Archive for the ‘Duets and collaborations’ Category

Artists gather to honor Merle Haggard in Nashville (April 7, 2017)

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

Dozens of country and rock artists turned out Thursday night for “Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard,” a salute to the country legend on the one-year anniversary of his death and what would have been his 80th birthday.

From Keith Richards’ heartfelt “Sing Me Back Home” to Miranda Lambert’s aching “Misery and Gin”

Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Kenny Chesney, John Mellencamp, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr. and Dierks Bentley were among the performers who interpreted songs from Haggard’s more than 50-year career at the concert in Nashville.

Willie Nelson and Miranda Lambert, especially, delivered moving tributes. Nelson sang “Reasons to Quit” with the Rolling Stones guitarist, and then duetted with Kenny Chesney on “Pancho & Lefty,” while Lambert turned in a devastating rendition of “Misery & Gin.”

The concert was filmed for broadcast on a network and date to be announced.

Here’s the set list to “Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard”:

Ben Haggard & the Strangers – “What Am I Gonna Do”
Ben Haggard, Aaron Lewis & the Strangers – “Heaven Was a Drink of Wine”
Tanya Tucker & the Strangers – “Farmer’s Daughter”
Bobby Bare & the Strangers – “The Fugitive”
Connie Smith & the Strangers – “That’s the Way Love Goes”
John Anderson & the Strangers – “Big City”
Toby Keith & the Strangers – “Carolyn/Daddy Frank”
Jake Owen and Chris Janson – “Footlights”
Miranda Lambert – “Misery & Gin”
Rodney Crowell – “You Don’t Have Very Far to Go”
Jamey Johnson – “Kern River”
Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss – “If I Could Only Fly”
Alison Krauss – “Sing a Sad Song”
Alabama – “Silver Wings”
Hank Williams Jr. – “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”
Loretta Lynn – “Today I Started Loving You”
Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Honky Tonk Nighttime Man”
The Avett Brothers – “Mama Tried”
John Mellencamp – “White Line Fever”
Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow Stew”
Ronnie Dunn – “It’s All in the Movies”
Billy Gibbons – “The Bottle Let Me Down”
Warren Haynes and Billy Gibbons – “Workin’ Man Blues”
Dierks Bentley – “If We Make It Through December”
Lucinda Williams – “Going Where the Lonely Go”
Sheryl Crow – “Natural High”
Keith Richards – “Sing Me Back Home”
Keith Richards and Willie Nelson – “Reasons to Quit”
Willie Nelson and Kenny Chesney – “Pancho and Lefty”
Willie Nelson and Toby Keith – “Ramblin’ Fever”
Willie Nelson and cast – “Okie From Muskogee”

Willie Nelson and Ray Charles

Monday, March 30th, 2020
by: Stephen Betts

In early March 1978, Willie Nelson was atop Billboard’s country albums and country singles charts with friend and frequent duet partner Waylon Jennings. Their Waylon & Willie LP had spawned a massive hit with “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” which enjoyed a four-week run at the Number One spot. Nelson, meanwhile, could be seen as sort of taking that song’s message to heart with his follow-up album which, on the surface anyway, would seem to appeal less to cowboys than to “doctors and lawyers and such.” Released April 19th, 1978, Stardust offered Nelson’s interpretations of American pop standards. The album’s first single, Nelson’s passionate reading of the Hoagy Carmichael classic “Georgia on My Mind,” was released March 2nd, 1978, 42 years ago today.

With Stardust, Nelson the hit songwriter was completely absent, which meant that his interpretive skills were allowed to fully flower on songs such as “All of Me,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” and “Blue Skies.” Following Nelson’s version of “Georgia on My Mind,” which would reach Number One in June, becoming only the third of the Texas native’s solo hits to top the chart, “Blue Skies” became another country chart-topper, which made Stardust Nelson’s first LP to produce more than one Number One hit.

A year after its release, Nelson’s version of the song earned a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Most impressively, however, Stardust logged 540 weeks on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, eventually dropping off the survey a full decade later in 1988, by which time Nelson was a bona fide American legend.

Georgia on My Mind” was written in 1930 by Carmichael with his roommate, lyricist Stuart Gorrell. Thirty years later, Ray Charles had a Number One pop hit with it, and remains the artist most closely associated with the wistful tune. In 1984, Charles, who in 1962 had released Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music, a landmark LP interpreting classic country songs, returned to the genre for Friendship, an LP of duets with Nashville acts including George Jones, Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs and more. With Nelson, Charles recorded the Number One LP’s chart-topping “Seven Spanish Angels,” making it the biggest of Charles’ handful of country-chart entries.

In 1985, Nelson teamed with Charles during a Nashville Network concert simply titled The Willie Nelson Special. The pair’s performance of “Georgia on My Mind” was a highlight of the program, as the two longtime friends sat together at the piano to trade vocals on the song, as seen above. But Nelson and Charles also played behind the scenes, too, enjoying a rivalry at chess that Nelson joked about during the special.

“He won,” Nelson said, adding, “But the next time we’re gonna turn the lights on.” The comment earned a hearty laugh from Charles, as can be seen in the clip below.

Stardust would coincide with Nelson’s first appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1978. In an interview with the magazine’s Chet Flippo, Nelson acknowledged the major gamble he was taking with the LP.

“I had had the idea for some time but until I met Booker [T. Jones, who produced Stardust], I wasn’t really sure in my mind how well I could do these songs because of my limited musical ability, as far as writing down songs of this caliber. These are complicated songs; they have a lot of chords in them. I needed someone like Booker to write and arrange. Once I got with him it was easy to do the album.”

Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers, “Blue Skies”

Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Willie Nelson and Leon Russell

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, “I’ll never smoke weed with Willie Again”

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel, “Oh, You Pretty Woman”

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

Monday, January 27th, 2020

Tony Bennett: Duets II, a presentation of Thirteen’s Great Performances, features the singer’s greatest hits, performed by Bennett and today’s biggest stars, including Willie Nelson, John Mayer, Michael Buble, k.d. lang, Sheryl Crow, Queen Latifah, Norah Jones, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, Alejandro Sanz, Carrie Underwood and more.

The sessions, filmed to capture the magic of these performers singing with the master of the Great American Songbook, airs on Friday, January 27, 2012, at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Great Performances is a production of Thirteen for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local arts programming to the New York community.

The album took more than six months to record, with each track recorded face-to-face with his singer partners in studios around the world, from LA to Nashville to London. Among the many highlights is Amy Winehouse’s last recorded track (“Body and Soul”), which was produced in London’s famous Abbey Road Studios in March. Other tracks were recorded in New York in late July: the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart classic, “The Lady Is a Tramp,” with Lady Gaga, and the Alan and Marilyn Bergman classic, “How Do You Keep the Music Playing,” with Aretha Franklin, and “Stranger in Paradise,” with Andrea Bocelli, recorded at the singer’s Italian home

The full song program follows:
“The Lady Is a Tramp” (Lady Gaga)
“One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)” (John Mayer)
“Body and Soul” (Amy Winehouse)
“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” (Michael Buble)
“Blue Velvet” (k.d. lang)
“How Do You Keep the Music Playing” (Aretha Franklin)
“The Girl I Love” (Sheryl Crow)
“On the Sunny Side of the Street” (Willie Nelson)
“Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” (Queen Latifah)
“Speak Low” (Norah Jones)
“This Is All I Ask” (Josh Groban)
“Watch What Happens” (Natalie Cole)
“Stranger in Paradise” (Andrea Bocelli)
“The Way You Look Tonight” (Faith Hill)
“Yesterday I Heard the Rain” (Alejandro Sanz)
“It Had to Be You” (Carrie Underwood

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“Poncho and Lefty,” by Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard 2020 Grammy Hall of Fame Inductee

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

Multiple country stars will have their recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame this year. 

The Recording Academy announced today that 26 recordings will added to the Grammy Hall of Fame, which preserves prominent songs of historical significance that are at least 25 years old.

Among the 2020 selections are  Patsy Cline ‘s “Walkin’ After Midnight,” which became her breakthrough single after its 1957 release, reaching number two on the  Billboard  country chart.  Also on the list is  Willie Nelson  and  Merle Haggard ‘s collaboration on “Pancho and Lefty,” the title track of their acclaimed 1983 album. 

Other country inductees include “I’ll Fly Away” by country gospel group  The Chuck Wagon Gang , one of the top-selling gospel songs in history, plus the  Allman Brothers Band  album  Eat a Peach,  and “I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow” by  The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys . 

Nancy Sinatra ‘s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin,'” “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” by gospel act  Swan Silverstones , and “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” by  Blind Alfred Reed , who recorded during the famous Bristol Sessions in 1927, will also be inducted. 

Elton John ,  Neil Diamond  and  Joni Mitchell  are among the many other multi-genre acts whose work will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

Willie Nelson and Shania Twain, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

Willie Nelson, Winton Marsalis, Norah Jones, “Here We Go Again”

Thursday, January 9th, 2020
01. Hallelujah I Love Her So (Gospel 2-beat / Boogaloo / 4/4 Swing)
02. Come Rain or Come Shine (Walking Ballad)
03. Unchain My Heart (Bolero with Habanera bass)
04. Cryin’ Time (Country Ballad)
05. Losing Hand (Dirge with Chain-Gang Shuffle)
06. Hit The Road Jack (Gospel 2-beat / 4/4 Swing)
07. I’m Moving On (Boogaloo with Afro-Latin Backbeat / 4/4 Swing)
08. Busted (Gospel 12/8 Shuffle)
09. Here We Go Again (Rhythm & Blues 12/8 Shuffle)
10. Makin’ Whoopie (Hard-Bop 2-beat / 4/4 Swing)
11. I Love You So Much (It Hurts) (Waltz)
12. What’d I Say (Boogaloo)

“Resurrection” — Kinky Friedman with Willie Nelson

Sunday, December 22nd, 2019

Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Jakob Dylan, More Cover Tom Petty’s ‘For Real’

Friday, December 20th, 2019
by: Jon Blistein

Willie Nelson, his sons Micah and Lukas, plus Jakob Dylan, Dhani Harrison and Amos Lee have teamed for an all-star cover of Tom Petty’s “For Real.”

Petty originally recorded “For Real” in August 2000, but the song wasn’t released until this past February when it appeared on the posthumous retrospective, The Best of Everything. The new cover, released as “For Real — For Tom,” finds the Nelsons, Harrison, Dylan and Lee cranking up the jangle of the original while also giving the tune a breezy country sway complete with harmonica and some soothing choral vocals.

“When I first was sent this song asking if I wanted to record it, I was quite frankly dumbfounded,” Lukas Nelson tells Rolling Stone. “It was the whole manifesto of our band [Promise of the Real] in a song. It just shows how connected artists who have integrity are with others who share the same passion and fire for being honest with their soul. Fearless and real.”

Micah Nelson expounded on the meaning of the song, calling it “an anthem to the integrity of an artist’s journey summarized perfectly by the artist himself. It’s a reminder of why we live the art life, something needed more than ever as we enter a new decade of unknown misty twisty paths and crooked highways.”

Accompanying the new song is a behind-the-scenes documentary about the recording of “For Real — For Tom,” which was directed by Peter Harding. The short clip captures the intimacy and family affair vibe of the session, and boasts a sweet moment when Amos Lee recalls watching Lukas Nelson record his father Willie’s vocals, hit the switch and say, “Hey, dad that’s an incredible take.” Lee added, “I almost cried, that’s such a tender moment.”

Dylan, meanwhile, tells Rolling Stone about studying Petty during the years he got to watch the musician side-stage as a kid. “[M]ost of what I put together of what I wanted to do in the future I probably learned in those summers watching him and The Heartbreakers play,” Dylan says. “I got to sit next to his amplifiers so I not only got to watch him, I also got to watch the crowd, and to see what the band was doing with their inside conversations. It was a great schooling.”

“For Real — For Tom” is out via Dark Horse Records, and all net proceeds will benefit the Midnight Mission, a homeless shelter and homeless services provider in Los Angeles that Petty supported throughout his career.

For Real

Oh brother, look what we’ve become
Oh brother, could we be so dumb
They set us up like dominos

I didn’t do it for no magazine
Didn’t do it for no video |
Never did it for no CEO

But I did it for real
Woulda done it for free
I did it for me
Cause it was all that rang true
I did it for real
And I did it for you

Mighta done it for my sanity
Maybe done it for my vanity
Could be I did it for my big ego

But I did it for real
Woulda done it for free
Yeah I did it for me
Cause it was all that rang true
I did it for real
And I did it for you (true)

Oh brother, look what we’ve become
Oh brother, I’ve been overrun
Only did it for the way it made me feel

Yeah I did it for real
Woulda done it for free
Yeah I did it for me
Cause it was all that rang true
I did it for real
And I did it for you

Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson, “Just Breathe”

Saturday, December 14th, 2019

Lukas Nelson, Shooter Jennings Duet on ‘The Ranch’ Soundtrack

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

by: Bobby Moore

The album mostly features previously released material by country music artists signed to the label that’s releasing it, Nashville-based Curb Records. Its release date coincides with the launch of the series’ eighth and final season. Since the series debuted, episodes named after country songs have had impressive, country-heavy soundtracks.

An excerpt from famous sons Lukas Nelson and Shooter Jennings‘ cover of “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” has opened Netflix series The Ranch since its 2016 debut. Fans of songwriters Ed and Patsy Bruce’s classic, made famous by the recent duet partners’ dads Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, finally get to hear the new version in its entirety when The Ranch’s official soundtrack arrives on Jan. 24.

The Ranch (A Netflix Original Series Soundtrack) Track List

1. “Rumor (Glover Mix),” Lee Brice
2. “Things That I Lean On,”  Wynonna & The Big Noise feat. Jason Isbell
3. “Slower,” Filmore
4. “Whiskey on My Breath,” Love and Theft
5. “Nobody,” Dylan Scott
6. “Home to the Water,” Mallary Hope
7. “Thank God for You,” Rodney Atkins
8. “Runs in the Family,” BoDeans
9. “One at a Time,” Jackson Michelson
10. “Joshua Tree,” Ruthie Collins
11. “Ain’t Bad for a Good Ol’ Boy,” Mo Pitney
12. “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” Shooter Jennings & Lukas Nelson

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “Pancho and Lefty”

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019