Willie Nelson to release bluegrass versions of his songs

It has become a trend in recent years for country and pop artists to take a detour into the bluegrass world at some point in their career. Superstars like Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakam have gone that way, as have contemporary hitmakers like Sturgill Simpson and Dierks Bentley, who performed at Telluride this year with a bluegrass band. Even Tommy Shaw from Styx released a bluegrass album several years ago.

Now, at 90 years of age, country music legend Willie Nelson has announced that his next album will be a dozen of his classic songs, reinterpreted as bluegrass music. Entitled simply Bluegrass, the project is set for release in mid September.

Helping out were Nashville super-pickers Dan Tyminski and Seth Taylor on mandolin, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Ron Block on banjo, Rob Ickes on reso-guitar, Barry Bales on bass, and Josh Martin and Bobby Terry on guitar.

Willie has chosen a couple of his big hits, like On The Road Again, Bloody Mary Morning, and Good Hearted Woman, but many of the tracks may not be familiar to all but the most dedicated Nelson fans. All are ones he wrote, with the exception of Good Hearted Woman, which he wrote with Waylon Jennings, and has been covered many times by grassers over the years.

A debut single is available now, You Left Me A Long Long Time Ago, which Willie first recorded in 1964. It might more accurately fall into the acoustic country category, but having top grassers supporting that iconic voice definitely gives it a new sound.

Have a listen…

A complete track listing follows:

  • No Love Around
  • Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
  • A Good Hearted Woman
  • Sad Songs And Waltzes
  • Home Motel
  • You Left Me A Long, Long Time Ago
  • Yesterday’s Wine
  • Bloody Mary Morning
  • Slow Down Old World
  • Still Is Still Moving To Me
  • On The Road Again
  • Man With The Blues

Bluegrass by Willie Nelson is set for a September 15 release, and pre-orders on either CD or vinyl are enabled now online.

Willie fans will certainly want this one in their collection.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.