Willie Nelson - Willie's Stash Volume 2
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Willie's Stash Volume 2 (Sony Legacy, 2017)

Willie Nelson

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

The "boys" referenced in the title of Willie Nelson's "Willie's Stash Vol. 2," are his sons, Lukas and Micah Nelson. This second archival selection, following "December Day" (recorded with his sister/pianist Bobbie Nelson), was tracked in 2011 with producer Buddy Cannon at the helm. The album is mostly Hank Williams Sr. songs, along with a few other 'Hanks' (Cochran, Locklin and Snow), an Alyssa Miller number and one by the elder Nelson. Willie thinks these are "great songs and standards that the young people have never heard," although it's presumed Lukas and Micah know them well. The results are - considering the vintage of this song selection - surprisingly fresh.

It's necessary to note the vault nature of these recordings, as a recent local Nelson concert appearance found his vocals a little worse for wear. Truth be told: Willie just doesn't sing this well any longer. That said, you won't hear a country album this year much better than this one.

Nelson's son's, particularly Lukas, sound a lot like their dad. And like their father, they sound to have same love and respect for this material. Locklin's "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On," is enhanced by Jim "Moose" Brown's honky tonk piano fills and Willie's distinct noodling on his trusty Trigger. These songs have been recorded so many times, it takes true skill to make them somehow seem relevant. However, that patented Willie Nelson phrasing makes "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" appropriately weepy, and "I'm Movin' On" is - dare we say it? - positively peppy.

It's a bittersweet to hear Willie sounding so good on this album, with the knowledge he may no longer reach these vocal heights again. However, his sons are both extremely talented. They may rock a little harder than their old man (Lukas' band often tours as Neil Young's garage rock backing band), but they prove with these recordings that they appreciate country music traditions. Yep, Willie's legacy is in good hands, and this stash is truly the good stuff.

CDs by Willie Nelson

The Border, 2024 Bluegrass, 2023 Don't Know A Thing About Love, 2023 A Beautiful Time, 2022 That's Life, 2021 First Rose of Spring, 2020 Ride Me Back Home, 2019 My Way, 2018 Last Man Standing, 2018 Willie's Stash Volume 2, 2017 God's Problem Child, 2017 Summertime Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, 2016 Band of Brothers, 2014 To All the Girls..., 2013 Let's Face the Music and Dance, 2013 Freedom, 2012 Remember Me Vol. 1, 2011 Country Music, 2010 American Classic, 2009 Lost Highway, 2009 Naked Willie, 2009 One Hell of a Ride, 2008 Moment of Forever, 2008 Songbird, 2006 Live From Austin, TX, 2006 Songs of Cindy Walker, 2006 You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker, 2006

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