Nelson, Marsalis, Jones explore genius of Charles
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
– Once was not enough for Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis. After appearing together on 2008's Blue Note album "Two Men With the Blues," the two are joining forces - this time with Nora Jones - for " Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles," a 12-tune song cycle about the ups and downs of love, out March 29 on Blue Note.
The first meeting of Nelson and Marsalis was at The Allen Room at New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center for 2 nights in 2007; their encore appearance was also staged at the jazz house - this time for two sold-out nights at Rose Theater in February 2009 with special guest Jones. The three paid homage to the music of the late Ray Charles.
The new songs are rendered in a variety of styles, including gospel two-beat, boogaloo, country ballad, bolero, hard bop, r&b, waltz and 4/4 swing. Instrumental support at the concert came via the trumpeter's working quintet-tenor saxophonist Walter Blanding, pianist Dan Nimmer, bassist Carlos Henriquez and drummer Ali Jackson - and Nelson's longtime sidekick, Mickey Raphael, on harmonica.
Marsalis arranged the set list as a story line about love: "You fall in love, you get lost and busted, and then you try to come back."
"It's what I call root-groove music," explains Marsalis. "The root music cuts across all the boundaries and genres in American music." He adds, "There was a time in the early '50s when artists would come up and be influenced by all types of music." Nelson agrees: "You have to love all kinds of music to put your own interpretation on (the songs)."
Nelson said Charles "did more for country music with that one album than any of us could have done because he opened country songs and country music to millions of his fans and brought a whole lot of people together."
Jones was happy to be invited to share the stage. "It was a no-brainer for me. I love Willie so much and have had a musical relationship with him. And I've always wanted to do something with Wynton."
When she heard the theme of the evening Charles' music, she said, "I know all those songs. We all just love his music. That's the common factor."
"This was a special event for me," said Nelson. "It always is when we get together."
1. Hallelujah I Love Her So (Gospel 2-beat / Boogaloo / 4/4 Swing)
2. Come Rain or Come Shine (Walking Ballad)
3. Unchain My Heart (Bolero with Habanera bass)
4. Cryin' Time (Country Ballad)
5. Losing Hand (Dirge with Chain-Gang Shuffle)
6. Hit The Road Jack (Gospel 2-beat / 4/4 Swing)
7. I'm Moving On (Boogaloo with Afro-Latin Backbeat / 4/4 Swing)
8. Busted (Gospel 12/8 Shuffle)
9. Here We Go Again (Rhythm & Blues 12/8 Shuffle)
10. Makin' Whoopie (Hard-Bop 2-beat / 4/4 Swing)
11. I Love You So Much (It Hurts) (Waltz)
12. What'd I Say (Boogaloo)
More news for Willie Nelson
CD reviews for Willie Nelson
God's Problem Child
One thing is for certain, Willie Nelson is still not dead. In fact, he may be more alive than ever considering the amount of work he is churning out these days. "God's Problem Child" is Nelson's 12th release in the last 5 years, and thankfully, it does not appear that he will be slowing down any time soon. At 84 years old, Nelson has certainly put in his time for a much-deserved retirement, but to the benefit of country music and its fans, he continues to write, record and »»»
Summertime Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin
Willie Nelson is arguably the greatest living interpreter of American standards. His 1978 album "Stardust," which may very well be his greatest studio recording, came out of nowhere and wowed fans and critics alike with its unique and respectful take on classic American tunes. Nelson proved the formula still worked with the 2009 album "American Classic," and his live performances for decades have been peppered with songs from the great American songbook. »»»
Band of Brothers
Willie Nelson has been routinely busy since 1996 with touring, recording, writing books and more touring. Yet his latest offering is a rarity of sorts in that it's his first true studio album of primarily new material since 1996. And like so much of his material beforehand, Nelson mines very little new ground with this record. That doesn't mean it's not stellar however!
The first song "Bring It On" contains all the hallmarks of a classic Nelson tune, from the »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers
When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience
Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
Legends don't come any more legendary than Chris Hillman. The roll call of bands that comprises Hillman's half century in music reads like a wing exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, the Desert Rose Band,... »»»
William Shakespeare noted a few centuries back that a rose by any other
name would be equally aromatic, and that general idea has musical
implications as well. The Cadillac Three knows a thing or two about maintaining
a sonic identity after a name change;... »»»
Those aware of the late Owsley "Bear" Stanley likely know him for one of two reasons - his pioneering work manufacturing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in San Francisco during the mid-to-late 1960s and his role as an innovative sound engineer. Most notably, Bear worked...... »»»
The stunning vocal of Travis Meadows on the opening track, "Sideways," brims with honesty, pain and hard-earned wisdom as he offers a blend of confession and advice, stimulated by an experience at an adolescent addiction treatment center. Meadows, like many, is one of those Nashville songwriters ("Riser" for Dierks Bentley and "What We Ain't Got" for Jake Owen), but is finding his own voice relatively late in life. »»»
The Long Awaited Album
When last we visited a new album from Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, 2011's "Rare Bird Alert," we found a cohesive, focused collection of bluegrass; it was an expansive, artistic creation that only benefited the bluegrass community. A subsequent live album (strikingly entitled "Live") presented a continued refinement of this pairing's chemistry. »»»
Bidin' My Time
With all the memorable music Chris Hillman created with The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and Desert Rose Band, he has nothing left to prove. He's a both a bona fide rock and country icon. Tom Petty, who owes an obvious debt to Hillman's...
Turmoil & Tinfoil
Billy Strings. It takes a lot of nerve to adopt such a nom de plume (in this case nom de guerre might be more appropriate) in the bluegrass world, but Billy Strings is up to the challenge, and more. Strings (real name William Apostol) grew up in Michigan, surrounded by musicians. »»»
Jon Langford's Four Lost Souls
Jon Langford shifts musical gears as effortlessly as a European race car driver on a Grand Prix course. Looking at the totality of his career (The Mekons, Waco Brothers, Skull Orchard, the Three Johns, Wee Hairy Beasties, Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Bad Luck Jonathan, God knows what else), it hardly seems as though one peg could have fit into all those oddly shaped holes... »»»
Larry Campbell and Teresa Campbell could have been content to retain their status as musicians on call, given the fact that they've loaned their services to any number of high profile employers -- Bob Dylan, Rosanne Cash, Mavis Staples, Levon Helm, Little... »»»