Thanks to Brad Wheeler, from Salt Lake City, from KRCL 90.9FM, for the photo.
Band of Brothers, the new Willie Nelson studio album, is entering the Billboard 200 best-selling albums chart at #5, marking Willie’s highest debut and highest position on America’s popular albums chart since Always On My Mind peaked there for four weeks at #2 in 1982.
Willie’s latest is also debuting at #1 on the Billboard Country chart, making Band of Brothers his first #1 Country album since The Promiseland hit the top slot in 1986.
With Band of Brothers sitting high on the nation’s Pop and Country charts, Natural Renegade, a Willie Nelson retrospective collection originally released in 2007, has also returned to the charts, coming in at #7 on the Top Catalog albums chart.
Willie’s second Top 10 album in less than a year–its predecessor, To All The Girls…, entered the Billboard 200 at #9 (and the Country chart at #2) in October 2013–Band of Brothers premieres 14 studio tracks including nine brand-new songs composed by America’s quintessential pop/country songwriter. Willie’s first album of predominately newly-written original material since 1996?s Spirit album, Band of Brothers is already drawing praise from music press and fans alike as a welcome return-to-form from the master tunesmith.
All 14 tracks on Band of Brothers are new recordings and none of the songs have been previously recorded by Willie Nelson.
“We have had many, many great musical performers and music acts on this stage, and this theatre has seen the best of the best,” said host David Letterman recently, introducing Willie Nelson to his Late Show audience, adding, “No one better than this guy….”
It’s a sentiment echoed by NPR, who devoted a section of their online music home page to a “first listen” to Band of Brothers and conducted an extensive, lively interview with Willie on “All Things Considered” on June 15, with host Arun Rath calling the artist, simply “such a great songwriter.”
“The master songwriter turns in his strongest tunes in ages,” wrote Rolling Stone. “A minute into Willie Nelson’s new set of songs – largely self-penned for a change – it’s clear the man who wrote Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ 50-some years ago has lost neither verve nor cojones.”
The New York Times called Band of Brothers “…a serenely feisty autumnal statement from the singer, who formed his sage, grizzled persona decades ago. [...] his relaxed, quavery, behind-the beat vocals and his acoustic lead guitar always made him a voice of maturity. The sly versatility of his style has allowed him to cruise through many albums of collaborations, covers and tributes to vintage country music. But ‘Band of Brothers’–with nine of its 14 songs written by Mr. Nelson and Buddy Cannon, the album’s producer–is set in the present. At 81, Mr. Nelson has more right to be autumnal than ever. That doesn’t mean he’s retreating….”
“Of course when it comes to country nonconformists, Nelson not only wrote the book, he published it and put it on the shelves. Country’s original Outlaw has spent decades proving it’s possible to be an icon and an iconoclast at the same time,” wrote CMT in a review of Willie Nelson & the Family’s recent performance at Radio City Music Hall, testifying to Willie’s on-stage power and charisma. “Watching Nelson work his magic as he did at Radio City is a thrilling experience….as if Nelson was venturing ever further on a high wire without losing his footing.”