Archive for the ‘Bobbie Nelson’ Category

Willie Nelson and Family

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

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

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

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

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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)

“Stand up, Little Sister, and let everyone see you.” — Willie Nelson

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

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It’s a highlight of every Willie Nelson & Family show.  While Willie Nelson’s set list changes every night, he always calls on his sister Bobbie to play a solo.  It is such a treat to hear her play, whatever song Willie calls out to her.  And at the end, he always asks her to stand so her fans can see her.   There is so much love between them.

 

Last Year’s Austin Rodeo 2014 (March 9, 2014)

Monday, March 16th, 2015

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Willie Nelson, Kevin Smith

Remember these great photos from Janis Tillerson, from the Austin Rodeo last year?    Thanks so much ,Janis.

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Bobbie Nelson

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Mickey Raphael

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Kevin Smith, Paul English

Willie and Bobbie Nelson, “December Day”

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson  music video from their new album, “December Day”.

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 Family

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

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www.WillieNelson.com

Willie and Bobbie Nelson

Friday, January 16th, 2015

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Carl’s Corner, Texas

Willie and Bobbie Nelson: Willie’s Stash Vol. 1: December Day (bring on volume 2)

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

www.theaustralian.com.au
by: Polly Coufos

Willie’s Stash Volume 1: December Day

Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie

(Legacy/Sony)

4 stars

WITH Willie’s Stash Volume 1 country music legend Willie Nelson, 81, kicks off a series of archive releases with an album featuring his older sister and long standing piano player in his road band, Bobbie, 83. Together, with support from Willie’s 40-year-plus musical foil, harmonica player Mickey Raphael, and a little colour from other members of his band, the octogenarian siblings have fashioned an unrefined gem that matches songs from their youth with a slew of Willie’s lesser known classics and a couple of new originals.

Recorded at Nelson’s home studio, Pedernales Country Club, in Luck, Texas, the goal was to emulate the nightly jamming between the pair on Willie’s tour bus, The Honeysuckle Rose, as they travel the highways of America. Bobbie is in typical supportive role, taking brief solos, but for the most part keeping out of the spotlight. Willie is his unassuming self, never appearing to demand attention but somehow taking it all the same.

The results very much carry the gentle touch of his breakthrough album, 1975’s Red Headed Stranger. The red may have long since disappeared from his locks but with his second album of 2014, Nelson continues to make music that only enhances his legacy.

The opener Alexander’s Ragtime Band begins with Bobbie punching out Irving Berlin’s timeless melody. Raphael is then heard honking in the background, soon to be joined by the unmistakable sound of Nelson’s guitar, Trigger, as they set the swinging scene for the arrival of Willie’s vocal. He slides into the song he has been singing since childhood with an inferred energy that belies his age. He muffs a word in the second verse, but the mistake does nothing but highlight the casual air that hangs over all 18 tracks. In a world where recordings are too often polished within an inch of their life, Willie and Bobbie sound like they are making music simply for the joy of it.

There is no sense that the pair are claiming to present definitive versions of Alexander’s Ragtime Band or Al Jolson’s The Anniversary Song but, as ever, once covered they instantly become Willie songs. As a master songwriter himself, Nelson shows the utmost respect to the source material but always bends any material to sound like it was tailored for him.

The Great American Songbook has not had a better friend and as well as the two songs just mentioned the Nelsons tackle Mona Lisa, Always and What’ll I Do.

Nelson has always been able to convince a listener he has lived the songs he’s sung and he retains that power. He revisits some of his choice ballads such as I Let My Mind Wander, December Day and Permanently Lonely and nestles them in next to the more popular songs without missing a beat.

Bring on Volume 2.

Polly Coufos

Bobbie Nelson and Lukas Nelson

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

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Willie Nelson and Family, NYE (Austin City Limits) 2014

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

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photo: Janis Tillerson

I know you are as happy as I am when you hear Janis Tillerson is going to a Willie Nelson & Family show. We fans get photos like this. Thanks, again, Janis. She took all these photos.

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Bobbie Nelson

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Paul English

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Mickey Raphael and Billy Gibbons.

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Billy English

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Kevin Smith

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Mickey Raphael

Willie Nelson & Family, and fans (NYE, Austin City Limits)

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

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Willie Nelson, Bobbie Nelson and Paul English spent a long time after the NYE’s show, signing autographs and shaking hands.   Janis Tillerson is holding onto a guitar that belongs to a woman, who would like Willie to sign her guitar.   Willie, Paul, Bobbie all signed the guitar.  Plus, Willie tossed his first bandanna to her that night.  She was crying by the end of the evening, just feeling that love.
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Guitar Pick of the Day: Willie Nelson and Sister Bobby, ‘December Day’

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

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Willie Nelson gets it right again

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

www.mcalesternews.com
by:  James Bealy

Willie’s Nelson’s new album “December Day” is as smooth as lightly-falling snow and warm as a glowing fireplace on a winter’s afternoon.

Nelson already scored a number one hit earlier this year with “Band of Brothers,” an album filled with backing by ace session musicians and featuring slick production.

The new “December Day” album is subtitled “Willie’s Stash Vol. 1” by “Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie.” It’s vastly different than “Band of Brothers.” With a few exceptions, the only musicians on most tracks are Willie on guitar and vocals, his sister, Bobbie Nelson, on piano and band member Mickey Raphael on harmonica.

This album doesn’t feature the rollicking outlaw who is in the forefront on “Band of Brothers.” Instead, envision Willie and Bobbie Nelson sitting around playing songs they love, without worrying about commercial consideration. Some songs are so laid-back, they make Nat King Cole sound like punk rock — but in this case, that’s a good thing.

The album has only two upbeat numbers and they bookend the 18 tracks on “December Day.” Still, the number of ballads doesn’t bog down the album, but instead sets a mood.

This is not country music per se, but more of a throwback to Willie’s great 1978 album “Stardust.” The new album is a mix of lesser-known gems from Willie’s back catalogue and standouts from the Great American Songbook, with a few of his newer songs spicing the mix.

One of the best things about the album is it’s filled with Willie’s signature guitar playing on his classical Martin guitar, Trigger. He’s been heavily influenced by jazz great Django Reinhardt and it shows.

Willie fills “December Day” with a number of memorable guitar solos, which makes me wonder why he’s not included more often on lists of the all-time best guitarists.

On “December Day” his vocals are mixed way up-front, along with his guitar. Raphael’s harmonica adds atmospheric shadings throughout the album.

 

Bobbie Nelson

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

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www.WillieNelson.com

“I’ve played music with my sister almost every night of my life.  Sometimes she knows what I’m going to play before I do.” — Willie Nelson

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, Bobbie Nelson, “What’ll I Do”

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Enjoy this music video for, “What’ll I Do”, from beautiful new album from Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson, “December Day”.

The video for the song was produced by Luck Films and directed by David Von Roehm.