Archive for the ‘Willie Nelson covers’ Category

Another Willie Nelson cover: Kenny Neal, “Ain’t it Funny, How Time Slips Away”

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Jazzy Willie Nelson covers, by Gabrielle Stravelli

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017
by: Shari Lifland

Why would an Italian jazz singer from Staten Island and New Jersey create a show that celebrates the music of a country legend from Texas? Gabrielle Stravelli shared the story behind her love for Willie Nelson’s music during her recent show at New York City’s Birdland Jazz Club: It all started yers ago when her sister took her to hear Nelson at the Garden State Arts center in Holmdel, New Jersey. They were sitting in the cheap seats, way up on the hill. Willie sang “Always on My Mind,” she began crying, and a lifelong fan girl was born.

Stravelli’s Birdland performance on September 24 marked the debut of her salute to Nelson, aptly titled “City Girl, Country Boy.” Each of the 14 songs in the set was written, co-written and/or recorded by the legendary artist. From the moment she first burst on to the stage with an up tempo medley of “Lady Luck” and “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time,” Stravelli, a petite dynamo in a chic black pantsuit accented by a large silver and turquoise statement necklace, engaged and enthralled the audience with her clear, self-assured voice and warm, infectious smile. Above all, Stravelli is a singer who honors the lyrics. Willie Nelson once described country music as “Three chords and the truth.” Stravelli gets that and she brilliantly conveys the emotional truth—whether joy, or in the case of so many country tunes, heartbreak—behind each song.

Stravelli’s second number was “Butterfly,” a ballad from Nelson’s 72nd studio album, the 2017 God’s Problem Child, and it was a show highlight. Her rendition was slow, twangy, and poignant, conveying the wistfulness of the lyrics: “Butterfly, do you ever get to stay? Or do you always fly away? Pretty butterfly. I have held you with tender, gentle hands. But you’re complicated, and I don’t understand.” Accompanied by Scott Robinson’s lilting flute, the song created a sweet, moving moment.

The song choices in “City Girl, Country Girl” spanned over five decades of Nelson’s work, with the above-mentioned “Butterfly” as the most recent, back to one of his earliest, lesser-known tunes, “Three Days” (released in 1962). Stravelli’s version, underscored by terrific solos on the drums (Eric Halvorson) and sax (Scott Robinson), was as bluesy as it gets, the perfect choice for the tune’s “I got it bad”-type lyrics: “Three days that I hate to see arrive; Three days that I dread to be alive; Three days filled with tears and sorrow; Yesterday today and tomorrow.”

Two additional highlights of the Birdland show were a pair of Nelson’s best known, most popular songs, the beloved Hoagy Carmichael standard “Stardust” and the honky tonky favorite “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys.” Stravelli’’s “Stardust” was a pivotal moment in “City Girl, Country Boy.” It began with her singing in a slow, bluesy, a cappella, accompanied only by her luminous smile and almost rhapsodic facial expression. Then Robinson joined in with a gorgeous, audience-pleasing sax solo. “Stardust,” one of Willie Nelson’s most celebrated performances, provided the title song for the quintuple platinum 1978 crossover album of jazz standards that launched him to genre-defying superstardom. Later in the show, Stravelli put a very personal spin on “Mamas…”—a very fast, upbeat, jazzy version that included extensive, joyful scatting and a inging sax solo that got the audience on its feet. The band seemed to enjoy playing the number as much as the audience enjoyed bopping along.

Stravelli closed the show with the tune that brought her to tears years before as a young girl in New Jersey—Nelson’s most recorded song, “Always on My Mind” (written by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson). Accompanied only by Joshua Richman on piano, Stravelli once again showcased her ability to honor the lyrics, artfully conveying the sentiment behind the words, as many audience members quietly sang along:

“Maybe I didn’t hold you All those lonely, lonely times 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”

R&B legend Otis Redding once gave the following advice to his fellow singers: “Always think different from the next person. Don’t ever do a song as you heard somebody else do it.” Performing works closely identified with as legendary an artist as Willie Nelson comes with a great risk of trying (and perhaps failing) to recreate the popular originals. However, for a true artist, the challenge is to use the original work as a starting point, as a canvas on which to paint one’s own creative vision. In “City Girl, Country Boy,” Gabrielle Stravelli, a brilliantly talented artist in her own right, succeeds in creating completely new works of art while honoring Nelson’s achievements.

Musicians accompanying Stravelli in “City Girl, Country Boy” were: Joshua Richman (piano), Pat O’Leary (bass/musical director/arranger), Eric Halvorson (drums), and Scott Robinson (Woodwinds).

Gabrielle Stravelli’s most recent album is Dream Ago, featuring her original songs, available on the Big Modern Music label. For more information:

Birdland Jazz Club is located at 315 West 44th Street in New York.

Another Willie Nelson cover, The Spinners, “Ain’t it Funny How Time Slips Away”

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Another Willie Nelson Cover: Jesse Dalton, “Sad Songs and Waltzes”

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Another Willie Nelson cover, “On the Road Again” (Tony Lucca, Jay Nash and Matt Duke)

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Tony Lucca partners with his friends — and frequent musical partners — Jay Nash and Matt Duke for May’s installment of The Boot’s Guest Room Sessions. Together, the three covered Willie Nelson’s beloved country classic “On the Road Again;” readers can watch above.

Lucca, Nash and Duke are all solo artists, but they also record and perform together as TFDI. For their Guest Room Sessions video, they perched themselves on the couch in Nash’s living room; their version of “On the Road Again” feels fairly autobiographical, given that the trio has spent years on the road together.

“”On the Road Again” is a song that the three of us have been fond of covering for some time now,” Lucca tells The Boot. “This was shot during a rehearsal for our current tour, in Jay’s living room, just before we literally got on the road (again) to head to Boston to kick off the tour.”

Together, Lucca, Nash and Duke released their self-titled debut EP as TFDI in 2009; they released both the TFDI II EP and their When I Stop Running album in 2011. Their most recent album, Beggars and Ballers, came out in April, and, as their Guest Room Sessions song choice indicates, they’ve spent plenty of time touring across the country. Fans can visit for upcoming show details.


Another Willie Nelson cover, Sturgill Simpson, “I’d Have to Be Crazy” (Farm Aid 2016)

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

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

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Another Willie Nelson cover, Patsy Cline, “Crazy”

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

On August 21, 1961, Patsy Cline records “Crazy” at the Bradley Film & Recording Studio in Nashville

1961 marked the dazzling highs and terrifying low of Patsy Cline’s career…and life, for that matter. January saw the release of her landmark recording of Hank Garland’s “I Fall to Pieces” (co-written by Harlan Howard). The track eventually landed at #1 on the country charts, a first for Cline. The song also had crossover success, eventually peaking at #12 on the pop chart. Cline was country royalty by this point. She had joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry the year before and was rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in the business. Somehow, she also had time to welcome a son into the world, Randy.

Then on June 14 it all came crashing down as Cline and her brother were involved in a serious automobile accident in Nashville, Tennessee. The head-on collision threw Cline into the windshield, where she suffered a huge cut across her forehead, bruised ribs, a broken wrist and a dislocated hip. The driver of the other vehicle was killed. Cline spent a month in the hospital and left still on crutches and with a scar that would remain for the rest of her life (she wore wigs and makeup to cover it).

With no touring or other promotions while she was out of action, Cline’s career was in danger of slipping permanently off the rails. In stepped producer Owen Bradley, who had helped to make Cline a star (a feat he matched working with Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, among others), steering her toward pop material like “Walkin’ After Midnight” and the aforementioned “Pieces.”

Bradley wanted Cline to record a song by an up-and-coming writer named Willie Nelson. The song was called “Crazy,” and Bradley thought it had the potential to match “I Fall to Pieces” in terms of crossover appeal.

Cline didn’t like the song. Perhaps affected by the physical pain she was still feeling from the wreck, she was unable to sing the tune as recorded on Nelson’s demo. The high notes, in particular, troubled her bruised ribs. Exasperated, Cline refused to go any further with a tune that she didn’t really like in the first place. Cline and Bradley had a heated argument about the song and she left the studio without finishing the track.

The following week, Bradley convinced her to take another crack at the song with a version a bit more broad and straightforward. In a single take, Cline nailed what would be her most enduring hit. The track rose to #2 on the country and adult contemporary charts and #9 on the pop charts. Cline would forevermore be recognized as one of the biggest names of country, headlining everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. Sadly, she was only able to enjoy the fruits of her success for a short time. She died in an airplane crash in 1963.

Another Willie Nelson Cover, Trey Anastasio Band, “On the Road Again” with a Happy Birthday Tribute to Willie

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Here’s audio taped by Lee Hart of “On The Road Again”:

Trey Anastasio Band ensemble threw a few surprises into their performance at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater.

The Trey Anastasio Band opened last night’s show with “On The Road Again” in honor of Willie Nelson’s 84th birthday. Nelson scored a big hit with “On The Road Again” upon its initial release in 1980. Anastasio’s horn section of James Casey, Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman brought the cover to a close with a horn line based around “Happy Birthday To You.” Trey had previously performed the song with Mike Gordon at various GRAB shows in 2006 and once with Phish at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver on August 31, 2013.

The other cover debut at last night’s TAB concert came within the second set. Apparently on the way to the show the group heard Hozier’s 2015 single “Work Song” and decided to learn it. Trey shared vocals on the a capella version with Casey, Hartswick and Cressman. Otherwise, Saturday’s show featured recently debuted originals (“Come Together”/”Everything’s Right”), covers (“Feel It Still”/”The Parting Glass”), plenty of TAB staples (“Cayman Review”/”Night Speaks To A Woman”/”Gotta Jibboo”) and more.

Here’s audio taped by Lee Hart of “On The Road Again”:


Set One:
On The Road Again
Cayman Review
Sometime After Sunset
Magilla, Sand
Feel It Still
Everything’s Right
Burlap Sack & Pumps
Dark & Down, Curlew’s Call
49 Bye Byes, Drifting
Gotta Jibboo

Set Two:
Money Love & Change
In Rounds, Mozambique
Simple Twist Up Dave
Tide Turns
Work Song
Come Together
Shine, Valentine
Clint Eastwood
Dazed & Confused

Another Willie Nelson cover: Chris Stapleton, “The Last Thing I Needed (first thing this morning)”

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Another Willie Nelson cover: “Shotgun Willie”, by Randy Rogers and Robert Earl Keen

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Texas stalwarts channel Willie Nelson to honor iconic Lone Star State venue Floore’s Country Store
by:  Jeff Gage

The hill country of central Texas is steeped in music history, but there may be no place more legendary than Floore’s Country Store. The general store, meat market and honky-tonk outside San Antonio has hosted everyone from Bob Wills to Elvis Presley to a then-unknown Willie Nelson, who once played there every Saturday.

“It sounds like country, but not our granddad’s country,” says Rogers of latest album ‘Nothing Shines Like Neon’

While Helotes, the tiny town where Floore’s is located, wasn’t incorporated until 1981, Floore’s celebrates its 75th anniversary of live music in 2017. To commemorate the occasion, Randy Rogers and Robert Earl Keen – who have both recorded live albums at Floore’s; two of them in Keen’s case – convened to wax on about the place’s significance and, of course, its famous tamales. The pair, who still play at Floore’s each year, also recorded a cover of Nelson’s “Shotgun Willie,” which immortalizes the store’s founder, John T. Floore.

Rogers and Keen kick off Floore’s anniversary celebrations with a co-headlining performance at the store on April 14th.

Alison Krauss, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Alison Krauss was one of the many artists who gathered in Washington DC in November 2015, to honor Willie Nelson, when he received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Songs.

Another Willie Nelson cover: “Yesterday’s Wine” — Jamey Johnson, George Jones, Blackberry Smoke

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Another Willie Nelson cover: Alison Krauss, “I Never Cared For You”

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Watch Alison Krauss Cover Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared for You” on “Stephen Colbert”
by:  Jim Casey

The tune, which was penned by Willie Nelson and originally recorded by him in 1964, is featured on Windy City, which is comprised of 10 covers of classic songs, including Glen Campbell’s “Gentle on My Mind,” Brenda Lee’s “Losing You,” Eddy Arnold’s “You Don’t Know Me” and more.

The new album released on Feb. 17 and features 10 classic songs that Alison hand selected with her producer Buddy Cannon (Kenny Chesney, George Jones), including the lead track, Brenda Lee’s “Losing You.”

“Usually it’s just all songs first,” Alison said in a statement. “It was the first time I’d ever not had songs picked out, and it was just about a person.” That person was veteran Nashville producer Buddy Cannon. “That was absolutely the moment,” she says of the moment she stepped in the studio with Buddy to sing “Make The World Go Away” for Jamey Johnson’s 2012 album, Living For A Song. “Wow! Buddy really makes me want to do a good job.”

As Alison and Buddy worked in the studio to create Windy City— the first new music since 2011’s Paper Airplane—they decided to record songs like “Gentle On My Mind” by Glen Campbell; “You Don’t Know Me” by Eddy Arnold; Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared For You” and Brenda Lee’s “All Alone Am I,” that pull at the heartstrings.

“It’s almost like you didn’t know it was sad, because it doesn’t sound weak.” Alison says of the album. “It doesn’t have a pitiful part to it, where so many sad songs do. But these don’t. And I love that about it. I love that there’s strength underneath there. That whatever those stories are, they didn’t destroy. That that person made it right through it. I love that.

“It was really fun. I had a great time doing it. And to really have the mindset of seeing something through someone else’s eyes was a blast,” said Alison.

Alison has released 13 albums, including her most recent 2011’s Paper Airplane and has sold more than 12 million records to date. With 27 wins, she is the most awarded female artist in GRAMMY history.

You can pre-order Windy City today, along with the album’s lead track “Losing You.”


Another Willie Nelson cover: “Yesterday’s Wine” — Jamey Johnson, George Jones, Blackberry Smoke

Saturday, February 18th, 2017