At the end of this month Willie Nelson, legendary American country singer-songwriter celebrates his 80th birthday. He can still be seen along with ‘The Family’ – made up of long-standing members of his ensemble touring North America in his bio-diesel bus, Honeysuckle Rose IV.
‘The Family’- Defined
The original line-up consisted of vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar, bass and drum kit– all of which provided a fundamental country-based sound. Today as Willie re-invents himself he intertwines digital piano for a more ballad-based and often jazz sound that softens his raw-edged voice and back-beat trademark.
‘Always On My Mind’ With Additional Digital Piano Sounds
This song has beautiful lyrics wrapped in apology, reflection and a gentle vibrato. These are introduced by a high-registered ‘tinkering’ digital piano and the usual rocking, syncopated bass line. The rest of the band slowly joins thickening the texture with an interesting harmonica rasping sustained chords until the middle eight is delivered on the electric guitar.
Willie Nelson – Standing Up & Being Counted
Starting out as a bass player, it would seem that the red-headed, hair-plaited bandanna man still has it. His catalogue of events and achievements is lengthy from recording albums to films and TV show appearances. He also fashions a black-belt in Tae-Kwon Do, has authored books and poetry as well as flying the flag as an activist.
‘On The Road Again’ With Trigger
Willie Nelson and his guitar Trigger were never really ‘off the road’. He spent his life committed to his music – it was his first love. This track has an appealing off-beat with the bass guitar playing chords I and V throughout. The usual genre line-up applies with the harmonica taking the lead in the middle-eight. No addition of the electric piano – just good old fashioned country music.
As late as 2012 Willie Nelson was still signing up for recording deals. He continues to be ‘on the road’ with his family band around him. Willie Nelson – a heroic icon whose music will live on beyond his years.