Every now and then, we here at Each Note Secure like to dig into our Kentucky roots and grab a musician that brings a bit of the twang to your attention. Not that Willie Nelson needs your attention, after all, the braided, weed loving guitarist has made plenty of headlines without even picking up the guitar in recent years.
However, when I was perusing through my recent issue of Harp Magazine, I couldnt help but devote some attention to the article about Willies new album, Songbird. You see, not only has Nelson joined the family at Lost Highway, but the album was produced, and partly penned by Ryan Adams. Also included is his backing band of the last two albums, The Cardinals. Its the type of album that will be somewhat standard for Nelson fans, but will probably make the radar of the casual fan, like myself, due to Ryans involvement. But, my indication of the album is that this could be the type of disc does for Willie what American Songs series did for Johnny Cash in the past decade. It exposed an entirely new generation to his music.
One way to do this is through cover tunes, and Willie hits up a few on Songbird . Most notable is the oft covered Leonard Cohen track, Hallelujah, on which Nelson has to start off in a low tone to hit the higher notes, but he pulls it off. Willie also provides his version of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter’s “Stella Blue,” Gram Parsons’ “$1,000 Wedding,” and Harlan Howard’s “Yours, Love”. “Blue Hotel” is the song that Adams wrote and its the standout track in my opinion. “We Dont Run” is another great upbeat song that makes me want to do a weekend in Nashville.