On April 16, thousands of vinyl lovers will wake up early in order to snatch up their own Record Store Day 2016 exclusive releases. This year, there’s an impressive list of country albums from across the genre that will hit the shelves in limited quantities next month.
Willie Nelson is featured on a seven-inch single, which features his and Uncle Tupelo’s versions of “Truck Drivin’ Man.” Emmylou Harris will release a deluxe remastered edition of her 1995 album Wrecking Ball, which will also feature previously unreleased material.
Find your local independent record store, and read about the other releases here:
* First time ever issued on vinyl for Record Store Day 2015
* Features duets with and backing vocals by Emmylou Harris
* Produced by Daniel Lanois (U2 Joshua Tree; Bob Dylan Time Out Of Mind; Emmylou Harris Wrecking Ball)
* Record Store Day exclusive featuring deluxe gatefold “tip-on” uncoated jacket and gold vinyl
* Limited to 5,000 copies
Location is everything. When Willie Nelson and album producer Daniel Lanois set out to create a cinematic-sounding album, Teatro, they took over a disused movie theatre in Oxnard, California, and pictured its dusty glory on the LP sleeve. Recorded as-live in situ amid the red velvet seats, Teatro sees Nelson working extensively with his frequent collaborator Emmylou Harris, who joins him for duets and on backing vocals on 11 of the 14 tracks. The other major player is U2 and Paul McCartney collaborator Daniel Lanois (producer of Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind, Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball), who produces the album, plays guitar and bass, took the cover photo and wrote one of the album’s songs, “The Maker”, a stunning performance with glacier-thick vibe.
Reinvention is key on Teatro, with Nelson revisiting a number of songs he first wrote in the 1960s, including 1968’s “I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye” and 1962’s “I’ve Just Destroyed the World” and “Three Days”. Though the songs are familiar, the sounds aren’t: Teatro found Nelson experimenting with rhythms and flavors as never before, from the Spanish-influenced “Darkness On The Face Of The Earth” to the double-drum-kit percussive groove of “My Own Peculiar Way”.
Accompanied by a nine-piece band that included Nelson’s sister, Bobbie Nelson, on piano, the group conjure up an atmosphere informed by the howling harmonicas and distant mariachi bands of spaghetti western soundtracks, the end result being a Willie Nelson album quite unlike any other in his career, and one that reveals it widescreen vision through arresting sonic imagery.
Originally released by Island Record in 1998, Teatro is issued here as a special Record Store Day release. LA and Seattle-based Light In The Attic present the album as it’s never been seen before – on vinyl. Pressed on gold vinyl with a deluxe, gatefold, ‘tip-on’ uncoated jacket, this is a chance to own this unique album in its most beautifully presented form
1. Ou Es-Tu, Mon Amour
2. I never cared for you
3. Everywhere I Go
4. Darkness on the Face of the Earth
5. My Own Peculiar Way
6. These Lonely Nights
7. Home Motel
8. The Maker
9. I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye
10. I’ve Just Destroyed the World
11. Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
12. Three Days
13. I’ve Loved You All Over the World
Willie Nelson, EmmyLou Harris, Daniel Lanois, ‘The Maker’
Throughout his 40-plus year career, Willie Nelson has always pushed the envelope of country music. He’s done straight country and honky tonk, explored his interests in pop standards and blues, and taken side trips into jazz and string-heavy big band. As a matter of fact, a reggae album is supposedly in the works. With that in mind, Willie’s newest release, Teatro , makes perfect sense, as the Red Headed Stranger matches his fantastic songs with some heavy almost mariachi rhythms.
Anyone familiar with Willie’s music knows he draws heavily on sounds from south of the Texas border, especially in his distinctive, Mexican-flavored guitar playing. It is thanks to those roots in Tex-Mex that Teatro , for the most part, works. Reprising her role as World’s Greatest Backup Singer, the fabulous Emmylou Harris appears on a number of tracks to add her distinctive backing vocals to Willie’s ragged voice, shining particularly on “These Lonely Nights.” Hooking up with producer Daniel Lanois, who’s worked with U2 and most recently Bob Dylan, Willie digs out some hoary old chestnuts of songs, adding a little Mexican spice.Except for three new tracks, all the songs on the album are at least 30 years old. Like his big-band jazz effort “Healing Hands of Time,” Willie reworks some classics.
The most engaging track is producer Lanois’s excellent “The Maker.” Nelson’s time-ravaged voice is still in excellent shape and is perfect for the sin-and-redemption theme of the tune. The mariachi-like rhythms work perfectly with the sprightly “Darkness on the Face of the Earth,” giving the old honky-tonk rocker an almost Bo Diddley feel. “Three Days” and “I’ve Just Destroyed the World” are by themselves fantastic tunes and the new reworkings breathe new life in the forgotten classics. Willie also reprises one of his most beautiful songs, “Home Motel,” one of the few tracks without rhythmic update.The only tune Lanois’s production falls flat on is “I Never Cared For You.” The heavy drums and in-your-face rhythms distract from the overall beauty of this wonderful tune. Beyond that, however, Teatro is a nifty little album with an interesting bent on Willie’s music. Teatro proves above all else the man can still surprise, so who knows what he has up his sleeve next.
Peering through the control room glass into the studio, a cloud of smoke rises from Sister Bobbie Nelson’s Bosendorfer grand piano. After four hours of non-stop recording with baby brother Willie, perhaps she has ignited the keys during this marathon session???
Listening back to “I Never Cared for You,” the interplay between Bobbie and Will on the instrumental intro “Ou-es tu, mon amour” sets the mood perfectly for the darkness the song portrays.
“Nuages,” a song written by French Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, showcases Willie’s dexterity and guitar genius. Whenever we are just sitting around the bus, Willie will pick up a guitar and start playing. Like the horse heading to the barn, he always gets around to “Nuages.” It’s good mendicine for him. And on this take, Bobbie’s piano provides the support that makes their performances seem effortless.
In the beautiful hill country near Austin, Texas you’ll find Willie’s Pedernales studio. Willie and Bobbie are set up in the main room which is L-shaped and doesn’t allow direct eye contact during recording. Without much discussion of an arrangement, Bobbie started playing and Willie began singing “Mona Lisa.” That was the beginning of another magical session.
Recording engineer Steve Chadie and Willie’s friend and producer, Buddy Cannon were at the controls as it all happened. It’s kind of like photographing a ghost; you don’t really see it till the picture is fully developed. Throughout these sessions Bobbie and Willie played continuously and seemed to never run out of song ideas — which is a producer’s dream (or nightmare). Eventually songs had to be picked for the final selections. With so many outstanding performances to choose from. I’m glad I wasn’t a part of that process.
As long as I can remember. Willie and Bobbie, who ride together on Willie’s bus, spend some of their traveling time jamming on their favorite songs. Bobbie has a travels size keyboard on the bus and Willie’s guitar, Trigger, is always by his side. This is where the idea for DECEMBER DAY was born. “Why not record our favorite songs like we play them for ourselves?” Bobbie asked.
In 2010 after ending a tour in Austin, Texas, the band, made up of Paul and Billy English, Bee Spears and myself, went in the studio to record with Bobbie and Willie. The song “What’ll I do” is especially bittersweet because of the passing of Bee Speers. Bee was Willie’s bass player for more than four decades and this was the last recording session he played with us. He is missed by us all.
In 2012 while recording songs for the record LET’S FACE THE MUSIC AND DANCE, we would stray from the song list every once in a while. Willie might call out a song title or Bobbie might have a suggestion and this was the fun part of recording with these guys. You didn’t know where the music was going next. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” was born from such a diversion. We are all fans of the Irving Berlin songbook and of the Ray Charles version, so this was a perfect tribute to both.
In 2004, another impromptu visit to the studio resulted in three songs penned by Willie. “Walkin'” is truly a classic. Originally heard in the concept album PHASES AND STAGES, this version goes right to the heart. Willie’s guitar solo hits you like a gunshot at the O.K. Corral. If through is the question, then Bobbie is the answer as nothing rings more true than her piano.
“Laws of Nature” is an “a-ha” moment. Willie writes like he’s talking to you face-to-face. Bobbie provides the soundtrack for that conversation. It’s easy to make records with these guys. You just have to listen… and then react from the heart. It’s pretty primal.
The song “Amnesia” rounded out those sessions but honestly, I can’t remember anything about it.
Raised by their grandparents in Abbott, a small farming community north of Waco, Texas, Willie and Bobbie began a musical odyssey that has continued for over 70 years. Daddy Nelson taught Willie how to play guitar when he was seven, and momma Nelson taught sister Bobbie the piano when she was nine. Sundays were spent playing at the Abbott Methodist church and gave Bobbie and Willie the spiritual foundation that still can be found in their music.
When it comes to a brother-sister collaboration with the longevity of Willie and Bobbie, there is beauty in keeping things simple, “Less is more” is the underlying theme. We’ve heard these songs before but not like this. The spontaneity born out of familiarity is what this record, DECEMBER DAY is all about.
It’s not rocket science. It’s alchemy.
Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie December Day (Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1)
1. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (Irving Berlin)
2. Permanently Lonely (Willie Nelson)
3. What’ll I Do (Irving Berlin)
4. Summer of Roses / December Day (Willie Nelson)
5. Nuages (Django Reinhardt)
6. Mona Lisa (Ray Evans & Jay Livingston)
7. I Don’t Know Where I Am Today (Willie Nelson)
8. Amnesia (Willie Nelson)
9. Who’ll Buy My Memories (Willie Nelson)
10. The Anniversary Song (Al Jolson & Saul Chaplin)
11. Laws of Nature (Willie Nelson)
12. Walkin’ (Willie Nelson)
13. Always (Irving Berlin)
14. I Let My Mind Wander (Willie Nelson)
15. Is the Better Part Over (Willie Nelson)
16. My Own Peculiar Way (Willie Nelson)
17. Sad Songs and Waltzes (Willie Nelson)
Legacy Recordings has really outdone themselves for this year’s Record Store Day, scheduled for Saturday, April 21, 2012. Among the artists that will have special, limited edition 7″ and 12″ vinyl releases are Janis Joplin, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Ozzy Osbourne, Lou Reed and The Clash.
Just Breathe – CD single – Features Willie’s cover of Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe, a key track from Heroes, his upcoming new album on Legacy, as well as a non-album cut, Can I Sleep In Your Arms (a new recording of a Hank Cochran tune Willie first recorded for Red-Headed Stranger in 1975). CD single includes Come On Back Jesus (also from Heroes) and a $2 coupon redeemable on purchases of Heroes (available May 15).