Similar artists

Albums

$17.49
$11.99

Country - Released June 6, 2014 | Legacy - Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$12.99

Country - Released October 20, 1987 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Transferring his allegiance to Atlantic (where he would record two remarkable albums that would get him kicked off the label), Willie Nelson offered his finest record to date for his debut -- possibly his finest album ever. Shotgun Willie encapsulates Willie's world view and music, finding him at a peak as a composer, interpreter, and performer. This is laid-back, deceptively complex music, equal parts country, rock attitude, jazz musicianship, and troubadour storytelling. Nelson blurs the lines between his own tunes and covers to the point that "Whiskey River," this record's best-known song, seems thoroughly original, yet it was written by Johnny Bush and Paul Stroud. This, along with two songs apiece by Leon Russell and Bob Wills, provides context for his originals, with Shotgun Willie becoming a musical autobiography, offering not only insights into his musicality (witness how he slows down [RoviLink="MC"]"Stay All Night [Stay a Little Longer]"[/RoviLink] to a slow shuffle) but, seemingly, into himself (most notably on the title track and the wonderful, funny travelogue "Devil in a Sleepin' Bag"). Nelson wasn't just at a peak of performing here -- he also wrote some of his greatest songs, highlighted not just by the previously mentioned tunes but also by the lovely slow waltz "Slow Down Old World" and "Sad Songs and Waltzes." All of it adds up to possibly the finest record in a career filled with hits and highlights. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$17.49
$12.99

Country - Released June 6, 2014 | Columbia Nashville

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$17.49
$12.99

Country - Released June 6, 2014 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$12.99

Country - Released August 30, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
If Shotgun Willie played a bit like a concept album, Phases and Stages was a full-blown one, tracing the dissolution of a marriage and devoting one side to the wife's perspective, the second to the husband's. If anything, Willie overplays his hand a bit, insisting on grafting the "Phases and Stages" theme between crucial songs to the point of genuine irritation. But, pretend that never happened, erase it from your mind, and Phases and Stages is easily the equal of its remarkable predecessor, a wonderful set of music that resonates deeply, as deeply as the words. Make no mistake -- the deceptively relaxed arrangements, including the occasional strings, not only highlight Nelson's clever eclecticism, but they also heighten the emotional impact of the album. And this is a hell of an emotional record, where even each side's celebratory honky tonk numbers (the medley "Sister's Coming Home/Down at the Corner Beer Joint" and "Pick Up the Tempo," respectively) are muted by sadness. Then, there are the centerpieces: "Walkin'," where the woman decides it's time to move on; "Pretend I Never Happened," perhaps the coldest ending to a relationship ever written; "Bloody Mary Morning," a bleary-eyed morning-after tale that became a standard; "It's Not Supposed to Be That Way," a nearly unbearably melancholy account of a love gone wrong; and "Heaven and Hell," a waltz summary of the relationship. Any two of these would have formed a strong core for an album, but placed together in a narrative context, their impact is even more considerable. As a result, this is not just one of Willie Nelson's best records, but one of the great concept albums overall. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$17.49
$14.99

Country - Released April 27, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res
$17.49
$12.99

Country - Released September 14, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
As a musician, an actor, a businessman and a Texan – if not American – icon, Willie Nelson once again proves with this 68th studio album that he isn’t done yet. Following his Last Man Standing, My Way is a beautiful tribute to Frank Sinatra. Co-produced by Buddy Cannon and Matt Rollings, the album mostly covers Ol' Blue Eyes’ career in the sixties. The tender and tremulous voice of eighty-something Willie, graciously coated in orchestra arrangements, is wonderfully enchanting on Fly Me to the Moon, Summer Wind and Cole Porter’s Night and Day. My Way not only pushes the Red Head Stranger away from his beloved country music, but it is also a flashback on memories. Willie Nelson highlights how his encounter with Sinatra played a part in his interpretations. Sharing the swing and purity of phrasing in 2005 for their duo on My Way, or facetiously joking on an announcement about NASA researches, the two giants have always maintained a strong bond, despite their differences. Which goes to show braids and bow ties can go well together! © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
$17.49
$14.99

Country - Released April 28, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res
Mortality hangs over God's Problem Child, Willie Nelson's first solo album of original songs since 2014's Band of Brothers. Since that record, Willie lost several friends and he's also been the subject of several death hoaxes, a subject he tackles with a grin on "Still Not Dead," one of seven originals Nelson co-wrote with his longtime producer, Buddy Cannon. "Still Not Dead" provides a gateway to the rest of God's Problem Child, where Willie looks at the world with a blend of bemusement and melancholy suiting a road warrior who is still going strong in his eighties. Nelson is in better voice than he was in 2016, when he released two tribute LPs, and his band has a relaxed gait that harks back to his classic outlaw records of the '70s but feels mellowed with age. Not that the album moves slowly. "Little House on the Hill" gets things off with a skip and the record regularly returns to a laid-back groove that's often punctuated by blues, honky tonk ballads, and lazy laments. Whenever Nelson looks at his twilight years, it's either with clear eyes or bemusement: he salutes his friends who have crossed over on the lovely "Old Timer" and admits that "It Gets Easier" when you get older because you can let your feelings fade, but he gets a kick that he's still around to experience it all. His sense of humor remains sharp -- "Delete and Fast Forward" is one of the best expressions of exasperation at the state of the world in the late 2010s -- and his sentiment isn't sticky; he salutes the late Leon Russell by leaving in his old friend's guest vocal on the title track and pays tribute to Merle Haggard with "He Won't Ever Be Gone." All these songs hang together -- they're songs about love, loss, memory, and mistakes -- but God's Problem Child isn't a song cycle, nor is it a major statement. It's simply an uncommonly strong latter-day record from Willie Nelson: there isn't a hint of fussiness and the songs and the performances are so understated, they only seem richer with repeated spins. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$17.49
$14.99

Country - Released October 20, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res
Family has always been important for Willie. At 83 years old, the old outlaw reminds those who might have forgotten about him that he’s still going strong, by signing an album with two of his sons, Lukas and Micah. The second volume of Willie’s Stash, his personal collection of archives, this album brings together tracks recorded during his sessions for the album Heroes in 2011. The atmosphere is relaxed and the repertoire is essentially composed of old country songs of which seven are by Hank Williams (Move It On Over, Mind Your Own Business, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Your Cheatin’ Heart, Cold Cold Heart, Mansion On The Hill and Why Don’t You Love Me). Alongside the three Nelsons, we find Micky Raphael (harmonica), Kevin “Swine” Grantt (bass), Bobby Terry (guitar), Jim “Moose” Brown (keyboard), Mike Johnson (steel guitar), Tony Creasman (drums), Barry Bales (double bass) and Lonnie Wilson (drums) who assure a classy and classic accompaniment, without going over the top, but very much in line with the respectful tone of these tasteful reprises. Heartwarming. © CM/Qobuz
$17.49
$14.99

Country - Released February 26, 2016 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res
When George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937, Willie Nelson was only four year old. A few decades later, we speak of both artists as legends, two monuments of twentieth century music. Perhaps from opposing categories in music, but genius loves company and this fact erases any borders. And this record is further highlighted by the porosity of both worlds. In 2015, Willie received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, never before awarded to a country artist. This delicious album entitled Summertime - Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin is, therefore, no real surprise in terms of its quality. The nasal voice and of Texan marries to to perfection with the velvet melodies and perfect prose of Gershwin. Among the eleven selected titles, two are interpreted in duet with Cyndi Lauper (Let's Call the Whole Thing Off), and Sheryl Crow (Embraceable You) respectively. At over 82 years ago, Nelson is more crooner than ever here, but in his way that is completely his own. ©MZ/Qobuz
$17.49
$14.99

Country - Released May 29, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res
$17.49
$14.99

Country - Released June 16, 2014 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Willie Nelson has been a prolific singer and recording artist since the 1970s, but the songwriter who penned hits for Ray Price, Patsy Cline, Billy Walker, and Johnny Cash, among others, hasn't issued an album of predominantly original material since 1996. Band of Brothers ends the drought. Its 14 selections include nine new songs by Nelson (with producer Buddy Cannon) and a handful of fine covers. Opener "Bring It On" is a honky tonk waltz that offers wisdom by someone who has lived through plenty as he looks eternity squarely in the eye. He is in excellent voice as Mickey Raphael's harmonica moans to underscore his lyric. Nelson delivers his first guitar solo on Trigger (his nylon-stringed instrument). His playing, with its unique phrasing, has always been underrated and here it evokes the blues. His love songs have always been highlights in his catalog. "I Thought I Left You" is in 4/4, with a slow processional pace adorned with slippery steel and piano. The lost romance portrayed in the waltz "Send Me a Picture" is another clear standout; a sighing pedal steel and Raphael's mid-register wail echo every sung line. Nelson can still write first-rate, irreverent barroom tunes as well. "Wives and Girlfriends" is a swaggering honky tonker, with wiseass lines and a punchy groove. The title track is a midtempo full-band anthem that celebrates the itinerant musician's life. (It pairs thematically with a righteous cover of Bill Anderson's "The Songwriters.") The choogling Western swing he employs in "Used to Her" updates not only Bob Wills, but Ray Benson. "The Wall" is a killer confessional, though in its rear-view mirror reflections, fueled by a strolling Rhodes piano, Travis-style guitars, and a two-step bassline, it's also a road song. Nelson covers two tunes by Billy Joe Shaver. "Hard to Be an Outlaw" is a wry, midtempo minor-key spaghetti Western-esque blues with a great guitar break from Willie, while "The Git Go," another bluesy number, is a slow rocking duet with Jamey Johnson. "Crazy Like Me," by Shawn Camp and Billy Burnette, is an update of trucker country rockabilly that sets up the closer, the original "I've Got a Lot of Traveling to Do." It's been 40 years since Nelson gave us "On the Road Again." This is a companion in a sense, less celebratory, more weathered and ornery, but no less restless. Cannon's production here recalls the memory of Nelson's early to mid-'70s records without being slavishly devoted to sounding retro. Phase-shifted and wide-open electric guitars, clean, whining pedal steel, warm and natural shuffling drums, acoustic pianos, organ, and electric basses paint these songs beautifully. On Band of Brothers, Nelson reminds us that no matter the iconic place he occupies in American popular music as a vocal stylist, he is a classic country singer and songwriter first. ~ Thom Jurek
$15.49

Country - Released June 24, 2003 | Columbia - Legacy

$17.49
$14.99

Country - Released May 11, 2012 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res
Returning to the Columbia/Sony family after nearly two decades away, Willie Nelson once again tries to be everything to everybody on 2012's Heroes, an appealingly misshapen collection of classics, contemporaries, and originals. Heroes -- its title signifying no great concept -- is roughly divided into quarters, with part of the album devoted to the Western swing and Texas country he's always loved to sing, part consisting of new songs from Willie, part originals from his son Lukas, and part covers of newer, rock-oriented tunes from the likes of Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, and Chris Martin. Each of these categories is a bit hit-or-miss, either succumbing to cutesy novelty (the dope-smoking anthem "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die," complete with country cadences from a non-rapping Snoop Dogg) or laziness, and there's a wee bit too much Lukas Nelson scattered throughout the record, with the son of the father singing on no less than nine of the album's 14 songs. This can be too much of a strong spice, obscuring the overall flavor of the music, but Lukas contributes a couple of the record's best songs in "Every Time He Drinks He Thinks of Her" and "The Sound of Your Memory," songs that fit well next to a quite beautiful version of Vedder's "Just Breathe" and yet another strong, swinging rendition of "My Window Faces the South." And so Heroes kind of winds up summarizing all that's good and bad about Willie as he approaches his 80th birthday: he's open to everything but has no innate editor, so he whiffs as often as he connects, but when he does connect, it's a wonder to behold...and somehow he can still surprise whenever he sings those old songs. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$22.49

Country - Released October 16, 2015 | Columbia Nashville Legacy

Willie Nelson recorded for many labels during the course of his lengthy career, but his greatest commercial success arrived during his time on Columbia during the late '70s and early '80s, which is one of the reasons that the career-spanning double-disc collection The Essential Willie Nelson appeared on Columbia/Legacy in 2003. The other reason, of course, is that during the first part of the 2000s, Legacy had been turning out cross-licensed, multi-label compilations of artists who hopped around from label to label or had unwieldy careers. Willie is a perfect example of this, as he had five significant stays at labels (in chronological order: Liberty, RCA, Atlantic, Columbia, Island), surrounded by a bunch of detours to independent labels, or duets never featured on his official records, all of which makes the task of assembling a concise, definitive collection a difficult one. With its 41 tracks, spanning nearly 40 years of recording, The Essential Willie Nelson gets about as close as a set could to providing the basics. That doesn't mean that it's perfect, of course. It naturally relies heavily on the Columbia recordings, since it was both his popular peak and the label that released this collection, with 25 of the tracks dating from this era. To a certain extent, this shortchanges the brilliant Atlantic records Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages, as well as his fascinatingly erratic RCA recordings (found in their entirety on the Bear Family box Nashville Was the Roughest), but it's also true that the entire first disc, which runs from "Night Life" and "Hello Walls" through "Me and Paul" and "Bloody Mary Morning," all the way to Stardust, has a great momentum and summarizes this transition very well. The second disc picks up this thread well for the first 12 songs or so, covering Honeysuckle Rose and "Always on My Mind," along with some duets ("Pancho & Lefty" with Merle Haggard, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" with Julio Iglesias) before it loses steam as it approaches the mid-'80s -- not so coincidentally, precisely the time that Willie's career was briefly derailed in a dispute with the IRS. From here on out, the compilation relies too heavily on idiosyncratic selections (partially because he stopped having hits, making selection a matter of picking fan favorites) and duets, including the rarities "Slow Dancing" and "One Time Too Many," where Willie is backed by U2 and Aerosmith, respectively, giving the very end of this collection an inappropriately sour aftertaste. These are minor problems, since the overall collection is as generous as Willie Nelson's music itself and it will likely satisfy the needs of most listeners wanting only one disc in their collection. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$7.49

Country - Released January 1, 1998 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

For whatever reason, Willie Nelson's Teatro -- like Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball -- seems to exist in a vacuum, completely set apart from his other recordings. It's untrue in either case, but especially in Nelson's. A scant year or so before Teatro was released -- and its recording sessions filmed in an old movie theater in Oxnard, California -- Nelson issued his most brilliant album of the 1990s, Spirit. Island's publicists had no idea what to do with Spirit's subtle, unsentimental, moody, and sparsely arranged and performed songs, but the roots of Teatro lie firmly planted there on its opening instrumental, "Matador." As for Teatro itself, Harris is present on 11 of the 14 tracks. In addition, Daniel Lanois, the same mercurial talent who spearheaded Wrecking Ball, produced this set. The mood is set in an arid space where a forlorn mariachi band meets the Harmonica Man (courtesy of Mickey Raphael) on Ennio Morricone's score for Once Upon a Time in the West. Lyrically, Nelson is as ambitious as he was on Spirit, and rhythmically he's more so, but that doesn't necessarily serve him as well. Teatro is a fine record with its sadness and bitterness in "I Never Cared for You" and the Spanish two-step of "Darkness on the Face of the Earth." But Lanois is one busy guitar picker here, and it stands at odds with Nelson's more spare yet lyrical style. But it's a good tension. It works better on "My Own Peculiar Way," with the percussion floating and evening out the guitars. The touch of Afro-Cuban rhythm in "These Lonely Nights" is sharp in contrast to Nelson's relatively staid and conventional country melody. Here is where Lanois works his magic; he staggers an organ, an electric piano, an accordion, his own electric guitar, a trap kit, and hand percussion all around the beat without anyone playing dead on it. Nelson's voice is the only constant, and it draws the listener right to it. Nelson's cover of Lanois' "The Maker," with Lanois layering thick slaps of sweet, melodic distorted guitar over its intro, is amazing. Harris and Nelson work so well together -- throughout the album but on this track especially -- it's almost a shock they aren't always together. Lyrically, Nelson strides out ahead of all his late-'80s and early-'90s material, continuing the great strides he made with Spirit. Clearly, the slump is over here, and the poetry he spins is accessible, profound, and moving. Teatro is a special album, but it's part two of a story that began with Spirit, and both recordings should be heard in tandem with one another for the full effect. Striking, beautiful, and affecting, Teatro is a sonic film that displays its moving images in the minds and hearts of its listeners. ~ Thom Jurek
$17.49
$14.99

Country - Released October 11, 2013 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res
Arriving a few short months after the standards collection Let's Face the Music and Dance, which itself came less than a year after his Legacy debut Heroes, To All the Girls splits the difference between these two albums for Legacy. As a duets album comprised entirely of female partners, To All the Girls is, like Heroes, driven by superstar guest power but the intimate, relaxed feel is reminiscent of Let's Face the Music and Dance. Such a quiet, comfortable setting is welcoming to a wide variety of partners, ranging from living legends Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, and Emmylou Harris to more recent superstars Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. Between these two extremes lie such excellent, underappreciated, new alt-country singers like Brandi Carlile and the Secret Sisters, family -- both sister Paula Nelson and Melonie Cannon, the daughter of Buddy Cannon -- and stars who are working their way toward legend status (Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, Sheryl Crow, Wynnona Judd, Shelby Lynne). Similarly, the songs split the difference between new versions of Nelson classics ("Bloody Mary Morning," "Always on My Mind," "Please Don’t' Tell Me How the Story Ends"), covers of beloved songs ("Til the End of the World," "Have You Ever Seen the Rain"), and brand-new tunes (Dolly brings in "From Here to the Moon and Back," which she wrote for Joyful Noise, a gospel musical co-starring Queen Latifah). Nearly all of this proceeds at an amiably lazy gait, which makes the handful of cuts that stray from this path quite notable: "Bloody Mary Morning" retains its trademark gallop with Wynnona; Brandi Carlile hits the honky tonk fairly hard on "Making Believe"; Shelby Lynne gives a hazy south-of-the-border feel to "The End of the World," and Krauss' "No Mas Amor" is dreamy. Although there is not a bad cut here -- this is all assured, easy, impeccably tasteful work from Willie and his partners -- the 70-minute length of To All the Girls does make the album feel a little samey, but that can be a good thing, as it makes for nice, romantic mood music or a drowsy Sunday afternoon at home. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$15.49

Country - Released November 28, 2014 | Legacy Recordings

$17.49
$12.99

Country - Released July 26, 2013 | Columbia Nashville

Hi-Res
Whether intentionally or not, the first album after a greatest-hits collection always raises the curtain on a new era, and in Willie Nelson's case, the difference between the era recapped on 1981's Greatest Hits (& Some That Will Be) and the one started with 1982's Always on My Mind is startling. Throughout the late '70s, Nelson's freewheeling, organically eclectic music was not just the biggest thing in country, it was also some of its best, most adventurous music. Sometimes, it could fall a little flat, particularly when he kept replicating Stardust, but that was part of the charm of Nelson's unpredictability. With Always on My Mind, he teams with producer Chips Moman and embarks on a period of pernicious predictability, giving himself completely over to Moman, who moves him toward rock covers and adult contemporary pop with this record. At the time, it was a huge, huge hit -- his biggest ever, actually, spending 22 weeks at the top of the country charts, selling over four million copies, launching a platinum single with the title track (which reached number five on the pop charts), and winning the CMA's Album of the Year award. Listening to it now, all that success seems undeserved since the album not only plays as the country-pop record Willie avoided making all these years, but by consisting primarily of familiar rock covers, it also plays as pandering to the mass audience he's achieved. This is uniformly pleasant, but it's also rather straight-jacketed, hemmed in by Moman's sterile, synth-heavy productions. With "Always on My Mind" and, to a lesser extent, "Let It Be Me," it works because his production style suits the songs and Nelson sings well, but "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man," "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (complete with vocals from Waylon Jennings), and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" are all flat readings, never showing the spark in either delivery or arrangement that marks Nelson as one of popular music's great interpretive singers. Here, he sounds as he's sleepwalking and turning out product for the first time in his career (at least the early Liberty recordings were a hungry attempt at hits). It may have been a hit, but years later, it clearly sounds like one of his worst records. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$14.99

Country - Released September 16, 2016 | Legacy Recordings

Willie Nelson joined Ray Price's Cherokee Cowboys in 1961, the first step in a lifelong friendship between the two men. From that point on, the pair never fell out of touch. At the height of his superstardom in 1980, Nelson cut a duet album with Price called San Antonio Rose, the first of three joint efforts they'd cut over the years. Whenever the pair got together, they'd sing the old songs, Western swing standards and honky tonk classics from the '50s and '60s -- the songs that form the core of For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, a salute Willie delivered three years after Price's 2013 death. Supported by producer Fred Foster and arranger Bergen White -- a duo who also were friends with Price and completed his final album, Beauty Is -- Nelson doesn't make any attempt to freshen up these songs, which is the album's charm. Nelson salutes every phase of Ray's career, reviving the lush Nashville strings of Price's early-'70s hits in addition to the dry, dusty Texas two-steps and Ray Price shuffles. All of these sounds are considered traditional from the vantage of 2016 and, in effect, For the Good Times extends the tradition, not through reinvention but rather adherence. Nelson has been singing these songs all of his life, recording them several times a decade, but instead of seeming recycled, For the Good Times underscores how the song may remain the same but the singer does not. Nelson is showing his age -- his voice is leathery and tattered, much thinner than it was just ten years ago -- and yet that's part of the point of the album. Willie sang these songs with Ray and now that Price is gone, Nelson sings them a little differently, his love and melancholy accentuating his weathered voice. It makes for an affectionate and bittersweet album, one that is a fitting tribute to a lifelong friend. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

News feed Prev. Next

Artist

Willie Nelson in the magazine
  • A tender tribute
    A tender tribute As a musician, an actor, a businessman and a Texan – if not American – icon, Willie Nelson once again proves with this 68th studio album that he isn’t done yet.
  • King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller
    King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller For the younger generations of country musicians, Roger Miller is a character that cannot be ignored. Influenced by the sound of Nashville and flavoured with rhythms of honky-tonk, swing and bayou-...
  • The Qobuz Studio: Episode #9
    The Qobuz Studio: Episode #9 Every 2 weeks, Qobuz endeavours to bring you the best in musical releases across all genres with The Qobuz Studio!