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Albums Of The Week: Willie Nelson | A Beautiful Time

Willie & Trigger play it sweet & low on their latest set — with a little help from friends.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Willie Nelson’s A Beautiful Time arrives on the artist’s 89th birthday. Among its many musical delights, A Beautiful Time introduces a variety of newly written future pop-country classics including five new Nelson/Buddy Cannon compositions and contributions from some of Nashville’s finest contemporary songwriters. The collection also premieres Willie’s heartfelt and insightful covers of Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song and The BeatlesWith a Little Help from My Friends.

Produced by Willie’s longtime musical collaborator Cannon (who’s cowritten six of the album’s new songs, including five with Willie), A Beautiful Time is a fully realized studio album showcasing Willie and Trigger (his signature guitar) playing with musicians including Jim “Moose” Brown (organ and piano), Fred Elringham (drums), Barry Bales (upright bass), Bob Terry (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, steel guitar), James Mitchell (electric guitar) and the patented harmonic stylings of Mickey Raphael. Melonie Cannon sings backup on five of the album’s tracks.

Photo by Pamela Springsteen.

The album’s core musical ensemble drives eight of the essential tracks on A Beautiful Time: My Heart was a Dancer, Energy Follows Thought, Dreamin’ Again, Dusty Bottles, Me and My Partner, Don’t Touch Me There and two of the album’s most emotional performances: I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die and I Don’t Go to Funerals.

The album’s studio performances of two Shawn Camp songs — A Beautiful Time and We’re Not Happy (Till You’re Not Happy) — and Willie’s interpretation of the Lennon-McCartney classic (With A Little Help From My Friends), which features Bobby Terry (acoustic guitar, electric guitar), Catherine Marx (piano, organ), Mike Johnson (steel guitar), Chad Cromwell (drums), Lonnie Wilson (drums, percussion) and Kevin “Swine” Grantt (upright bass).

In 2021, Legacy Recordings released two new Willie Nelson albums — That’s Life and The Willie Nelson Family. The former, Willie’s musical homage to the artistry of Frank Sinatra, debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart and the Traditional Jazz Albums chart, and is in the running for the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Grammy.”


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