|Let's Face The Music And Dance|
702 Miles To GoThe question is never whether or not there will be a new Willie Nelson album. It's only a question which Willie.
He can be standard country, outlaw country, country rock, Western Swing, jazz man, blues man, even reggae man, and always a crooner with a guitar style as distinctive as his ponytail no matter which songbook he's playing.
It all contributes to "The Willie Way."
My bet is that Willie could successfully remake Metallica's Kill 'Em All with a Hoagy Carmichael vibe and we would rave about its new found sensitivity and cleaner guitar sound.
His forays into standards have become as common as his country collections.
The just-released Let's Face The Music And Dance is part of the year-long celebration of his 80th birthday (April 30).
For their latest, Willie and Family waltz through 14 tracks from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, along with an update of Willie's Is The Better Part Over (1989).
With a familiar cast backing him and his trusty guitar Trigger (including "little sister" Bobbie Nelson on piano, Paul English on drums and Mickey Raphael on harmonica), all the songs are as smooth as Willie's vocals, whether it's Irving Berlin on the title track and Marie (The Dawn Is Breaking), Carl Perkins' Matchbox or one of the several instrumentals.
The message here is as simple as it is clear.
Find your partner. Put on comfortable dancing shoes. And, break out the Willie.
Licorice Pizza Notes: The first time I saw Willie and Family perform was at the Ohio State Fair in 1984 when the shows were still in the outdoor grandstand. I went with my then college girlfriend Nancy, who was working nights at the fair, and her mother.
Willie was wonderful and it was my job to get Nancy's mother back to her campus apartment after the concert, when she clocked in for her fair shift.
A smart man would have dropped her mother off and disappeared into the night.
But being a red headed stranger of sorts, I went in, had a beer or three, professed my love for her daughter and told her I planned to marry Nancy some day.
Let's just say she wasn't as pleased with me as she had been Willie. Nance was even more surprised since the someday marriage plans were news to her too.
Fortunately for me, it all worked out as well as a Willie love song.
Nance's mother eventually forgave me, in part because I took her to see Willie every time he came to Columbus. We even got to meet him a couple of times. This September, Nance and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and Good Hearted Woman is my theme song for her.
Nance's mother passed about 10 years ago, but I still play Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground for her every time it's on the jukebox.
Song For The Soundtrack: Matchbox
Running Data for Tuesday, April 23:
Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.48 Miles