MUSIC MONDAYS: WILLIE NELSON America at its finest

I’m really excited to be writing the Music Monday post today. Lissa was getting blogged-out anyway. :-)   She’s constantly getting needled to write the blogs because she’s great at it, and it’s always nice to have her uplifting and thoughtful perspective.

For this week’s feature, I suggested we do Willie Nelson and we’ve both been listening to Willie all weekend. I love Willie, and was exposed to him early in childhood thanks to my mom (Louise Jordan, one of the Platypus People). Willie has always been her favorite musician. I have great childhood memories of us driving around in her 1977 Toyota Corona wagon listening to Willie on the radio. She even dressed up as him on Halloween one year. Here she is next to Elvis (my dad).

It’s unbelievable to consider that Willie is nearly 80. He is still such a vibrant part of the American tapestry, and his music is as relevant today as it’s ever been. I can’t think of another person that I’d like to just hang out with more than Willie. How many nearly-octogenarians do you want to hang out with that aren’t family? Yeah, that’s what I thought. In a culture defined by ‘cool’, Willie sets one hell of a precedent. His newest album, Heroes, has been in my car CD player non-stop since it came out. I encourage you to go see him on the supporting tour for this album. You can check out his tour schedule here.

Many people think of Willie as an old school country staple. That may be true, but he’s rebel country and helped the whole genre to break away from a rigid Nashville tradition. His collaborations cross into nearly every musical genre. One of his current good friends is Snoop Dogg if that is any indication of how hip he is (they actually went to Amsterdam together, and I can only imagine how that trip went!).

His immediately identifiable and distinctive voice has grown more precious to me over the years, and, I think, more importantly to the world at large. Whenever I hear it, it reminds me of not only my own history, but what I love about America. In this disingenuous political time that we live in, having people like Willie as a voice for us all is a gift, and serves as a bridge to a place we can all be proud to call home.

With that in mind, I’ve been listening to many of his standards, collaborations and poignant covers all weekend. If you haven’t heard his cover of Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe or Coldplay’s The Scientist, go check them out now.

You’ll find many of them in this fairly long and varied playlist. We hope that you’ll revisit Willie if you haven’t been listening to him in a while, and be as uplifted by his endearing and enduring songs as we are!

Just Breathe
The Scientist
Roll Me Up (with Snoop Dogg, Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson)

Songbird (produced by Ryan Adams featuring the Cardinals on all tracks)
$1000 Wedding (Gram Parsons cover)
Stella Blue (Jerry Garcia cover)
Amazing Grace

Whiskey River
Rainbow Connection (yes, that one)

Stars and Guitars
Dead Flowers (with M. Jagger and K. Richards)
The Harder They Come (with Ryan Adams)
For What It’s Worth (with Sheryl Crow)

Unchained Melody (phenomenal version!)
Georgia on my Mind

iTunes Originals – Willie Nelson
What’s Good For Me (advice about songwriting…in his own words)
Follow your instincts (advice from Willie about success)
Funny How Time Slips Away / Crazy / Night Life (one long tune…)

Essential Willie Nelson
Mamas Dont’ Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
Seven Spanish Angels (with Ray Charles)

16 Biggest Hits
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

Lost Highway
The Harder They Come

Outlaws and Angels
Shotgun Willie (live with Kid Rock)

VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson
Always On My Mind
On the Road Again

Moment of Forever
Over You Again

Milk Cow Blues
Funny How Time Slips Away
Fools Paradise

Amos Lee
El Camino reprise (a nod to last weeks Tunes for Tuesday!)

America A Tribute To Heroes
American the Beautiful

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