Archive for the ‘Magazines’ Category

Willie Nelson, the Bee Gees, Glen Campbell sing the Everly Brothers

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Not the Highwaymen, but another super group perform.
by:  Stephen L. Betts

In 1979, the Bee Gees were busy extricating themselves from the growing backlash against the decade’s biggest phenomenon – disco. Arguably the biggest recording act on the planet, the brothers Gibb (Barry, Maurice and Robin) attempted to move past the dance-floor phenomenon of Saturday Night Fever, for which they penned several massive hits, including “Staying Alive” and “Night Fever,” with Spirits Having Flown, a still-danceworthy LP that featured blockbusters such as “Tragedy” and “Too Much Heaven.” The trio’s subsequent world tour would be filmed for a TV special which captured the group on stage in July during the second of a three-night stand in Oakland, Cailfornia.

The Bee Gees Special aired November 15th, 1979, on NBC and included the siblings being interviewed by British presenter David Frost, as well as behind-the-scenes footage of tour preparation, vintage TV clips from their native Australia (where they began performing as youngsters), plus an appearance from younger brother Andy Gibb, who was breaking through on the pop charts with his own string of career-defining hits at the time.

Among the most unexpected highlights of the 90-minute special was an impromptu jam session with two of the biggest country stars of the decade, both of whom would enjoy pop crossover success: Willie Nelson and Glen Campbell. During their onstage jam, with Nelson’s familiar backdrop, the Texas Lone Star flag, draped behind them, the Bee Gees, Campbell and Nelson performed a medley of rock, pop and country tunes that included the Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” featuring Barry Gibb and Campbell’s high harmonies. After a line from the Fifties’ rockabilly hit “Party Doll,” Gibb once again took the lead on a soulful rendition of the Don Gibson (and Ray Charles) classic, “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” as Campbell and Nelson offered guitar accompaniment. Sure, the horn arrangement can’t help but date the performance but it’s nonetheless a great treat to hear some of the music that surely influenced the brothers early on, leading, of course, to Gibb’s penning of the massive Kenny Rogers-Dolly Parton crossover hit, “Islands in the Stream” just a few years after this collaboration.

The medley concludes with the once-in-a-lifetime group performing the Bee Gees’ own “To Love Somebody,” (covered recently by Dwight Yoakam), as the clip transitions back to footage of the Spirits Having Flown World Tour. That song was performed yet again in 2012, when Barry Gibb, the last surviving of his brothers, made his Grand Ole Opry debut as a guest of Opry member Ricky Skaggs.

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Willie Nelson and Kinky Friedman, “Bloody Mary Morning”

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Kinky Friedman duet on Friedman’s upcoming new album. photo:  Gary Miller
by:  Chris Parton

At 70 years old, Kinky Friedman — Jewish cowboy, former Texas gubernatorial candidate, cultural satirist, author, singer-songwriter and campaigner against the scourge of political correctness — has recorded his first studio album in nearly 40 years.

Called The Loneliest Man I Ever Met, the project arrives October 2nd and finds Friedman applying his scathing sense of humor and love of traditional country to some of his favorite cover songs, as well as a few never-heard-before originals. One of the standouts is a duet with Willie Nelson on Nelson’s quirky 1974 breakup tune “Bloody Mary Morning.” Hear the exclusive premiere below.

“You hang on for dear life when you’re working with Willie,” Friedman tells Rolling Stone Country. “I just remember getting so high I needed a step ladder to scratch my ass. I don’t smoke pot really, but I will with Willie just as a matter of Texas etiquette.

“Some of Willie’s picking on this thing is just terrific, and talk about stripped-down,” he continues. “This is just Willie playing on [his famous Martin guitar] Trigger, his sister Bobbie playing baby grand piano and Kevin Smith, Willie’s bass player, on stand-up bass.”

Nelson and Friedman trade mellow lines about leaving L.A. in a funk, while a loose, improvised guitar solo fills out the song. Friedman says his collaborator’s unique style influenced the whole album.

“Willie breaks every rule, he bucks every trend, and I kept thinking [of] Red Headed Stranger when we did this record,” says Friedman. “I wanted it stripped down to the soul, because I think with music, as in literature, nothing is really worth a damn except what’s written between the lines.”

Friedman has a long history of pushing people’s buttons, making his name off of songs like “Asshole From El Paso” (a parody of  Merle Haggard te to victims of the Holocaust that Friedman says inspired Nelson Mandela while he was in prison.

On The Loneliest Man I Ever Met, he continues the trend of doing whatever the hell he wants, choosing covers from a wide swath of roots music like Haggard’s “Hungry Eyes,” Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country” and Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis.” Warren Zevon’s”My Shit’s Fucked Up,” written after Zevon found out he was dying from cancer, is a particular favorite of Friedman’s.

“It’s a song that starts funny and ends tragic, and I think that song is not just a description of one guy dying of cancer, but of the whole condition of the world today,” he says. “I mean, ‘My Shit’s Fucked Up’ describes it about as well as anything.”

Friedman will embark on an ambitious tour in support of the new album, visiting 36 cities in one run starting October 9th in Ashland, Virginia, and plans to release his 20th mystery novel, The Hardboiled Computer, sometime in the next year.

Listen to song here



Willie Nelson, Entertainer of the Century

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

The Mystic Willie

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

country music

Willie Nelson: More than a living legend

Saturday, August 15th, 2015


Willie Nelson, on the NB Scene

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Willie Nelson: The Traveling Road Show (Country Song Roundup May 1976)

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Willie Nelson, the Traveling Road Show
Country Song Roundup
by Susan Scott
May 1976

NASHVILLE, TENN. —  The crowd inside Municipal Auditorium consisted of disc jockey convention and Opry birthday celebration die-hards who had waded through a week of parties and meetings listening to the best the Country music industry had to offer.

The last event on the official schedule was the Columbia Records show and it had been reported all week that Willing Nelson would be on hand to close the show.  Many in the crowd talked in anticipation of seeing the undisputed king of progressive country.  After all, he had arrived at the convention with his single, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” and his album, “Red Headed Stranger” riding in the number one position on the trade publication music charts.

Some 7,000 industry folks applauded enthusiastically as the bluejeaned, tennis-shoed, bandana’d perormer stepped to the microphone.  Forty-five minutes later, most of the audience was on its feet, clapping their hands as Nelson swung into a series of old time religious numbers –“Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “Amazing Grace” and “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.”

During the last number, other entertainers began to appear on stage adding harmony support — David Allen Coe, Larry Gatlin, the brilliant Shel Silverstein and RCA’s Gary Stewart.  The usually reserved, never-to-be-awed crowd of music industry representatives went wild.

Outside in the hall the Municipal Auditorium staff drifted toward the doors commenting on all the commotion coming from inside.  “Even the big rock groups don’t get that kind of reception,” commented one employee, who also noted he’d seen them all in the past 15 years he’d worked at the auditorium.

Backstage after the third or fourth encore (it may have been more because in the excitement of the moment I had last count) people congratulated Nelson on is triumphs of the week.  “The show was absolutely fantastic,” commented old Nelson friends.  Willie has been in the music industry all of his life and accumulated quite a backlog of admirers through the years,.  He has long been one of Nashville’s legendary songwriters.  It was not until recently that his performing ability has been spotlighted on a national level, though he has been entertaining in honky tonks, used car lots, and any other place he might be asked to perform.

“We’ll be in Atlanta next week for three days,” he said to me.  “Come on down and spend some time with us and we’ll talk.  I promised Tubb I’d do his show at the Record Shop after the Opry and I have to run, but please come to Atlanta if you can.”

With that his lips cured into a warm, benevolent smile, he squeezed my hand and strolled into waiting crowds signing autographs as he made his way toward his limousine.

There wasn’t any real reason I couldn’t run down to Atlanta for a night to finish the rest of the interview.  So I packed an extra tee-shirt, some make up and headed for the Great Southeast Music Hall for the Wednesday night performance.  Little did I realize that within 24 hours I would be caught up by the Willie Nelson and Family and that instead of one night in Atlanta I’d be gone for two weeks attending concerts in Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

ATLANTA, GA. — Paul English sat on the bed in Willie’s three-room hotel suite with piles of paper and an opened brief case surrounding him.  “Willie will be here shortly,” he said.   He’s out getting some pictures taken this afternoon.  Are you settled in your room all right?  have you been taken care of properly?”  His considerate inquiries impressed.  I was to find in the course of the next two weeks that consideration is one of the most outstanding and consistent traits of Willie Nelson and his road show Family — Bobbie Nelson, Jody Payne, Mickey Raphael, Bee Spears, Rex Ludwick, Kenneth waits, Darrell Wayne English, Pat and Nel Reshen and Paul.

Paul English has been with Willie off and on as a drummer since 1954.  “We were in Ft. Worth, Texas, and Willie was doing a radio show called Western Express.  He needed a drummer and he called me to see if I knew anybody.  I told him I could drum for him.”

“I got the job.  I debuted that day with a spare drum and brush.  The only thing I had neglected to tell Willie was that I had never played a drum before.  I had musical training in high school, so I figured I could play the drums just like the trumpet,” he said.

A delightfully sincere individual with a heart of gold, but who really does look like a mind’s image of the devil, English serves as an extension of Willie.  He’s more than just a right arm and there appears to be no one more important to Willie than Paul and vice versa.

“When I lost my wife of 14 years,” English said, “Willie stayed by me. He told me we wouldn’t go back to work until I was ready.  He stayed off the road for three months and helped me get through some of the pain of losing her.

“He wrote a song for me about her.  It’s called, “I Still Can’t Believe That You’re Gone.’ and it came out on the Atlantic ‘Phases and Stages’ album.  I guess it means about as much to me as anything in this world.

“There is a love between us that you get after seeing a lot of life together.  He wrote a song, ‘Me and Paul,’ about our relationship.  We’ve been through a lot of things, covered a lot of ground — we’re more than just friends.”

And then Willie Nelson, red bandana tied around his forehead to keep his long sun-reddened brown hair from falling into his eyes, returned from his picture taking excursion.

“Hey, Susie, glad you could make it,” he said as he leaned over gently, kissed me on the cheek and squeezed my hand in soft salutation.  these are natural gestures for Willie and other Family members.  Paul doesn’t shake hands very often, he hugs everybody.

At the concert that night the backstage area was a conglomeration of Family members, press people and other guests.  Also on the bill with Willie was Tracey Nelson (no relation), Linda Ronstadt had come to the club after her performance at another hall across town.

The crowd of Nelsonite fans at the second show went into a frenzy as the three singers swung into the old time gospel standards.  The show went into th ewee hours of the morning and it was close to 3:30 a.m. before everybody reached the hotel and congregated in Willie’s suite.

Willie was the center of attention as he sat on the couch and talked about music and life to other writers that had wandered in.  “Some say I’m an outlaw and play progressive country.  Progressive is more a way of thinking and the way others interpret your music.  It’s not how you look or what you do off stage.

“In conventional Country music some things are done and some are not and I never really believed in following all of the conventions.  I was doing things that were foreign to a lot of people in Nashville.  They’d been doing things their way a long time and it was working so resistance was understandable.  We just reached a stand off and that’s about the time I went to Austin.

By 5:30 a.m. thee were only a few people left in the suite.  Willie, who had wandered to another room, called out to everyone that was left.  “Come here a minute everybody!”

The group gravitated toward the Texan.  He was standing in front of a large picture window with the drapes drawn to their full recoil.  Shades of gray, pink, violet and orange lighted the skyline.  He leaned intently; his face pressed against the window.  “Look at that,” he said almost in a whisper.  “The moon is sitting there on that mountain, the stars are shining like they just came out and the sun’s going to be here any minute.  There’s something about morning, its…” his voice trailed into a mumble and nobody quite got the last of his thoughts.  He smiled as he watched the sun break over a distant hill.  the group stood motionless and wordless, wrapped in the warmth of a Willie Nelson sunrise.  there was an eerie feeling that it was all happening just for him that morning.

Don’t miss our next issue when Willie and the troupe move on to conquer Houston, Texas, Los Angeles and San Francisco!

Willie Nelson is one of 100 Greatest Songwriters (Rolling Stone)

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

See the entire list here.

Willie Nelson

Nelson was a struggling Music Row pro when Faron Young cut his ode to an empty room, “Hello Walls,” in 1961. A string of undeniable classics followed — “Night Life,” “Funny How Time Slips Away,” and “Crazy,” immortalized by Patsy Cline — and Nelson began his own recording career, to fair results.

But in the early Seventies he moved to Austin, Texas, and reinvented himself as a link between Nashville’s tradition and rock’s imperative of personal freedom, making concept albums like Phases and Stages and Red Headed Stranger, helping pioneer the stripped-down Outlaw Country movement and rising as the greatest interpreter of American song outside Frank Sinatra. No one except Dylan has embraced the endless highway with more artistic success — as explained by Nelson in “On the Road Again,” a Top 20 Grammy-winning hit in 1980 — and his studio career is just as endless, ranging from Texas swing to reggae to standards with strings.

“Willie sort of creeps up on you,” Keith Richards once said. “Those beautiful mixtures he has between blues and country and mariachi, that Tex-Mex bit, that tradition of a beautiful cross section of music. . .He’s unique.”

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The Landmark Career of the Red Headed Stranger (Billboard Oct. 11, 1986)

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

books (3)

books (2)

books (5)

Willie Nelson, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Somora, “Always on My Mind”

Thursday, July 30th, 2015
by: Stephen V. Betts

Willie Nelson has always relied on the kindness of his many celebrity friends, whether it’s to perform at the annual Farm Aid concerts or to share a duet with him on the seemingly endless string of LPs he has released throughout his 82 years. In April of 2002, several of those musical family members gathered at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium for an informal tribute to the American treasure, with the eclectic lineup including Keith Richards, Sheryl Crow, Brian McKnight, Ryan Adams, Ray Price, Nora Jones and Dave Matthews.

In addition to all-star performances of some of the Red Headed Stranger’s most iconic tunes, the special also celebrated the release of Nelson’s The Great Divide, the 2002 LP that included several collaborations and featured three songs penned by Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas, who duets with Nelson on “Maria (Shut Up and Kiss Me),” which became a minor country hit. The more well-known release from the album was the Bernie Taupin and Matt Serletic-penned “Mendocino County Line,” a duet with Lee Ann Womack which made the Top Forty, becoming his first country hit to do so in 12 years. The tune would go on to win a CMA award for Vocal Event of the Year and the Grammy for Best Country Collaboration, and Womack joined Nelson and the house band to perform it during the special.

One of the most dramatic renditions of the night was of Nelson’s massive pop-country hit, “Always on My Mind,” which featured Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Coming four years before Bon Jovi would top the country charts with Jennifer Nettles on “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” the TV show performance featured Bon Jovi, sporting a cowboy hat, taking the first verse and delivering a somber vocal as Sambora and Nelson harmonize. The country great then steps up for the second verse, strumming his faithful guitar, Trigger, and putting his distinctive vocal spin on the song that won him a Grammy and a CMA award.

“Always on My Mind,” penned by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson, who died July 20th, was also famously recorded by Elvis Presley, the Pet Shop Boys and many others. In 2013, Nelson revisited the track for his duets LP, To All the Girls…, recording it with Carrie Underwood.

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“My Willie” — Kinky Friedman

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Backstage at any show has its similarities, whether it’s Broadway or the circus or the meanest little honky-tonk in Nacogdoches — the palpable sense of people out there somewhere in the darkness waiting for your performance, or being able to pull a curtain back slightly and experience the actual sight of the audience sitting there waiting to be entertained by someone who, in this case, happens to be you. Standing alone in the spotlight, up on the high wire without a net, is something Willie Nelson has had to deal with for most of his adult life.

One night at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, I was standing backstage in the near darkness when a voice right behind me almost caused me to drop my cigar into my Dr. Pepper. It was Willie, “Let me show you something,” he said, and he pulled a curtain back, revealing a cranked-up crowd beginning to get drunk, beginning to grow restless, and packed in tighter than smoked oysters in Hong Kong. Viewed from our hidden angle, they were a strangely intimidating sight, yet Willie took them in almost like a walk in the trailer park.

“That’s where the real show is,” he said.

“If that’s where the real show is,” I said, “I want my money back.”

“Do you realize,” Willie continued in a soft, soothing, serious voice, “That ninety-nine percent of those people are not with their true first choice?”

“Do you realize,” I said, “that you and I aren’t with our true first choice either?  I mean, a latent homosexual relationship is a nice thing to have going for us, but sooner or later…”

Willie wasn’t listening to my cocktail chatter.  He looked out at the crowd for a moment or two longer and then let the curtain drop from his hand, sending us back into twilight. “That’s why they play the jukebox,” he said.

Kinky Friedman
September 1997
Texas Monthly

Farm Aid celebrating 30th anniversary with concert in Chicago (September 19, 2015)

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


photo:  Paul Natkin

by:  Andy Greene

Farm Aid is coming to Chicago. The annual event, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, will be held on September 19th at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island near downtown Chicago. In addition to board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, the show will feature Jack Johnson, Imagine Dragons, Kacey Musgraves, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mavis Staples, Holly Williams, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Insects vs. Robots and Blackwood Quartet.

“We organized the first Farm Aid concert in Illinois in 1985 to respond to the people suffering during the Farm Crisis,” Farm Aid President and Founder Willie Nelson said in a statement. “Thirty years later, in Chicago, we’ll bring together so many of the people — farmers, eaters, advocates and activists — who have made the progress of the Good Food Movement possible. At Farm Aid 30, we’ll celebrate the impact we’ve had and rally our supporters for the work ahead.”

“In 1985, alternatives didn’t exist for most farmers and people didn’t understand that there was a role for them in changing the system,” Farm Aid co-founder John Mellencamp said in a statement. “The Good Food Movement didn’t exist. People thought the farm crisis was a rural problem. But after that first concert, people listened. They realized that if we lost family farmers, we lost Main Street and we lost our food. They stood up with family farmers and now things are changing. We’ve got a lot more work to do, but the connection between rural and urban communities is more real and important to people.”

The first Farm Aid was held September 22nd, 1985 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. It has been held nearly every year since, raising $48 million for family farmers. Over the past 30 years, everyone from Phish to Elton John to Guns N’ Roses to Jerry Lee Lewis and the Allman Brothers have performed. Young played with Lukas and Micah Nelson at last year’s event at Walnut Creek Amphitheater in Raleigh, North Carolina, a spontaneous decision that led to him recording The Monsanto Years with them a few months later.

Tickets for this year’s Farm Aid — ranging in price from $49.50 to $189.50 — go on sale Monday, August 3rd at 10 a.m. CDT at

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, “Two Men With the Blues” (2008)

Monday, July 20th, 2015


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?

“I listen to Willie Nelson every single day, and he doesn’t even know me. That keeps me up at night,” — Leigh Nash

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

by:  Beville Dunkerley

“I listen to Willie Nelson every single day, and he doesn’t even know me. That keeps me up at night,” jokes Leigh Nash, lead singer of Sixpence None the Richer.

The angelic, unmistakable voice behind huge pop hits including “Kiss Me” and “There She Goes” is going back to her Texas roots for her third solo album, The State I’m In, due out September 18th. The Brendan Benson-produced project was heavily influenced by the music Nash grew up on, which included everyone from Nelson and Patsy Cline to the mariachi music coming across the border from just about 200 miles south of her New Braunsfels home.

“I fell in love with storytelling in music and great, strong lyrics,” Nash says of the music filling her speakers as a child. And the storytelling the now 39-year-old does on The State I’m In comes from pages in her diary. Many of the songs stemmed from the joys of parenthood (the singer has an 11-year-old son) and sadness of losing her father, which was followed shortly after by the demise of her marriage.

“I’ve been busy with life and busy learning lessons about love and loss and keep on keepin’ on when things are rough,” says Nash, who co-wrote all 12 tracks on the new album.

Along with Nelson and other country greats, the musician tried to emulate the sounds of Flaco Jimenez on much of The State I’m In. (“His sound is the embodiment of much of the vibe I tried to capture,” she explains.) And there’s even a little Beach Boys influence heard in “What’s Behind Me,” which she co-wrote with her husband, Stephen Wilson, and Jesse Hall. Still, “it isn’t a throwback record,” Nash insists of the LP, which was recorded in Nashville. “And we weren’t afraid of going beyond the country genre. We just went where the songs told us to go — and they took us to some great places.”

Pre-order Leigh Nash’s The State I’m In here.

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Tuesday, July 14th, 2015



Thanks, Brad Wheeler, for magazine cover.