

The song – written by Harold and Johnny Mercer – was first performed by Fred Astaire in 1943’s The Sky’s the Limit. But Sinatra made it his own when he recorded it four year later, the first of several versions he made over the years. In Music of the World War II Era, William H. Young and Nancy K. Young write that the song “has transcended time, emerging as possibly the ultimate saloon song and one of Mercer’s most memorable efforts, yet another 1940s song that has absolutely nothing to do with World War II.” Everyone from Chuck Berry to Ella Fitzgerald to Iggy Pop have also recorded the song.

Nelson is currently in the middle of a busy month. He plays this Wednesday at New York’s Forest Hills Stadium with Van Morrison, and is playing East Coast dates of the Outlaw Music Fest and Farm Aid with his son’s groups Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and Particle Kid, and more. “There’s no better feeling,” Nelson says, “than having kids working with you and doing a good job.”

Willie Nelson & friends record “You Gotta Serve Somebody” for ‘Muscle Shoals Small Town Big Sound’ album

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

www.noise11.com
by: Paul Cashmere

Willie Nelson has recorded another version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ for the Muscle Shoals homage album.

Nelson first cut ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ for his 2008 album ‘Moment of Forever’. He added an extra four minutes in length to the Dylan track.

For the new version Willie has teamed with Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton and Lee Ann Womack.

Willie Nelson first recorded at Muscle Shoals in Alabama in 1972. The sessions made up his 17th album ‘Phases and Stages’ in 1974.

Jerry Wexler wanted to record Bob Dylan’s ‘Slow Train Coming’ at Muscle Shoals but instead the album was made in Los Angeles. However, the Muscle Shoals Sound was brought in for the sessions.

Dylan did go to Alabama and record at Muscle Schoals for his next album ‘Saved’.

‘Muscle Shoals Small Town Big Sound’ will be released on 28 September 2018.

Willie Nelson’s original recording of the Bob Dylan song.

Willie Nelson: My Way

Sunday, September 9th, 2018
60 years in the spotlight
www.
by:  Thomas H. Green
Of all the great country superstars of his era, Willie Nelson is truly the last man standing (as was made clear by the title of his last album… Last Man Standing). In his mid-80s his output has, if anything, become more prolific. However, if his 1970s outlaw persona could peek into the future and see what 2018 Willie was up to, he might be surprised. His latest album, a tribute to his old pal Frank Sinatra, has wandered far off into the world of late night jazz bar shuffling.

In truth, Nelson has form in this area. A couple of years ago he released a set of George Gershwin standards – and even as far back as 1978 he was covering Sinatra-friendly cuts such as “On the Sunny Side of the Street” in a jazz style – but My Way still seems especially mellow, bow-tied and urbane.

The truth is these versions of well-worn songs are not vital or necessary but, by the same token, Nelson’s ease with them makes listening likeable. He doesn’t amp up the croon factor or melodrama like so many young Bublé wannabes. He simply inhabits the songs, his voice, with its distinctive quaver, giving the appropriate lived-in feel to cuts such “One for My Baby (and One for the Road)”. His very age brings forth the emotional content of numbers such as “Young at Heart”, the ever-poignant genius of Ervin Drake’s timeless classic “It Was a Very Good Year”, and even lends the hackneyed, over-played “My Way” a little charm.

A commercial selling point may be the appearance of Norah Jones on a rather throwaway version of “What Is This Thing Called Love” but, on the other hand, the album is most especially aided by fine instrumental work, from the 3.00 AM rustling drums to the orchestration of Buddy Cannon and Matt Rollings. Most exceptional of all is some stunning guitar work, both jazzily virtuosic and lazily lovely. By the time the listener reaches the closing “Blue Moon”, even a cynic like this writer, entirely sick of predictable Alexander Armstrong-style “American songbook” bollocks, may be somewhat persuaded by Nelson’s effortless take on it all.

Willie Nelson, “I’ll Be Around”

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

Order album here.

Willie Nelson tribute album to Frank Sinatra, “My Way” (out Sept. 14)

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

www.RollingStone.com
by:  Patrick Doyle

On September 14th, Willie Nelson will release My Way, an album-length tribute to Frank Sinatra. While the concept of a Sinatra tribute LP isn’t new, Nelson’s approach is: He finds new, inventive ways to phrase songs like “Summer Wind” and “My Way,” both in his vocal melodies and with his famous gut-stringed acoustic, Trigger. “I learned a lot about phrasing listening to Frank,” Willie said recently. “He didn’t worry about behind the beat or in front of the beat, or whatever – he could sing it either way, and that’s the feel you have to have.”

My Way Tracklist

  1. Fly Me To The Moon
  2. Summer Wind
  3. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
  4. A Foggy Day
  5. It Was A Very Good Year
  6. Blue Moon
  7. I’ll Be Around
  8. Night And Day
  9. What Is This Thing Called Love (with Norah Jones)
  10. Young At Heart
  11. My Way

Willie Nelson & Friends: Outlaws and Angels

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Willie Nelson on new Michael Martin Murphey album

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

www.Houstonchronicle.com
by: Andrew Dansby

Michael Martin Murphey ropes Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett for new album

Michael Martin Murphey is going back in time, which is not terribly unusual considering his discography full of old cowboy songs, both historic and original. For his new album, though, he left wide open spaces behind for a collection of songs largely drawn from the late-1960s and 1970s in Austin, where he was part of a vibrant music scene.

The record is fittingly titled “Austinology: Alleys of Austin.” It’s out Oct. 5.

Murphey mixes up some of his own ’70s songs (“Alleys of Austin,” “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” “Cosmic Cowboy”) with some by contemporaries like a trio of late greats: Guy Clark (“LA Freeway”), Townes Van Zandt (“Quicksilver Daydreams of Maria”) and Steven Fromholz (“Texas Trilogy”).

Murphey put together a broad guest list for the record. It includes some peers like Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson. And it includes all manner of next-gen singers and songwriters like Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison and Randy Rogers.

And, yes, it will include “Wildfire,” with Amy Grant guesting.

“This album is not just about my songs,” Murphey said. “It’s about what makes a great song, a song that stands the test of time, a song that has a shot of living on in the Great American Songbook tradition.”

Dallas native Murphey was among the more successful of the outsider country singers who sprung from Austin in the 1970s. His music crossed over to a pop audience, with four songs — “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” “Wildfire,” “Carolina in the Pines” and “Renegade” — breaking into the Top 40 in the 1970s.

When Lovett in 1998 made an album of some of his favorite songs by Texas-based songwriters he included Murphey’s “West Texas Highway.”

His last pop hit came in 1982, when “What’s Forever For” reached No. 19. But it topped the country charts, territory Murphey staked out for the rest of the decade. Around that time he delved deep into old cowboy songs, which has been the foundation of his touring act since.

andrew.dansby@chron.com