Archive for the ‘Duets and collaborations’ Category

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014


On January 8, 2008, Blue Note Records released, “Two Men With the Blues”

Willie Nelson – vocals and guitar Wynton Marsalis – trumpet and vocals Mickey Raphael – harmonica Walter Blanding – saxophone Dan Nimmer – piano Carlos Henriquez – bass Ali Jackson Jr. – drums

“These songs, heard this way with this group—that’s never been done before. Whatever I’m doing, if you put Wynton and these guys around it, that brings it up to a different level.” – Willie Nelson

A first-time collaboration between two American icons, Willie & Wynton discover common ground in their love of jazz standards & the blues on this sparkling set that brims with spontaneity, congeniality & fun.

Wynton wears crisp suits, reads sheet music and is the musical director of New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Willie wears crumpled jeans, wings it onstage and runs his concert venue, Willie’s Place, out of a truck stop in Abbott, Texas.

So what exactly do these music legends have in common? The blues, of course. Wynton Marsalis, 46, and Willie Nelson, 75, are the two men on the new CD “Two Men With the Blues,” a live recording culled from two concerts they played at Lincoln Center last year.

“I like playing with Wynton,” says Nelson, “because you know the piano player won’t show up drunk, and whatever comes out of it, it’ll be worth the listen.” They are playing venues including the Hollywood Bowl and “The Tonight Show” between breaks on Nelson’s tour and Marsalis’s Lincoln Center duties. Recently, the two chatted with NEWSWEEK’s Lorraine Ali in Nelson’s second home—his airbrushed, tricked-out tour bus:

ALI: Your collaboration has been described as “a summit meeting between two American icons.”

NELSON: I like the way they put that.

MARSALIS: I’m not an icon, he is.

NELSON: I thought an icon was one of those things on your computer screen. I’m not one of those.

MARSALIS: OK, I say this modestly—this is a historic event. It’s not a big surprise to have Wynton and Willie playing together, but to have this much attention for it, that’s a surprise.

But the attention makes sense: both of you are highly respected, and Willie, you can’t go anywhere without being recognized. NELSON: I’m offended if I don’t get recognized. I say, “Hey, man, don’t you know who I am? Perhaps you didn’t realize.”

MARSALIS: My son always says, “I want to repudiate you, Dad, but nobody knows who you are. When I have to explain who I’m repudiating, it’s not really worth it.”

Willie, I imagine you as an off-the-cuff player, but with Wynton, there’s the whole issue of keeping time. Is that a problem?

NELSON: Well, it’s a little different than when we just go up there and wing it for four hours and play requests. This has to be exactly right, especially because Wynton and the guys are reading off pieces of paper, and I’m just up there trying to remember words. These guys have a lot more to do and think about than I do. For me, it’s a free ride on top of their rhythm and rockin’.

MARSALIS: He’ll come in with a phrase, and we’ll think, “Uh-oh, he ain’t gonna make it fit.” And then he’ll collect it on the back end. It’s like somebody jukin’ or fakin’ on a basketball court. They take you this way, then come back that way. He’ll come in perfectly on key, on time, and we’re, like, “Damn!” It’s so natural and true.

Do you see yourself as an odd couple?

MARSALIS: No. As musicians, we like a lot of the same things.

NELSON:Â Louis Jordan’s “Caldonia.”

MARSALIS: Yeah, that’s right, or “Saturday Night Fish Fry.” See, we came up on the same sounds

Music aside, personality-wise, how is it working together? Is one of you…

NELSON: On drugs?

That’s not exactly where I was going.

MARSALIS: We really follow each other. I think we’re gracious that way. There’s no crazy soloing over one another.

NELSON: We [Nelson and his harmonica player] can’t play anything more than they [Marsalis and his quartet] can play. There’s only so many chords, and they know ‘em better than we do. Honestly, I don’t read music that well. Or I don’t read well enough to hurt my playing, as the old joke goes.

MARSALIS: And it’s not like we need to translate. We’re coming from the same American experience. The songs he picked to play,”Bright Lights, Big City,” “Basin Street Blues”we don’t need an arrangement for those. The grooves we play are shuffle grooves, swing. We grew up playing that music. There wasn’t one time where we had to stop and say, “Willie, what do you mean?” We are together.

NELSON: Even though some of us may not look all that together.

I heard you two barely rehearse.

MARSALIS: Willie doesn’t do two or three takes. Just once, and then, “That’s good, gentlemen.” That’s how we play. We record live.

NELSON: If you can play, then what do you want to rehearse for? Just play.

Willie, you still tour like mad. How different are the shows with Wynton?

NELSON: Honestly, it’s a lot easier for me to come out and work with Wynton and his guys, because in my shows I’ll go out and play for two hours or more. With Wynton, they’ve already played for an hour and a half before I come out. I come out and do the last 30 minutes, and all of a sudden I’ve had a great night.

Wynton, was there any sort of intimidation factor in working with a legend like Willie?

MARSALIS: I’ve been around musicians all my life. My daddy was a musician, and we played all kind of gigs. I played with philharmonic orchestras when I was 22 years old. That’s intimidating! This man is natural. He makes you feel at home. When he comes to rehearsal, there’s not 65 people around him, scurrying to make it all right.

NELSON: Send in the dogs to clear the place out first.

MARSALIS: It’s not like that. He’s very approachable.

NELSON: We used to work in clubs where we had to build up the crowd. We’d hop from table to table, have a drink with everybody, hoping they’d show up tomorrow night. By the time you made your rounds you’re about half drunk.

MARSALIS: How could you not love this man?

Happy birthday, Glen Campbell

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Happy birthday, Glen Campbell, born on April 21, 1936 in Delight, Arkansas.

Willie Nelson and Lily Meola at Farm Aid 2013, “Will You Remember Mine”

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Willie Nelson, Shawn King, “I Give”

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Happy Birthday, Loretta Lynn

Monday, April 14th, 2014


Best wishes to Loretta Lynn, born April 14, 1932, in Butcher Holler, Kentucky. Noted for her honest songwriting, she becomes the first woman to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award in 1972, landing in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988.

Loretta Lynn joins Willie Nelson for a duet on his new album, ‘To All the Girls’.

Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, “You Remain”

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Glenn Campbell, Kenny Rogers

Sunday, April 13th, 2014


Willie Nelson has more #1′s with most partners

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
by:  Paul Grein

Collaborations have long been a mainstay of country music. Can you guess who has reached #1 on the country chart with the most different partners? If you answered Willie Nelson, you know your country music history. The balladeer has reached the top spot with six different partners: Waylon Jennings (three times), Leon Russell (1979′s “Heartbreak Hotel”), Merle Haggard (1983′s “Pancho And Lefty”), Julio Iglesias (1984′s “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before”), Ray Charles (1985′s “Seven Spanish Angels”)and Toby Keith (2003′s “Beer For My Horses”).

In addition, Nelson reached #1 as a member of the country super-group Highwaymen (which also featured Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson). They scored with 1985′s “Highwayman.” The ACM should give Nelson a special award dubbed “Plays Well With Others.”

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, who have collaborated on two #1 country hits (1983′s “Islands In The Stream” and 1985′s “Real Love”), share second place. They have each hit #1 with five different partners (or sets of partners). Rogers also reached #1 with Dottie West (three times), Sheena Easton (1983′s “We’ve Got Tonight”), Ronnie Milsap (1987′s “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine”) and Alison Krauss & Billy Dean (2000′s “Buy Me A Rose”).

Parton also reached #1 with Porter Wagoner (1974′s “Please Don’t Stop Loving Me”), Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris (1987′s “To Know Him Is To Love Him”), Ricky Van Shelton (1991′s “Rockin’ Years”) and Brad Paisley (2006′s “When I Get Where I’m Going”). (Parton has hit #1 with more different partners than any other female artist.)

Paisley and Merle Haggard have each scored with four different partners. Paisley has reached #1 with Parton, Keith Urban (2009′s “Start A Band”), Alabama (2011′s “Old Alabama”) and Carrie Underwood (2011′s “Remind Me”).

Haggard has reached #1 with Nelson, Clint Eastwood (1980′s “Bar Room Buddies”), George Jones (1982′s “Yesterday’s Wine”) and Janie Fricke (1985′s “A Place To Fall Apart”).

Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney and Red Foley have each reached #1 with three different partners.

Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, “Whiskey for my Men (beer for my horses)”

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams, “Over Time”

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Willie Nelson, Keith Richards

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014


Willie Nelson and Ray Charles, “Seven Spanish Angels”

Friday, March 28th, 2014

“Old Friends”, Willie Nelson, Roger Miller

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss & Union Station 2014 Tour

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

photos:  Jim Dyson/Kevork Djansezian,
by: Christina Vinson

 Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss & Union Station are joining forces for their first-ever co-headlining tour.

The two icons will be touring together throughout the spring and summer, hitting up 35 cities in the United States. The run will kick off on May 1 in Murray, Ken., with its last stop in Toledo, Ohio on July 18.

Nelson and Krauss’ tour marks the first time the first time the pair of legends have shared the stage. They’ll be hitting the road with their two full bands, Willie Nelson and Family and Alison Krauss and Union Station, featuring Jerry Douglas.

Two of country music’s most iconic talents in one stop? Yes, please.

The tour is sure to be unforgettable, as the two icons’ unique personalities and phenomenal musicianship — along with their respective long list of award-winning songs — will be something no country fan should miss.

The talent won’t stop at the headliners, either. Joining for separate portions of the tour will be folk trio the Devil Makes Three, two-time Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves and celebrated songwriter Jason Isbell.

Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson 2014 Tour Dates:

5/1 – Murray, Ken. CFSB Center/Murray State University
5/2 – Atlanta, Ga. | Chastain Park Amphitheatre
5/3 – Knoxville, Tenn. | Thompson Boling Arena
5/4 – Cary, N.C. | Koka Booth Amphitheatre
5/6 – St. Augustine, Fla. | St. Augustine Amphitheatre
5/8 – Daniel Island, S.C. | Family Circle Cup Stadium
5/9 – Simpsonville, S.C. | Charter Amphitheatre
5/10 – Greensboro, N.C. | White Oak Amphitheatre
5/11 – Huntington, W.V. | Big Sandy Superstar Arena
5/13 – Roanoke, Va. | Roanoke Civic Center
5/14 – Columbus, Ohio | Schottenstein Center
5/16 – Nashville, Tenn. | The Woods at Fontanel
5/17 – Birmingham, Ala. | BJCC
5/18 – Augusta, Ga. | James Brown Arena
6/5 – Southaven, Miss. | Snowden Grove Amphitheater
6/6 – Louisville, Ken. | Waterfront Park
6/7 – Lewiston, N.Y. | Artpark
6/8 – Bethel, N.Y. | Bethel Woods Center For the Arts
6/10 –  New York, N.Y. | Radio City Music Hall
6/13 – Philadelphia, Penn. | Mann Center
6/14 – Columbia, Md. | Merriweather Post Pavilion
6/15 – Simsbury, Ct. | Simsbury Meadows
6/17 – Boston, Mass. | Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
6/19 – Bangor, Maine | Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion
6/20 – Gilford, N.H. | Bank of NH Pavillion at Meadowbrook
6/21 – Canandaigua, N.Y. | CMAC Performing Arts Center
7/6 – Kansas City, Mo. | Starlight Theatre
7/7 – Rogers, Ariz. | Arkansas Music Pavilion
7/9 – Oklahoma City, Okla. | Zoo Amphitheatre
7/11 – Council Bluffs, Iowa | Harrah’s Stir Cove
7/12 – Chicago, Ill. | Ravinia Festival
7/13 – Detroit, Mich. | Freedom Hill
7/15 – Rama, Ontario | Casino Rama
7/17 – Interlochen, Mich. | Kresge Auditorium
7/18 – Toledo, Ohio | Toledo Zoo


Willie Nelson, Lily Meola, “Will You Remember Mine” (SXSW iTunes Festival)

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

ACL Live at Moody Theater
iTunes Festival
Balcony View