Willie Nelson’s ‘American Classic’ cd party in Hawaii

photo by Sandra Conway

““It was unbelievable, definitely the best gig of my life.”
— Tom Conway.

by Jon Woodhouse

Last week Willie Nelson hosted a release party for his new CD, “American Classic” at Charley’s. This jam-packed “secret” gig featured the country legend playing songs from the new album, along with performances by indie rock group Band of Horses, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and Gail Swanson.

Willie’s ace backing band featured Gypsy Pacific’s Tom Conway on guitar, bassist Marcus Johnson, guitarist Phil Benoit, keyboardist Brian Cuomo, saxophonist David Choy, and Michael Buono on drums.

“Willie called me a couple of months ago and gave me an advance copy of the record and wanted me to put a band together,” explains Tom Conway. “I basically transcribed the entire album and we rehearsed and it turned out real well.”

Tom joined Gail Swanson to open the evening, followed by Promise of the Real rocking out with guest vocalist Woody Harrison on Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Willie joined Band of Horses for their finale of “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys,” and stayed on stage to perform most of “American Classic” with the Maui all-stars.

Released on the Blue Note jazz label, the CD sees Willie return to the great American songbook with classic tunes like “Since I Fell For You” and “Fly Me to The Moon.”

“He purposely wanted the show to coincide with the official release of the album,” says Tom. “It was unbelievable, definitely the best gig of my life.” The show was videotaped by MySpace and Sirius XM Radio will broadcast it some time soon. Tom and Gypsy Pacific previously collaborated with the country legend, recording 18 tracks for a forthcoming album.

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