One By Willie Podcast: How Willie came to record Rainbow Connection

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by: John Spong

Willie’s daughter Amy Nelson was just five years old when she first heard Kermit the Frog sing “Rainbow Connection” in 1979’s The Muppet Movie, and she fell for it instantly. But unlike other of her childhood fascinations, her love for the song never waned, and she spent the next twenty years trying to talk her dad into recording it.

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On this episode of One by Willie, Amy describes finally getting Willie to cut “Rainbow Connection” in 2001, and talks about the eponymous album that grew from that session. She describes the project as a magical, extended-family affair, recorded at the small studio in Luck, with a backing band of Willie’s nearest and dearest and Amy as coproducer.

Fleshed out with playground favorites and songs Willie used to pick and sing for his kids at bedtime—folk song “Old Blue” was one of the latter—the record was envisioned as his first children’s album. But, Willie being Willie, he ended up tacking some more grown-up songs onto the end of the record, which went on to earn a 2002 Grammy nomination for country album of the year. Amy discusses all that, plus her own decidedly grown-up songs as one half of the acoustic folk duo Folk Uke.

We’ve created an Apple Music playlist for this series that we’re adding to with each episode we publish. And if you like the show, please subscribe and drop us a rating on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

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