Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

Willie Nelson talks about new album, “God’s Problem Child”

Saturday, January 14th, 2017
by: Kory Grow

“You can’t watch TV without seeing something about the inauguration,” Willie Nelsonsays with a laugh. Throughout the election cycle, the country singer had voiced support for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Now that the election is over, he has revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that he has written a song titled “Delete and Fast-Forward” for his upcoming album.

When asked about the tune, he speaks some of its lyrics: “Delete and fast-forward, my friend/ The elections are over and nobody wins/ But don’t worry too much, you’ll go crazy again/ Delete and fast forward, my friend.” When Rolling Stone suggests that it may be fast-forwarding only four years, he simply says, “Yeah.”

Much like the song’s lyrics, Nelson is unconcerned about the Trump administration possibly tightening the regulation of marijuana; Nelson owns Willie’s Reserve, a company that legally sells marijuana in Colorado. “Who cares?” he says gruffly about possible changes to the law. “I didn’t have any problem finding [marijuana] when it was illegal, and now that it’s legal, it’s still no problem. Making it illegal again won’t stop people from smoking. They should have learned that back in prohibition days.” (Nelson chuckles when asked about the weed-themed Christmas sweater Snoop Dogg sent him over the holidays. “It’s great; it’s a funny sweater,” he says.)

Nelson’s new LP, God’s Problem Child, will come out in April and will feature many new songs that he wrote with producer Buddy Cannon, who has worked on several Nelson records in recent years. “We have a system that works,” Nelson says of working with Cannon. “I write a verse and he’ll write a verse and next thing you know, we’ve got a song completed. Then we’ll get a melody, and he’ll go in the studio with a band to record it and put his vocal on there. Then when I get a chance, I go in the studio and I’ll record my vocal. Over the years, we put out four or five albums. It’s been really easy to do it that way.”

One of Nelson’s new originals is “Still Not Dead,” which Nelson says he wrote “’cause I’m still not dead.” “I got up two or three times in the last couple of years and read the paper where I’d passed away,” he says. “So I just wanted to let ’em know that’s a lot of horseshit.”

One of Nelson’s new originals is “Still Not Dead,” which Nelson says he wrote “’cause I’m still not dead.”

Nelson doesn’t stress out too much about songwriting, which he’s been doing more of in recent years. Whenever he gets an idea, he writes it down. “It could be anytime, day or night,” he says. And he’s not losing sleep over what he writes and whether or not he’s challenging himself. “I’m just conceited enough to think I can do anything,” he says. “Sometimes I can’t but I thought I could.” But that doesn’t mean he’s not open to other writers’ ideas.

The title track, which Nelson calls “a great song,” was written by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White. White and Nelson’s old buddy, Leon Russell, who died last year, make appearances on the song. “I guess that’s the last song he recorded,” he says of Russell. “I wasn’t in the studio when he did his part. I was gone. Last time I saw Leon was right after the [4th of July] Pi

“He was a great musician, a great singer and songwriter and a good friend,” he continues. “We liked hanging out together.” Russell, after all, was the first person to sign Nelson’s famous guitar, “Trigger.” “He wanted me to sign his guitar, and then he signed mine,” Nelson says.

Another song on the album, whose title Nelson declined to reveal, was written by Cannon’s mother. “His mom is 85 years old and plays the harmonica and she’s writing songs,” Nelson says. “She sang it and he sang it to me. I didn’t get a chance to meet her yet, but she wrote a great country song talking about the old house on the hill. Like Harlan Howard says, ‘A good country song is three chords and the truth.'”

Nelson will continue to spread those truths this year with several tour dates booked around the U.S. He’s also keeping busy with a movie he’s been writing and prepping for an appearance in Woody Harrelson’s upcoming “live movie” Lost in London, which is about a bad night Harrelson had in 2002 when he got arrested for breaking a taxi ashtray. The movie, which is a comedy, will be broadcast around the world in a single take on Thursday. “Woody asked me if I’d do it, and I said yeah,” Nelson says of the latter film. “In the film, he’s going through some problems and I’ll be giving him a little moral support.”

So is Nelson, who’s keeping such a busy schedule and recently wrote “Still Not Dead,” ready for retirement? “After every tour, I think about it, and after a while of not working, I’m ready to play,” he says. “I think I enjoy playing music more than I enjoy not playing music.”

New Willie Nelson album to be released in Spring, “God’s Problem Child”

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Willie Nelson is once again teaming up with his friend and producer, Buddy Cannon, for a new album scheduled to be released in the Spring.  The album, “God’s Problem Child”, will contain a song with Leon Russell, who passed away last year.  Also, the album includes Willie Nelson’s recording of a song written by Lyndel Rhodes, 92-year-old mother of producer Buddy Cannon, entitled “Little House on the Hill.

In these videos,   Buddy plays Willie Nelson’s recording of her song to his mother, and she sings along.  So sweet.

In the Studio with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Vote for Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson on Lone Star Music’s Best of 2016 Reader Poll

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson are included in this poll of over 100 albums.  You can vote every day.  Vote early, vote often.



Cast your votes for your favorite Americana, Texas, and Red Dirt albums of the year.

We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up 100 eligible contenders — from best-sellers and chart-toppers from some of the biggest names in the genre to noteworthy releases by scrappy underdogs, legends, proud independents and buzz-building up-and-comers. All you have to do is scroll through our gallery and pick your favorites.

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

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

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


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 and Larry Butler

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Thanks to Doug Milford for sharing this great picture of two friends in Luck, Texas.

Jun 01, 2000

1. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
2. Half as Much
3. May You Never Be Alone Like Me
4. Move It on Over
5. Wedding Bells
6. Your Cheatin’ Heart
7. Cold Cold Heart
8. My Sweet Love Ain’t Around
9. Hey Good Lookin’
10. Lonesome Whistle, (I Heard That)

Producer:Larry Butler, David Zettner Personnel includes: Larry Butler, Willie Nelson, David Zettner, Bobby Bowman, Charlie Lindsley, Tony Pickens, Ron Kruth. Recorded at Austin, Perdenales Studios, Austin, Texas.


Willie Nelson Interview

Friday, December 9th, 2016
by:  Kevin O’Hare

At the age of 77, Willie Nelson is still riding high and riding strong, touring steadily as always and celebrating the release of his exceptional new album “Country Music.” It’s the latest in a rather astounding catalog of more than 200 albums, some dating back to his earliest days as a songwriter in the early 1960s, when he attracted the interest of stars like Patsy Cline, who famously recorded Nelson’s “Crazy,” and Ray Price, who had a major hit with Nelson’s “Night Life.”

Eventually Nelson shifted from Nashville to Austin where he became a key player in the “country outlaw’ movement that tossed aside every known stereotype about traditional country music of the era. Nelson’s hair got longer, he became well known for smoking marijuana and he turned into a superstar in 1978 with his distinct reworking of pop standards titled “Stardust.”

He began recording at a frenzied pace around this period, making sure to release albums of duets with old friends like Price, Merle Haggard, Leon Russell and many others. Whether he over-saturated the market at the time is still worthy of debate but his concert sales remain strong and steady to this day.

He recently spoke from his home in Texas about his amazing career, famous friends like the late great Cline, his reputation for smoking lots of weed, his new album and his thoughts for the future:

You’ve released more than 200 albums. How in the world can you try and deliver something fresh on the new album “Country Music?”

Well it depends a lot on the songs, the producers and the musicians. With this particular album “Country Music” it was a no brainer. T Bone Burnett knows this music as well as anyone. I’m sure it was easy for him to come up with great musicians and come up with some great songs. “Dark as a Dungeon,” “Oceans of Diamonds” and all those great songs that we’ve all heard and sung for many years but they’ve been sort of lost in the shuffle along the way and he was sharp enough to put them all together and say “Hey let’s do these again.”

What was it like working with T Bone Burnett and how did you guys get to first know each other?

Well, we’re old Texas buddies, he’s from Ft. Worth and I’m from somewhere around there. I’ve known about him for years and years. His wife and my wife were buddies. We played golf together not too long ago and talked about doing something. He’d just had the “Crazy Heart” movie and I felt maybe it’d be a good time for us to do a CD together and I just turned it over to him really.

There’s a great song on the album called “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down.” Do you see Satan in the world around us? If so, where?

Well of course. We all see things that are the opposite of peace and love so we put a name on it and it’s Satan. No matter what your thoughts and beliefs are, God is good, Satan is hate. And that’s just the way it is. We who sing gospel songs talk about God and Satan as mortal enemies. In this particular song, it’s an old traditional, it’s a wonderful song.

“I’ve been promising myself to take it easy on myself and not work so hard so we’ll see how it goes.”

– Willie Nelson

“Pistol Packin’ Mama.” Tell me a little about the song.

That song has been in my repertoire for a long, long time. Al Dexter, who originally recorded it, was a friend of mine, we knew each other back in the old days back in Ft. Worth. I’ve sung the song a lot. When T Bone brought it to the session I said “Hey where’s that song been?”

Speaking of “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” who’s the craziest woman you ever had a relationship with?

(extended laughter) How much time you got?

I got the time, if you’ve got the money.

I probably shouldn’t put names on them but there are a few (laughs).

When you had the huge breakthrough in the 1970s with “Red Headed Stranger” and then “Stardust” you started recording albums at an amazing pace. Did you ever worry that you might be over-saturating the market?

Well I was sort of warned that I could, but there really wasn’t a lot that I wanted to do about it because this was my shot and I had a chance to get stuff, record it and get it out there. I felt I could do it, I wasn’t overloading myself. I might have been overloading the record companies and their ability to market all that stuff. I could see where they were coming from.

There was some talk years ago that you might do an album of duets with Bob Dylan. Whatever happened to that?

It was an idea that is still a good idea that may or may not happen. As close as we came, we did write one song together, we were gonna write a whole album and then record it but we ended up doing one song together. He hummed a melody and cut a track and it went like (Nelson sings melody). What it wound up being was (“Heartland”) “There’s a home place under fire tonight in the heartland … My American dream fell apart at the seams.” He wrote it a little bit, I wrote it a little bit, we went into the studio and cut it.

On April 30 you turned 77. You’re still playing about 200 dates every year. How can you keep that up?

I don’t know, it’s crazy and I’ll probably slack off a little bit. I’ve been promising myself to take it easy on myself and not work so hard so we’ll see how it goes.

I interviewed B.B. King a few years ago and he said the same thing but I don’t think he’s slowed down too much either.

No but it’s in the back of our minds. We know that we’re down here rounding third so it’s really whether we want to slide into home or just kind of trot across (laughs).

You take a lot of kidding for your rather legendary marijuana smoking. Larry King seemed startled that you had smoked up before appearing on his show recently. When did you start and do you ever see a day when you’ll stop?

Oh, I have stopped before and gone days and days and days. It’s not as though if I don’t get marijuana I get headaches. There have been cases where if I smoked too much my lungs get congested and I lay off awhile. Things are getting so simple now. In California and about 12, 15 different states you can buy edibles and you can get high eating candy. It’s not necessary to destroy your lungs anymore smoking if you just want to get high.

Is your bus as bad as Toby Keith says?

Toby can’t handle it (laughs) He’s a little wimpy in that department. He’s the first to admit it. God love him.

A few years ago you took up running. Are you still doing that?

I went out for a little run today. I don’t run as far or as fast as I used to but I still try and get in a few steps a day.

You’re still golfing?

I’ve had to stop golfing for awhile because I hurt my arm … golfing naturally. So I’ve not been golfing for about three months now.

That must be killing you.

Well, it’s good enough for me I guess, if I had a better swing I wouldn’t have done it.

Hopefully you’ll be back on the course soon.

One of these days, but I had a ruptured bicep from overdoing something and then I tore the rotator in my left arm. My left side is a little bit out but it will get better.

Can you tell me a little bit about Patsy Cline?

Well, she was the greatest female vocalist maybe all around ever, but for sure, for country, that I ever heard. There’s this joke. After Patsy Cline did “Crazy” and everyone else has tried it, and this joke is really not meant to hurt anybody else’s feelings but when they say “How many girl singers does it take to sing “Crazy” and they answered “All of them.” But as Patsy Cline nailed it, who else since then, it’s like Ray Charles singing “Georgia.” I had enough nerve to cover him but I never thought I did as good a job on it as he did.

Were you and Patsy close?

Yeah, we toured together and … I first met her one night back there in Tootsies Bar, drinking a little beer and her husband Charlie Dick was there and we were talking, listening to some songs that I’d just brought up from Texas. I had Tootsie put a couple of 45s on her jukebox. One of them had “Crazy” and “Night Life.” And Charlie Dick just really loved “Crazy” and wanted to play it for Patsy. We went over to his house and he wanted me to go in and meet Patsy and I wouldn’t do it. I said “No it’s late and we’re drinking, I don’t want to wake her up. He said “Aw she’ll be fine.” I didn’t go in. He went in and then she came out and got me and made me go in. She was a wonderful person, fixed us coffee, was just a great gal. I got to know her real well, we toured some together and she was just great.

\You were in the Highwaymen. What are your favorite memories of playing and touring with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and you all in one band?

Well every night was a great show for me ‘cause I was way over on the right and I got to see three of my heroes perform all night long all over the world. It doesn’t get any better than that.

What was it like after the shows?

Well we had all our families with us. Most of our wild days were behind us by the time we got together in the Highwaymen. Actually the last two or three times we went on tour, we had all our kids and families and went to Singapore and Australia and different places. We had 278 pieces of luggage.

Who had the idea of the four of you working together?

We had gone to Switzerland to do a Christmas show with Johnny Cash and June Carter. They invited me and Waylon and Kris to play on their Christmas show. We were having a photo session one day and the photographer said “What are you all going to Switzerland for?” And we said. “That’s where Jesus was born.” And the photographer said “Oh, ok.” We laughed about that awhile. We did that and decided it was a lot of fun and thought maybe we should do some records together. Someone, I forget who it was, had the song “The Highwayman,” the Jimmy Webb song. We played it and liked it and thought this might be something we want to do.

How long did it take you to record the new album “Country Music?”

A couple of minute s (laughs) It was really quick. Everyone knew the songs. Most of the things we did in one or two takes, it doesn’t take long to record when you do it that way.

You’re not a seven, or eight or nine take guy anyway are you?

No, three’s my limit. Usually I get it in one ‘cause usually we do not press the record button until we know just what we’re doing. Then once that happens I like to do two more just for insurance in case I’m not hearing something. But a lot of times I take the first take.

Of the movies you have made, which one is your favorite and why?

I liked “Barbarosa” and “Red Headed Stranger.” Hell, I enjoyed doing “The Songwriter” and “A Pair of Aces” with Kris. With “The Songwriter,” Kris and I always had a lot of fun. As far as “Red Headed Stranger” and “Barbarosa,” I like horses a lot and I got along with them ok so that was always fun where I could ride a horse or play my guitar.

Speaking of your guitar, your Martin guitar has a huge hole in it. That hole was there back in the 1970s. Has it gotten bigger and how long can you keep playing it?

It’ll last longer than I do probably. It still plays fine. I have to take it in every few years and have them do a reinforcement in the inside to make sure it hasn’t collapsed anymore in there. But right now it’s in fine shape, it’ll last longer that I will.

You have a lot of signatures on there right?

Well the first person I heard of anybody signing their guitar was Leon Russell and he asked me to sign his. I said “Sure” and I started to sign it with a marker and he said “No scratch it in there with a knife.” He had a knife there so I scratched my name with a knife. Then I said “Now that I’ve done yours why don’t’ you do mine?” So I had him scratch his name on Trigger (the name of Nelson’s guitar), he was the first one I had on there.

How is Leon Russell doing, I’d heard he’s been sick.

I think he’s doing fine. I think he and Elton John are doing an album together and he’s supposed to play my 4th of July picnic down in Austin so I think he’s doing better.

You two made a great album, “One For the Road”

We have another one that’s in the can that we’re waiting to put out.

When did you record it?

Last year sometime.

What songs did you do?

We did some country things that I like, some Vern Gosdin things. We did “My Cricket and Me, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash, “Chiseled in Stone,” a lot of different songs that we like.

What do you still want to achieve and what are you working on next?

Honestly, I want to achieve this tour (laughs). It’s been a long one. Then I can figure out what I want to do next. Once it’s over with, I want to rest a while and then I can figure out what I want to do next. So far we’ve had a good year, the album’s doing good, I really don’t have a lot to worry about anything right now.”

The Essential Willie Nelson

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016


Billy Joe Shaver says it best when it comes to Willie Nelson: “Willie Nelson is everybody’s brother.” And in the country music world he is. He’s performed with virtually every artist in the genre and the new artists in every genre flock to be able to say they shared the stage with Willie. Like many artists his age, 70 year-old Willie Nelson has recorded albums for a lot of labels. He’s seen numerous greatest hits packages and best of collections but never before has there been a collection of the best songs from his entire career; until now.

To kick off his 70th year on the planet, Columbia/Legacy has secured agreements with each of the labels Willie has recorded with in the past to create a vital collection simply titled The Essential Willie Nelson.Containing 41 songs over the course of 2 CDs, the collection is truly one of the best albums to be released in a long time.

To many, Willie Nelson is the Red-Headed Stranger with the funny guitar with a hole in it. To others he’s the wild outlaw from Texas. To yet another set of people, Willie is virtually the ambassador for all of music. Quite simply, Willie Nelson is all of those men rolled into one unique gifted poet who overtime has become a stylist.

Starting out in 1961 on a tiny label called “Bellaire Records” with the song “Night Life”(later a hit for Don Ho and others) Willie showed off both a solid voice and writing ability.

Those who hear the next couple tracks, “Hello Walls” and “Crazy”will not realize that, while Willie recorded these songs after they were hits for other people, he is the writer of them. The average fan who knows these standards will identify them with their singers Faron Young and Patsy Cline. Along with these stellar renditions of timeless classics (these tracks are from the early 1960’s for Liberty Records).

After a minor chart hit for Monument Records with the Tex-Mex styling of “I Never Cared For You,” Willie went on to have some more minor success with Chet Atkins’ RCA Records. “Party’s Over” features a countrypolitan style from Willie that really didn’t seem to fit him. His follow up single, “Good Times” went on to be a bigger hit in 1981 (from a greatest hits collection released during a red hot time for Willie). From there Willie recorded and released a few singles for Atlantic Records (as their first country artist). Produced by the famed producer Arif Mardin, the song “Shotgun Willie” would be the first song to showcase Willie’s own style and begin the process of creative control that would go on to change the way that Nashville does business. Also recorded during this time Willie’s “Bloody Mary Morning”became his first Top 15 hit in 1974.

In 1975 Willie released his first song from the Red-Headed Stranger album “Blue Eyes Cryin’ On The Rain”and Fred Rose’s 1945 composition became a smash hit and Willie’s first No. 1 hit song. The song literally changed 1970’s Nashville from pop oriented songs to a more organic sound that was prevalent on albums by Willie and friends for the majority of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Always a man who liked to record songs with his friends, Willie got that ball rolling with his songs with his “partner in crime” Waylon Jennings. “Good Hearted Woman” went on to become a smash hit and the version from the first platinum album Wanted: The Outlawsis a wonderful achievement of both song and friendship.

Another standout duet by Waylon and Willie is the classic “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” It’s one of those western steel guitar drenched songs that has been covered by numerous people since the original from the Waylon and Williealbum.

The pundits all said that a concept album like Red-Headed Stranger wouldn’t work, and it did. They said that again when Willie released the album Stardust. All that record did was become the longest charting country music album of all time (and second all time to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon). Produced by Booker T. Jones, the album had covers of standards like “Georgia On My Mind,” “Blue Skies” and “All Of Me.”

Another of the “Outlaws” from the 1970’s was Kris Kristofferson. Willie saw fit to record a slew of this poet’s songs on one record with the best track represented on this record. That track is the beautiful love ballad, “Help Me Make It Through The Night.”

Perhaps one of his better known hits, “On The Road Again” was a song that ushered in the 1980’s with the film Honeysuckle Rose. It’s a wonderful recording with a classic style that Willie has become known for, making music with his friends.

Another of the songs from the Honeysuckle Rose soundtrack is the beautiful track “Angel Flying To Close To The Ground.” It’s a bluesy ballad about a woman who had fallen to the ground only to be caught by a man who fixes her up and falls in love with her.

The lush and beautiful “Always On My Mind”is one of my all-time favorite songs and it shows a different side to Willie. It’s one of those songs that say stuff that men cannot normally say to their loved ones.

The fun songs “Pancho And Lefty” and “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before”paired Willie with one of his close friends, and a man whom most wouldn’t connect with Willie. Merle Haggard and Willie dueted on Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho” while Willie teamed with pop star Julio Iglesias on the lush “Girls.” Both again show that Willie loves to sing duets as much as he does his own songs.

When Willie recorded Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind” it gave Ray the idea for Willie to sing a song with him on his own record. The fruit of their labor was the song “Seven Spanish Angels”which became a smash hit in 1984. Of all the duet partners other than Waylon Jennings, Ray Charles sounds the best with Willie.

With its lush production, “The Highwaymen”served as the first single and title track for both the super group of Waylon, Willie, Kristofferson and Cash and their first of three CD’s. The song is a nice slice of country music history.

In 1986, Willie recorded David Lynn Jones’ “Living In The Promiseland”and took it to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. It is a song that shows the uniqueness that is America, and how America is the “promised land” for many people. The whole song is an exquisite piece of 1980’s country music.

After a few more hits for Columbia Records, Willie went on to record when he felt like it in the 1990’s returning to the charts with the Grammy winning duet “Mendocino County Line” in 2002 with Lee Ann Womack. Also featured on this CD are a couple of rare duets with the rock band’s Aerosmith and U2. While not really “Essential” tracks, they show that Willie is willing to work with everyone.

With 41 tracks, The Essential Willie Nelsonis the CD to own if you don’t own any of Willie Nelson’s stuff and will only make you wanna dig deeper into his large collection of songs and albums.

Song List:

Disc 1:

Night Life
Hello Walls
Funny How Time Slips Away
I Never Cared For You
The Party’s Over
Good Times
Me And Paul
Shotgun Willie
Bloody Mary Morning
Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain
Good Hearted Woman(with Waylon Jennings)
If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got The Time
Uncloudy Day
Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys (with Waylon Jennings)
Georgia On My Mind
Blue Skies
All Of Me
Heartbreak Hotel(with Leon Russell)
Help Me Make It Through The Night
Whiskey River(Live)
Stay A Little Longer (Live)
Disc 2:

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
Faded Love(with Ray Price)
On The Road Again
Angel Flying To Close To The Ground
Always On My Mind
Last Thing I Need First Thing In The Morning
Pancho And Lefty(with Merle Haggard)
To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before(with Julio Iglesias)
City Of New Orleans
Seven Spanish Angels(with Ray Charles)
Forgiving You Was Easy
Highwaymen(with Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash)
Living In The Promiseland
Nothing I Can Do About It Now
Everywhere I Go(with Emmylou Harris)
Slow Dancing(with U2 and Mickey Raphael on Harmonica)
Mendocino County Line(with Lee Ann Womack)
One Too Many Times (with Aerosmith)

Bobbie Nelson

Monday, November 28th, 2016

By Todd Money

Getting a job working for your sibling isn’t always the easiest or most advisable career move.

Bobbie Nelson, the sister of musical legend Willie Nelson, made the most of it.

Never a stranger to music herself, Bobbie had played the Texas honky-tonks with younger brother Willie when they were in their teens, in a band with Bobbie’s husband and Ira Nelson, their guitar-playing father. But when her husband died in a car accident, she was left to raise three sons on her own. That brought her to business school in Fort Worth, Texas, where she aimed to learn secretarial skills.

It was music, though, that led to her first job out of college, with the Hammond Organ Co., where she was hired for her office skills – and her ability to demonstrate the company’s organs. Before long, she was working as a piano entertainer in restaurants, eventually making her living as a pianist in Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn.

It was in the early 1970s when brother Willie, who had just signed a recording deal with Atlantic Records, asked Bobbie to join his band. Her playing mixed well with the rest of the band’s free-wheeling style on hits such as “Whiskey River” and “If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time,” and more than 35 years and countless albums and concerts later, brother and sister are still playing together.

Recently, the lesser-known Bobbie has garnered a little spotlight of her own. In 2007, at the age of 76, she released “Audiobiography,” a debut album that shows off her understated and romantic playing style on some of her favorite tunes.


Track List:

  1. Back To Earth (With Willie Nelson)
  2. Boogie Woogie
  3. Crazy
  4. Death Ray Boogie
  5. Stardust
  6. The House Of Blue Lights
  7. Deep Purple
  8. 12th Street Rag
  9. Sabor A Mi
  10. Down Yonder
  11. Laura
  12. Until Tomorrow (With Willie Nelson)

Bobbie Nelson, sister of legendary singer-songwriter Willie Nelson, talks about her career, her brother and life on the road.  Recently, Bobbie talked about where they’ve been.

Question: How’s it going on the tour?

Bobbie Nelson:  This is a great tour. We’ve just done Farm Aid up in Massachusetts, and I’m in New Jersey tonight, and we do Connecticut tomorrow night, and then we do (New York’s) Radio City Music Hall the next night, so we’ll be out a couple more weeks. Everything’s going very well. I’m very grateful.

Q:  You guys still share a tour bus, from what I understand, and you’ve been playing for 35 years or so. How do you kill time on the bus?

BN:  Willie is very busy, and he has all of his office there on the bus – his computers and phones and everything – so he actually does his office thing right there on the bus, and then we have our instruments. He’s got his guitar, and I have an electric keyboard … I can pull this little keyboard out, and we can practice and play music.

Q:  Musically speaking, it seems like Willie’s always had a thing for these really super-complex chords and neat chord changes and stuff. How much of that is your doing?

BN:  You know, we listened to the radio as we were growing up and listened to all kinds of music. That was, of course, during the big-band era, as well as all the border stations and all the country music that we listened to. He actually likes all the different kinds of music, the Latin rhythms and all the different, beautiful chords. He loves a lot of the jazz things.

Q: You can tell, just in the songs he’s covered over the years, how diverse his interests are.

BN:  Yes! I love chords, too, and as you study piano, you get into all of that. … And the music we grew up with in the church – those hymns have a lot of beautiful harmony.

Q:  Are you surprised that so many of these songs over the years have become classics? Do you think Willie knows a song is a classic when he comes up with it?

BN:  No, I don’t think so. … When he writes, he just writes, and I don’t think he’s really ever thought, “I’m gonna write a song that’s gonna be a classic or a hit.” He’s just composing. He’s just letting go of some of his feelings and his thoughts that he’s got.

Q: You came out with an album last year. How did you pick the songs that went on that?

BN:  Willie had scheduled studio time, because he had written a couple of new songs. So we were off the road during our holiday season … We were waiting for (guitar player) Jody (Payne) to get back, to get to Austin. So Willie just said, “Sister Bobbie, why don’t you just go up there and warm up that old piano?”

“So I went in the studio and just started playing this beautiful piano. I just was playing some of these songs I used to play when I played by myself, and also some of the boogies and things that we played when we were kids. And they recorded it. I didn’t know they were recording me. ”

(Justice Records owner) Randall Jamail, we were having lunch one day, and we were talking about it, and I said, “I’ve had people ask me why I don’t write my autobiography. And I always feel that I can do it better with music, because my life and Willie’s life have just been music.” And he said, “Well, that’s what we’ll call your album – ‘Audiobiography.’ ”

Q: Do you have any plans to put out any more music?

BN:  They’re asking me if I will record some more … maybe if we’re off during the holiday season again this year, maybe I’ll have a little time to put into that.

Q:  Obviously, growing up with Willie, you’ve got a lot of interesting stories. Is there anything that people would be surprised to find out about Willie?

BN:  I don’t know, we’ve both done a lot of interviews … Willie has always been a wonderful person. He was a fun-loving kid, and he’s a fun-loving man. We have a lot of fun, and we both have the same feelings about wanting to make Earth a better place and making a better place for our children, and just to help humanity in general.

Q:  If there’s one thing that’s been the secret to you guys’ success over the years, what would it be?

BN:  Our grandmother took us to church every Sunday, and we were at prayer meeting every Wednesday night, and choir practice once or twice a week, and Bible school. The teachings that we were taught when we were growing up – our grandmother being one of these teachers … She had a love for music, as did my grandfather – so our lives have been about music. Learning music and performing it, and always trying to improve ourselves with our talents. I think that’s what has meant more to us than anything else, is the love we feel for others and the love we feel for music and performing it.

Willie Nelson, “Across the Borderline”

Sunday, November 27th, 2016


On March 23, 1993, Willie Nelson’s ‘Across the Borderline’, his 35th album for Columbia Records, was released.

American Tune
Getting Over You (with Bonnie Raitt)
Most Original Sin
Don’t Give Up
Across the Borderline
Farther Down the Line
What Was it You Wanted?
I Love the Life I Live
If I Were the Man that You Wanted
She’s Not for You
Still is Still Moving to Me

Record producer Don Was has enjoyed a dazzlingly diverse career since emerging from Oak Park in the early ’80s. Here he recounts some of his professional highlights, from his elemental rap record with Detroit’s Felix & Jarvis to his Grammy-winning work with Bonnie Raitt.

Willie Nelson, “Across the Borderline” (1993):    “This is one of my favorites. The title song was recorded in Dublin, live in the studio in one take! After we finished tracking the song, we asked the engineer to mix it for us right away.  A mix can take a while and Willie had no desire to sit around the studio all day.  So he rolled a spliff and informed the engineer that the mix would be considered finished when the joint was smoked three-fourths of the way down.  Sure enough, we had a completed record 20 minutes later.  It’s the best track on the album!”

Willie Nelson, “Funny, How Time Slips Away”

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

For today’s listening enjoyment: Willie Nelson, “American Classic”

Monday, November 21st, 2016


Having a nice morning listening to Willie Nelson albums.  #classifytheseasegoodtimes

Willie Nelson, “Phases and Stages”

Monday, November 21st, 2016


by: Egil Mosbron

..this is not just one of Willie Nelson’s best records, but one of the great concept albums overall.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (


Bloody Mary Morning:

It’s a Bloody Mary morning,
Baby left me without warning
Sometime in the night
So I’m flyin’ down to Houston
Forgetting her’s the nature of my flight

STUDIO Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Atlantic Records
PRODUCER Jerry Wexler

Phases and Stages is a 1974 album by Willie Nelson, which followed the moderate success of his first Atlantic Records release, Shotgun Willie. Nelson met producer Jerry Wexler at a party where Nelson sang songs from an unreleased album he had recorded in 1972. The single “Phases and Stages” was originally recorded the same year. Nelson re-recorded the album at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in two days and Wexler produced it.

The album narrates the story of a divorce. Side one tells the woman’s story and side two the man’s. Released on March 1974, the album peaked at number 34 on Billboard?’s Top Country Albums and the single “Bloody Mary Morning” reached number 17 on Billboard?’s Country singles. Despite the chart positions attained by the album, and its singles, Atlantic Records closed their Country music division in September 1974.


Although the musical concept-theme that pops up here and there is unnecessarily explicit, the songs more than justify it. On the woman’s side of the breakup, try “Washing the Dishes” (soap gets in your eyes) or “Sister’s Coming Home”/”Down at the Corner Beer Joint” (going home to mother as non-joke); on the man’s, “It’s Not Supposed to Be That Way” (but it is) and “Pick Up the Tempo” (on the rebound). What’s more, Nelson’s combination of soft-spoken off-key and battered honky-tonk matches the bare, responsive country music Jerry Wexler has gotten out of the Muscle Shoals regulars. Payoff: the two Mike Lewis string arrangements are actually climactic. A-
~Robert Christgau (

Phases and Stages (Theme) / No Love Around:

I come home last Saturday morning I come home and found you gone
Well there was a note tacked on my door said your baby don’t love you anymore
Well I got dressed up and I went downtown I got dressed up and I went downtown
Well I walked up and I walked down
Well there weren’t no love there weren’t no love around

The single “Phases and Stages” was first released in 1972. Nelson had previously recorded the album Phases and Stages in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1973, Nelson re-recorded the songs in two days at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio for Atlantic Records with musicians David Hood, Barry Beckett, Jimmy Johnson, Pete Carr and Roger Hawkins. Atlantic Records’ executives criticized Wexler’s decision to record in Muscle Shoals instead of Nashville, Tennessee.

They said Muscle Shoals was too R&B for Willie. I said Willie was too R&B for Nashville.
~Jerry Wexler



Phases and Stages / Walkin’:

After carefully considerin’ the whole situation
I stand with my back to the wall
Walkin’ is better than runnin’ away
And crawlin’ ain’t no good at all

And if guilty’s the question
Truth is the answer
I’ve been lyin’ to me all alone
There ain’t nothin’ worth savin’
Except one another
And before you’ll wake up
I’ll be gone
Cause after carefully considerin’ the whole situation
I stand with my back to the wall
Walkin’ is better than runnin’ away
And crawlin’ ain’t no good at all


side one
1. “Phases and Stages (Theme)” / “Washing the Dishes” 0:42
2. “Phases and Stages (Theme)”/ “Walkin’” 4:06
3. “Pretend I Never Happened” 3:00
4. “Sister’s Coming Home” / “Down at the Corner Beer Joint” 3:46
5. “(How Will I Know) I’m Falling in Love Again” 3:27

Side two
No. Title Length
1. “Bloody Mary Morning” 2:48
2. “Phases and Stages (Theme)” / “No Love Around” 2:24
3. “I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone” 4:15
4. “It’s Not Supposed to Be That Way” 3:27
5. “Heaven and Hell” 1:52
6. “Phases and Stages (Theme)” / “Pick Up the Tempo” / “Phases and Stages (Theme)”–


  • Willie Nelson – acoustic guitar, vocals
  • Fred Carter, Jr. – acoustic, 12-string, & electric guitars, dobro
  • Pete Carr – acoustic & electric guitars, dobro, background vocals on “Pick Up the Tempo”
  • John Hughey – pedal steel guitar
  • Johnny Gimble – fiddle, mandolin
  • Barry Beckett – keyboards
  • David Hood – bass
  • Roger Hawkins – drums
  • Eric Weissberg – banjo on “Down at the Corner Beer Joint”
  • Al Lester – fiddle on “Bloody Mary Morning”
  • Jeannie Greene – background vocals on “Pick Up the Tempo”
  • George Soulé – background vocals on “Pick Up the Tempo”
  • Mike Lewis – string arrangements on “I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone” and “It’s Not Supposed to Be that Way”
  • Jerry Wexler – producer

Sister’s Coming Home:

Willie Nelson sings with Dallas Wayne on newest album, “Songs the Jukebox Taught Me”

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Singer, songwriter, Sirius Satellite Radio on-air personality Dallas Wayne invited nine friends to sing with him on his  14 country classics on his newest album, Songs the Jukebox Taught Me on Heart of Texas Records. Wayne sings classic tunes with friends Willie Nelson,  Amber Digby, Bobby Flores, Randy Lindley, Darrell and Mona McCall, Paula Nelson,, Jeannie Seely and Kevin Smith.

This song is included on Dallas Wayne’s new album, “Songs The Jukebox Taught Me

You can order the album here.

Track List:

Your Time’s Comin’ with Willie Nelson
Who’ll Turn Out The Lights In Your World Tonight
A Dime At A Time
Yesterday’s Gone with Paula Nelson
Sea Of Heartbreak
Devil In The Bottle
Three Days
No Relief In Sight
It Just Doesn’t Seem To Matter with Jeannie Seely
Skip A Rope
Eleven Roses with Darrell & Mona McCall
Sun Comin’ Up
She Always Got What She Wanted
Stop The World And Let Me Off.

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, “Two Men With the Blues”

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis’ collaboration, “Two Men With The Blues”, filmed at two concerts the artists did in January, 2008,in New York City. 

“Well, the first thing about Willie, is his integrity.  He’s been travelling up and down the road for so many years on his bus.  He’s of that last group of a certain breed of musicians.”

— Wynton Marsalis