Archive for the ‘Songs’ Category

Billboard Picks Top Ten Willie Nelson songs

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

photo:  Gary Miller

www.Billboard.com

Willie Nelson. The name is six letters each for both first and last name, yet there is nothing simple about the man. In his career, he has defied – and continues to defy genres or classifications. He has recorded albums with just about every musical theme known to man since he began recording in the late 1950s. He has tipped the hat to Cole Porter and Ray Price, and recorded with artists ranging from Hank Snow to Snoop Dogg.

To dissect Nelson’s recorded legacy in a (somewhat) comprehensive manner, we decided to make this about Nelson’s greatest solo singles over the years. Artists such as Waylon, Johnny, and Julio all belong on a greatest hits list……but let’s hold that for a duet one. Here are ten of his finest moments in the solo spotlight!

10. Willie Nelson – “September Song”

The names Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson, and Walter Huston were not – and are not now, for that matter – known to Country audiences in 1979. And, Weill and Anderson’s composition – which Huston took to number one in 1950, and was also recorded by crooners such as Sinatra and Crosby – wouldn’t probably make many lists of “Great Willie Nelson songs.” But, the singer DID record this one for the 1978 triumph Stardust, and did climb to the Top-20 on the Country singles chart with it. And, if you heard it back then – you know that this was one of his greatest performances.

9. Willie Nelson – “Forgiving You Was Easy”

For all the success and all the awards that have come Nelson’s way over the years, the most telling sign of his greatness is just how purely simple his songs are. There wasn’t a lot of production or overblown words on this 1985 number one hit, but there didn’t need to be. The singer wrote what he felt, delivered it on record, and simply let the listener be the judge. And, that’s sometimes all you really need to do.

8.  Willie Nelson – “One in a Row”

Deciding to limit this list to just Nelson’s solo work ensured that I would be able to select at least one track from his pre-beard early days on RCA Victor. Nelson never did hit the top ten during his days on the label, which was a shame – as the singer came up with some very interesting and vital work during his several years at the label. One of his biggest Nipper-related moments came with this Top-20 hit from 1966 that allowed the singer to shine in this Nashville Sound-themed recording. Perhaps it was the dramatic element of the arrangement that made his unique vocal phrasing stand out so. This is definitely one of his most under-rated moments.

7.  Willie Nelson – “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”

As incredible of a wordsmith as Nelson has been in his career, the casual listener might be a little bit shocked that this ode to the lifestyle of the Old West does not include Nelson’s name as a writer. Instead, that honor goes to Sharon Vaughn, who crafted this finely-tuned lyric that inspired many who grew up drawn to the exploits of Rogers, Autry, and Bonanza.

6.  Willie Nelson – “On The Road Again” 

A Honeysuckle Rose inclusion, this song serves as proof of Nelson’s love of the road – and all that it entails. There’s something about the allure of the highway and the stage that has kept the singer going from one stage to the other – for years and years.

Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson onstage at Beacon Theatre in New York City.

5. Willie Nelson – “Whiskey River”

A concert staple since the early 1970s, this is perhaps Nelson’s closest thing to a theme song that he has in his catalog. But, actually, it’s not his catalog. Fellow Texan Johnny Bush wrote and recorded an amazing version of the song prior to Nelson, but it’s the singer’s 1979 cover that fans will point to as one of the greatest stage kick-off songs in country music history.

4. Willie Nelson – “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground”

From his Honeysuckle Rose film, this one remains one of Nelson’s greatest compositions. Walk down Nashville’s Broadway on any given night – and you will hear at least one country singer wanna-be performing this classic Willie Nelson song of heartbreak. Perhaps the singer at his most authentic and vulnerable.

3. Willie Nelson – “Always On My Mind”

Brenda Lee recorded it. Elvis Presley enjoyed a minor hit with it. But, in the hands of Nelson – one of the master song interpreters of all time – this record became one that was yielded into the Great American Songbook of the 1980s. His 1982 recording of this was an across-the-board hit for the singer, and also yielded Song of the Year trophies for writers Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James – all for a song that had been a decade old at the time!

2. Willie Nelson – “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”

After two decades in the business as a successful tunesmith, Nelson finally broke through to the top of the Billboard Country charts with – what else? A Fred Rose classic made famous by Roy Acuff some three decades prior! There was nothing about Nelson’s sparse recording of this chestnut – or the Red Headed Stranger album that it was selected from – that rang with commercial aplomb when it hit the market in 1975, but perhaps that’s what we love most about Willie Nelson – There is no rhyme or reason to the chorus. We simply love the chorus.

1. Willie Nelson – “Georgia On My Mind”

So, you’re on top of the musical world, as Willie Nelson’s star finally was in 1978. Chances are you are not looking to revisit musical legacies from a bygone era – but then again, Willie has always danced to his own musical beat. His decision to release the classics album Stardust – and to dust off this Hoagy Carmichael ballad was probably not the wisest conventionally, but any conversation about Willie Nelson songs has to include this one – which is best played over a stereo in the dark, with one’s favorite beverage within reaching distance.

Willie Nelson, “I Gotta Get Drunk”

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Willie Nelson and Faron Young and the story behind “Hello Walls”

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Willie Nelson Spotify Playlist

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Willie Nelson

www.jambase.com

Outlaw country legend Willie Nelson celebrates his 84th birthday today. Just yesterday Willie released a new studio album God’s Problem Child further adding to his already outstanding recording career. With his trusty acoustic Martin guitar “Trigger” in hand, Nelson continues to light up stages around the world

To celebrate Willie’s birthday, Saturday Stream presents a Spotify Playlist made up of a collection of career-spanning recordings featuring Nelson performing live throughout the past 50 years. The set includes solo and Willie Nelson & Family recordings, as well as many collaborations with fellow talented musicians such as Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Carole King, Wynton Marsalis, Norah Jones, Al Green, Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Jerry Jeff Walker, Chris Stapleton and others. There are also tracks featuring The Highwayman supergroup of Nelson alongside Cash, Waylon Jennings /strong> and Kris Kristofferson.

The 60-song playlist begins with cuts from Willie’s pre-Trigger, 1966 Country Music Concert live album that was recorded during a show at Panther Hall in Fort Worth, Texas on July 5, 1966. The career-spanning set ends with Willie leading an all-star ensemble at the 2015 Outlaw: Celebrating The Music Of Waylon Jennings concert at ACL Live At The The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Favorites such as “Crazy,” “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” “On The Road Again,” “Whiskey River,” “Uncloudy Day,” “Luckenback, Texas” and many others can be streamed in the playlist below

 

Patsy Cline sings Willie Nelson’s, “Crazy”

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Willie Nelson, “Still is Still Moving to Me”

Monday, February 6th, 2017

When people ask me which of the songs Ive written are my favorites, “Still is Still Moving” always comes up near the top of the list.  The band and I play it at almost every concert, and I’ve recorded it countless times, as well, so you have got to figure the song means something important to me.

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the song is me.

Whether you look at the song from the point of view of ancient philosophies or from the modern knowledge of quantum physics, there is great motion in all stillness, and true stillness at the heart of all action.

The early Chinese philosophers referred to hits in the concept of something called wu wei, which suggests fulfilling every task with the least necessary action.  Two notes are not required when one will suffice.  Twenty words may not say something better than ten, or one.  For me, that word is stillness.

No matter how still I am, the world around me is abuzz with activity, and the world within me as well.  Modern physics tells us that the atoms in our body ” and all the particles and forces that make up those atoms ” are never at rest.  While our bodies and the world around us seem solid, that physical appearance is merely an illusion, for each of our atoms is comprised primarily of empty space.

If your life in this modern world seems to pass you by at the speed of light, perhaps you could consult Einstein, who proved that the faster we travel, the more time is compressed.  That’s right, the faster we go, the less time we have.  So what is your hurry?

This may not mean much to you, but it must be quite traumatic for the atoms.  Would you like to hear an atom joke?  I didn’t think so, but here is one anyway:

A neutron went into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?”

The bartender says, “For you, no charge.”

 


The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart

The Tao of Willie Nelson
by Willie Nelson, with Turk Pipkin

“Living in the Promiseland,” Willie Nelson

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

www.WideOpenCountry

When Willie Nelson received the prestigious Gershwin Prize in Washington, D.C. last year,  he sang this song. “I think this is one of the most appropriate songs that we could do for this period in America,” Nelson told an audience of politicians from both sides of the aisle. One year later, the message is truer than ever.

Originally released in 1988, “Living in the Promisedland” is about America’s vow to the world:

“Leave us your broken dreams/
We’ll give them time to mend/
There’s still a lot of love/
Living in the Promised Land.” 

Willie Nelson, “Pretty Paper”

Monday, November 28th, 2016

www.WillieNelson.com

“Still is Still Moving to Me”, by Willie Nelson

Friday, November 25th, 2016

When people ask me which of the songs Ive written are my favorites, “Still is Still Moving” always comes up near the top of the list.  The band and I play it at almost every concert, and I’ve recorded it countless times, as well, so you have got to figure the song means something important to me.

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the song is me.

Whether you look at the song from the point of view of ancient philosophies or from the modern knowledge of quantum physics, there is great motion in all stillness, and true stillness at the heart of all action.

The early Chinese philosophers referred to hits in the concept of something called wu wei, which suggests fulfilling every task with the least necessary action.  Two notes are not required when one will suffice.  Twenty words may not say something better than ten, or one.  For me, that word is stillness.

No matter how still I am, the world around me is abuzz with activity, and the world within me as well.  Modern physics tells us that the atoms in our body ” and all the particles and forces that make up those atoms ” are never at rest.  While our bodies and the world around us seem solid, that physical appearance is merely an illusion, for each of our atoms is comprised primarily of empty space.

If your life in this modern world seems to pass you by at the speed of light, perhaps you could consult Einstein, who proved that the faster we travel, the more time is compressed.  That’s right, the faster we go, the less time we have.  So what is your hurry?

This may not mean much to you, but it must be quite traumatic for the atoms.  Would you like to hear an atom joke?  I didnt think so, but here is one anyway:

A neutron went into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?”

The bartender says, “For you, no charge.”

 


The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart

The Tao of Willie Nelson
by Willie Nelson, with Turk Pipkin

Willie Nelson, “Still is Still Moving to Me”

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Willie Nelson sings Lyndel Rhodes

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

www.today.com
by:  Alexander Zaslow

At 92 years old, Lyndel Rhodes can now add “songwriter” to her resume.

Rhodes, who lives a few hours from Nashville, recently had a song she wrote recorded by country great Willie Nelson. She’s got her son, Buddy Cannon, to thank for it.

Growing up, Rhodes loved music, and she passed that passion down to her son went on to become a music producer, working with artists like Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire and Willie Nelson.

lynbud

Lyndel Rhodes with her son, Buddy Cannon. He’s a music producer and arranged for Willie Nelson to record a song she wrote.

A few years back, Cannon was visiting his mom at her home when she showed him some songs she’d written for fun.

One, called “Little House On The Hill,” made an impression.

“[It] stuck in my head all these years, and when it came time to work on Willie Nelson’s new album, I thought it’d be something he’d like,” Cannon, 69, told TODAY

.willbudd

 

“I wanted to capture her reaction to listening to Willie sing the song for the first time, but she was very emotional,” Cannon said.

More than a million people have now watched her wiggle her feet as she sang along.

Rhodes and Nelson have never met in person.

But, in the ten years they’ve been working together, Cannon occasionally has shared with Nelson videos of his mother-son jam sessions.

This led to Rhodes receiving a special phone call from Nelson a couple years ago telling her how much he enjoys listening to her play the harmonica.

He also invited her on the road with him, saying he’d save her a bunk on the bus.

“Willie is a bigger fan of my mom’s than she is of him,” Cannon said.

“He Won’t Ever be Gone” – Willie Nelson records song in tribute to Merle Haggard by Gary Nicholson

Monday, October 3rd, 2016
garystatue
Gary Nicholson (in the Billy Joe Shaver Shirt) and Buddy Cannon (with the Willie Nelson statue)

Gary Nicholson wrote, “When Merle Haggard passed I wrote a song, ‘He Won’t Ever Be Gone’.” I’m so thrilled and honored that Willie Nelson recorded it, Buddy Cannon produced, and I sang the scratch vocal when they cut the track.  I brought along my Willie sculpture from THSHOF.”

No news on when we get to hear the song.

 

Willie Nelson, “Crazy”

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

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Willie Nelson and Carrie Underwood, “You Were Always On My Mind”

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

www.CountryRebel.com

The song “Always On My Mind” is not only considered a classic in country music, but in the music industry as a whole. Over time, countless artists have released their own recordings of the iconic tune, but none is probably more beloved than Willie Nelson’s version from his February 11, 1982 album of the same title.

Originally recorded by Gwen McCrae and Brenda Lee in 1972, “Always On My Mind” managed to make its way on the charts, but didn’t exerpeience overwhelming success. The song’s popularity increased in 1972 when Elvis Presley released his version, which peaked at the third spot on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

But it was Nelson’s version that gained the most attention, and it quickly soared to the top of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Nelson’s recording was also a crossover hit, and made its way into the top five on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2013, Nelson revisited his version of the song for his duet album To All the Girls. For his duet partner, Nelson chose the incredibly talented Carrie Underwood, who was honored to sing the song with him. “It’s just one of those beautiful, classic songs that everybody knows and everybody’s sung…” said Underwood in an interview for Nelson’s YouTube channel. “For me to be able to say I sang it with Willie Nelson is pretty awesome.”

Underwood’s sweet, angelic voice is perfect for the track, and the contrast between her voice and Nelson’s raspy vocals make for a beautiful combination. Even though Nelson and Underwood’s duet was never released as a single, it truly stands out from the other songs on his album. Once you hear the way Nelson and Underwood’s voices sound together, you’ll know why. Read more at: https://tr.im/Zz5ZM

Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
If I made you feel second best
Girl I’m sorry I was blind

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

And maybe I didn’t hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
And I guess I never told you
I’m so happy that you’re mine
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time

But you were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Tell me tell me that your sweet love hasn’t died
And give me Give me one more chance
To keep you satisfied
I’ll keep you satisfied

Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time

But you were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

“Willie, the Wandering Gypsy, and Me” — Billy Joe Shaver

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

Three fingers whiskey pleasures the drinkers
And moving does more than the same thing for me
Willy he tells me that doers and thinkers
Say, Movin’ is a closest thing to being free

He rosins his riggins laid back his wages
He’s dead certain ridin’ the big rodeo
My woman’s tight with an overdue baby
And Willy keeps yelling, Hey Gypsy let’s go

Willy you’re wild as a Texas Blue Norther
Ready rolled from the same makins as me
Well, I reckon we’re gonna ramble till Hell freeze us over
Willy the wandering Gypsy and me

Well ladies we surely will take of your favors
And we’ll surely warn you there never will be
A single soul living that could put brand or handle
On Willy the wandering Gypsy and me

We’ll dance on the mountains, shout in the canyons
Swarm it ain’t loose herd like a wild buffalo
Jammin’ our heads full of figures
And angles and tellin’ us stuff that we already know

Willy you’re wild as a Texas Blue Norther
Ready rolled from the same makins as me
Well, I reckon we’re gonna ramble till Hell freezes over
Willy the wandering Gypsy and me

Yeah, Willy you’re wild as a Texas Blue Norther
Ready rolled from the same makins as me
And I reckon we’re gonna ramble till Hell freeze us over
Willy the wandering Gypsy and me