By Alli Patton
A charming 14-track homage to Nelson from his close friends and staunch admirers.
1. Vincent Neil Emerson - Bloody Mary Morning
2. Margo Price - Shotgun Willie
3. Robert Earl Keen - Pick Up The Tempo
4. Shinyribs - I Gotta Get Drunk
5. Nathaniel Rateliff - Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
6. Steve Earle - Pancho and Lefty
7. Emily Gimble - Down Yonder
8. Sheryl Crow - Night Life
9. Bruce Robison - Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning
10. Ray Wylie Hubbard - Whiskey River
11. Shinyribs - My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
12. Nathaniel Rateliff - Crazy
13. Bruce Robison - (How Will I Know) I’m Falling In Love Again
14. Phosphorescent - The Party’s Over
If there is any country artist worthy of a tribute, it’s Willie Nelson. Over a decades-long career, the icon has crafted a musical canon all his own, one defined by an unmatched style and unshakable skill.
For years, Nelson has been one of country music’s most influential players, so One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz’s Tribute to The Red Headed Stranger, seems a fitting celebration of the star upon his 90th year.
One Night in Texas was captured and compiled by The Next Waltz founder Bruce Robison at last year’s Luck Ranch celebration, which honored Nelson’s 89th birthday.
The event saw stars like Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Margo Price, Ray Wylie Hubbard and more serenade the legend. It resulted in a charming 14-track homage to Nelson from his close friends and staunch admirers.
The tribute comes to life with young troubadour Vincent Neil Emerson’s take on the 1970 swinger ‘Bloody Mary Morning’. The thumping tune is near identical to the original, with Emerson adopting Nelson’s trademark quavering country lilt.
Further down the track list, Nathaniel Rateliff also takes on the legend’s shimmering croon in place of his own boisterous baritone, as he takes on the classics ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ and ‘Crazy’.
Other artists add their own flair to Nelson’s hit-riddled catalog. Margo Price offers up a blues-fueled re-imagining of ‘Shotgun Willie’, her vocals scorched with attitude and conviction. Ray Wylie Hubbard also amps up ‘Whiskey River’, turning the soulful country ballad into a rollicking rock-heavy tune.
Robert Earl Keen’s stripped-back version of ‘Pick Up The Tempo’, however, adds what the song had originally taken away, gifting a rendition textured with emotion as garbled lyrics tumble across his weary tongue.
The tribute is heartfelt, charming and an all-around feel-good project; but it comes off as sleepy at times, shifting from lonesome ballad to forlorn waltz with very few uppers in between. Inevitably, some of Nelson’s most essential songs also feel overlooked in the process.
The album is peppered with renditions that echo the legend’s distinct style almost to a fault, perhaps proving that no one can do a Willie Nelson song quite like the man himself.
All in all, One Night in Texas is a beautiful celebration of the icon. It’s a piece that Nelson himself will most likely treasure, as it was made by the people who love him, the ones who have played alongside him and the ones who will carry his legacy for years to come.
The Next Waltz's One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz's Tribute to The Red Headed Stranger is released April 28th via The Next Waltz.
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