Archive for the ‘Duets and collaborations’ Category

Willie Nelson and Paula Nelson, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Favorite Willie Nelson Duets

Monday, April 24th, 2017

photo:  Rick Diamond
by: Kelsey Butterworth

If you’re looking for musical longevity, look no further than America’s most wanted country outlaw, Willie Nelson. He’s still recording and touring like he was twenty years ago. And twenty years before that. Pick any Hall of Fame member, and they’ve probably written a song or two with the Red Headed Stranger. Here are our favorites.

10. “Beer For My Horses” – with Toby Keith


 This one makes the list just for sheer absurdity. Country music often deals in novelty hits, and this song about celebratory horse inebriation is no exception. “Beer For My Horses” tells the story of Texan vigilante justice. In the music video, justice in the name of dead prostitutes. For bonus points, check out Keith’s B-side “Weed With Willie” to get a sense of what their sessions were like.

9. “Highwayman” – with The Highwaymen (Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings)


The Highwaymen’s biggest hit was this Jimmy Webb cover from their eponymous album, which they released in 1985. With its reverbed drums and synth sounds, it has a distinctly 80s feel to it. Some Highwaymen cuts feel overcrowded, which is the perfectly logical result of four gruff country boys singing at the same time. “Highwayman” has the members of the supergroup trade verses, each more forlorn than the last. When they do harmonize, it’s the best kind of chilling.

8. “Hard To Be An Outlaw” – with Billy Joe Shaver


The opener of Shaver’s 2014 effort Long In The Tooth is all about aging, and it features plenty of the clever wordplay that makes country music so appealing. Both Shaver and Nelson are in their eighties, so naturally their reminiscing will have a certain weight to it. The song finds the old hands lamenting not only the trials of their creaky stardom, but the Nashville whippersnappers who “go and call it country / But that ain’t the way it sounds”. Thank goodness these desperados are still on the scene.

7. “Dead Flowers” – with Keith Richards, Hank Williams III and Ryan Adams


Does it get better than these four gentlemen covering a Sticky Fingers classic? The live track appears on his 2002 live compilation Willie Nelson & Friends, Stars & Guitars, which features honorable mentions like Bon Jovi and Emmylou Harris. This cover is impeccable. The chorus gets pretty close to a religious experience.

6. “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It” – with Wynton Marsalis


Nelson and unofficial New Orleans spokesman Wynton Marsalis released Two Men With The Blues back in 2008, and the entire record is full of killer cuts. Their reworking of this folk classic is a standout. Hearing Nelson front over the bubbly dirge jam from Marsalis’ band will definitely put you in good spirits. Besides, we’re sure Nelson is genuinely distraught at the idea of not being able to buy beer.

5. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – with Norah Jones


Sometimes the best duets are between two artists no one would ever think to pair. Nelson’s rough rodeo vibe goes seamlessly blends with Jones’s jazz fairy charm. This version of the Christmas standard is stripped down just right, giving Nelson and Jones room to balance each other out.

4. “Seven Spanish Angels” – with Ray Charles


Spend any time rifling through Nelson’s discography and you’ll find plenty of southwestern and gospel influences, but rarely do you see them together. In this grand retelling of Romeo & Juliet, verse-chorus dynamics combine with impassioned performances to create something divine. Ray Charles always has the charisma of a preacher, so no surprises there. Nelson seems more moved than usual, and the results are otherworldly.

3. “You Remain” – with Sheryl Crow

The closing number on Nelson’s 2002 record The Great Divide features Bonnie Raitt. This live performance from the same year has Nelson harmonizing with Sheryl Crow on a somber look back at an old love. Nelson tends to prefer balladry when he sings with women, but this track is special. What begins as a sort of understated “The Way It Is” swells into rolling hills of gorgeous, bittersweet regret. Both versions are magnificent, but Crow has a slightly bigger vocal role in hers, making it that much more breathtaking.

2. “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” – with Waylon Jennings


This is arguably one of the best hits produced by the outlaw country movement. The dusty duet originally appeared on 1978’s record Waylon & Willie. The mournful maternal plea has been recorded by many, but this version has by far been the most popular. Though the pair’s ranching experience is minimal at best, they sure knew what it meant to be lonely on the road.

1. “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” – with Kris Kristofferson, Snoop Lion and Jamey Johnson


Released on green vinyl for Record Store Day 2013, this hilarious ode to the world’s favorite drug has Nelson and friends making a pretty peculiar will & testament request. The bouncy, juke-y tune features fellow Mary Jane enthusiasts Snoop, Kristofferson, and Johnson crooning over plenty of twang and a smattering of accordion. Say what you will about Nelson’s indulgences, but everyone who goes to his funeral is bound to have a real good time.

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Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “It’s All Going to Pot”

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Glen Campbell, “Old Friends”

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Willie Nelson with Neil Young and Crazy Horse, “All Along the Watchtower” (Farm Aid 1994)

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Willie Nelson sings with Glen Campbell on his new album “Adios”

Saturday, April 15th, 2017
by: Lauren Moraski

Glen Campbell will unveil his final studio album on June 9, six years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Called “Adiós,” the album features 12 classic songs that Campbell loved, but never had the opportunity to record. Among them are “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right,” “Everybody’s Talkin’” and title track “Adiós,” made famous by Linda Ronstadt.

The set, recorded in Nashville shortly after the music legend wrapped his 2011 “Goodbye Tour,” features guest appearances by Willie Nelson, Vince Gill and Campbell’s children, Ashley, Shannon and Cal.

“Glen’s abilities to play, sing and remember songs began to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011,” Campbell’s wife, Kim Campbell, told People on Friday. “A feeling of urgency grew to get him into the studio one last time to capture what magic was left. It was now or never.”

The singer-songwriter hasn’t performed live or recorded since 2012.

1st Annual Radio Keen Country Music Festival (June 11 – 12)

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

That’s a lot of music, for $8.00.

Happy Birthday Loretta Lynn

Friday, April 14th, 2017


Happy Birthday Loretta Lynn, who turns 85 today.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “Pancho and Lefty”

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

What I’m listening to… Willie Nelson and Ray Price

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Willie Nelson and Bill Mack, “Drinking Champagne” (Live from Carl’s Corner)

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Rehearsing with Keith Richards, Don Was and Willie Nelson

Monday, April 10th, 2017

“Rehearsing with Keith Richards, Don Was and Willie Nelson”

Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, “Reason to Quit”

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Willie Nelson and dozens of others gather to celebrate music of Merle Haggard in Nashville

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

photo:  Joshua Timmerman
by:  Sarah Rodman

Not that anyone needed to be convinced of the depth and breadth of Merle Haggard’s formidable influence — on country music and beyond. But a spectacular case was made for his legacy Thursday night at the Bridgestone Arena here.

One year to the day that Haggard died, more than two dozen artists across genres and multiple generations gathered to pay tribute to the American music legend on what would have been his 80th birthday.

“Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard” featured collaborators and peers (Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn), younger artists (Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves) who aspire to his authenticity and a bevy of pop and rock acolytes (Keith Richards, John Mellencamp and Sheryl Crow) who cite him as an influence.

From the cheeky swagger of Hank Williams Jr.’s take on “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” — a perfect marriage of singer and song — to the delicacy of Alison Krauss’ intonation of “Sing a Sad Song,” with rich harmonic help from the Cox Family, the three-plus-hour show had an air of both celebration and solemnity.

Veteran character actor W. Earl Brown (“Deadwood,” “True Detective”), a fan and friend of Haggard’s, hosted the event with élan and a broad, booming personality well-suited to keeping things moving.

Guitarist Ben Haggard, Merle’s son, anchored the first part of the show, leading his father’s old band, the Strangers, behind a parade of classic artists who still have plenty left in the tank: John Anderson, Bobby Bare, the still-feisty Tanya Tucker and a full-voiced Connie Smith, who did a gorgeous rendition of “That’s the Way Love Goes.”

Among the younger set, Lambert delivered a note-perfect rendition of the melancholic “Misery and Gin,” an occasional favorite of her regular shows. Chris Janson and Jake Owen were among several artists teaming up to pay homage, with an assured version of “Footlights” that found Janson turning out smoky harmonica wails.

Alabama kept it simple and stripped down for a harmony-laden rendition of the rueful “Silver Wings.” Jamey Johnson gave one of the night’s standout performances with “Kern River,” a hushed tale of both menace and sadness that drew huge cheers from the crowd. The estimably beaded Johnson joined forces with Krauss to tip a cap to songwriter Blaze Foley with a poignant duet of “If I Could Only Fly.” Johnson also offered an arm to help Lynn to the stage for her take on “Today I Started Loving You.”

Interspersed between the sets were tribute videos that included one section devoted to Haggard’s side-splitting appearances on vintage talk and variety shows, doing spot-on impersonations of fellow country stars Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins and Bakersfield compadre Buck Owens.

The second set had just as much bang for the buck, including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s stomp through “Honky Tonk Nighttime Man” and a scorching version of “Working Man Blues” from Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule.

The Avett Brothers ably motored through “Mama Tried,” Mellencamp and a core crew (including his former drummer, Kenny Aronoff) performed a haunting rendition of the snarling, desperate “White Line Fever” and Crow soared on “Natural High.”

Richards, a late addition to the lineup, emerged and was his typically shambolic self, lending his piratical charm to “Sing Me Back Home,” which the Stone alone recorded in 1977.

“It’s good to be here,” Richards said, adding with a laugh, “or anywhere.” He also made sure to thank the evening’s truly all-star backing band, which included Aronoff, Don Was on bass, Sam Bush on fiddle and mandolin, Mickey Raphael on harmonica and the McCrary Sisters on support vocals.

While the crowd was appreciative of all the performers, the loudest roar was reserved for Haggard’s close friend and collaborator, Willie Nelson, the Pancho to Haggard’s Lefty.

Nelson joined Richards for the ode to bad behavior “Reasons to Quit” and Toby Keith for a raucous “Ramblin’ Fever.” Appropriately enough, Kenny Chesney served as Nelson’s Lefty for the night on the Southwestern-tinged track, a highlight of the Nelson-Haggard canon.

The show came to a rousing conclusion with an all-hands rendition of Haggard’s signature tune “Okie From Muskogee.” It was a particularly fine touch to have Nelson croon the opening line, “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.”

The concert was recorded for broadcast at a later date on an as-yet-to-be-determined outlet.

Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson, “Just Breathe”

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017