Willie Nelson’s Busy Year at 90 Includes New Bluegrass Album

Share This:

Willie Nelson and Keith Richards at the Hollywood Bowl on April 30, 2023 (Photo: Randall Michelson; used with permission)

Willie Nelson continues to celebrate his 90th birthday with a burst of activity. Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, has released his new studio album, Bluegrass, featuring Nelson performing 12 of his favorite self-penned classics with a bluegrass ensemble. The title arrived September 15, 2023. Listen to many of the songs below.

Bluegrass, his 151st album, presents fresh interpretations of classic Nelson compositions including “On the Road Again,” “Yesterday’s Wine,” “Still is Still Moving to Me,” and “Good Hearted Woman.” (The latter was written by Nelson and Waylon Jennings.)

Produced by longtime musical collaborator Buddy Cannon, the album features Barry Bales (upright bass), Ron Block (banjo), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle), Rob Ickes (dobro), Josh Martin (acoustic guitar), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), Seth Taylor (mandolin), Bobby Terry (acoustic guitar, gut string guitar), Dan Tyminski (mandolin); backing vocals are provided by Wyatt Beard, Buddy Cannon, and Melonie Cannon. It features cover art by Micah Nelson (Willie’s son, a multimedia artist and musician).

From the album’s June 22 announcement: The new album is a salute to the Appalachian old-time string band music which crystalized into a genre and was given a name by Kentucky songwriter/performer/recording artist Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, whose post-war recordings profoundly influenced Willie’s songwriting sensibilities and the direction of American country music in general. On Bluegrass, his first album tribute to the genre, Nelson brings together a dozen songs connecting his personal history to his lifelong love for roots music. Using his own catalog as source material, in the spirit of traditional bluegrass sourcing hillbilly folk music, Willie chose songs combining the kind of strong melodies, memorable storylines and tight ensemble-interplay found in traditional bluegrass interpretations of the roots (from European melodies to African rhythms) of American folk songs.

2023 is proving another banner year for Nelson, who turned 90 on April 29. Wille Nelson & Family, a new five-part film documentary series directed by Thom Zimny and Oren Moverman, premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival 2023 and is slated for broadcast later this year.

“Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90,” a star-studded two-day concert celebrating Willie’s 90th birthday, was held at the Hollywood Bowl on April 29-April 30. The event showcased performances from an extraordinary range of artists who’ve been influenced and inspired by Willie and his music.

Nelson took home two Grammys at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards in 2023: Best Country Solo Performance (“Live Forever”) (from Live Forever: A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver) and his first Best Country Album (A Beautiful Time) award. Nelson has earned 56 Grammy nominations and 12 Grammys.

He is one of the 2023 Inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The 38th annual Induction Ceremony will take place on Nov. 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY with an HBO broadcast to follow.

Nelson is bringing his family and friends on the road for the largest-ever Outlaw Tour to-date showcasing a can’t miss lineup of stars this summer and fall. Tickets for those shows and other Nelson concerts are available here.

Nelson’s newest book, Energy Follows Thought: The Stories Behind My Songs, coming Oct. 31, provides the stories behind the lyrics of 160 of his favorite songs, along with an assortment of never-before-seen photos and ephemera.

Willie Nelson Bluegrass Track Listing
1. No Love Around
2. Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
3. Good Hearted Woman (cowritten with Waylon Jennings)
4. Sad Songs And Waltzes
5. Home Motel
6. You Left Me A Long, Long Time Ago
7. Yesterday’s Wine
8. Bloody Mary Morning
9. Slow Down Old World
10. Still Is Still Moving To Me
11. On The Road Again
12. Man With The Blues

Best Classic Bands Staff

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.