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Press Release WILLIE NELSON
TO RELEASE POLITICALLY CHARGED SINGLE

WILLIE NELSON
TO RELEASE POLITICALLY CHARGED SINGLE
“WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PEACE ON EARTH”
ON NOVEMBER 21 TO BENEFIT NATIONAL VETERANS FOUNDATION
(http://www.nvf.org)

SONG FEATURES BEN HARPER, JACK JOHNSON, MICHAEL MCDONALD AND PATRICK SIMMONS

 

Nashville, TN – Music legend Willie Nelson has written and recorded a new, topical song called “Whatever Happened To Peace On Earth?” to speak out about the current political climate and world conditions. Nelson had some friends help him out on the controversial track, including Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Michael McDonald, Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) and even his sons Lukas and Micah Nelson. The single will be released by Lost Highway at online digital stores beginning on November 21, with the proceeds going to benefit the National Veterans Foundation (visit the NVF website).

Along with being one America’s greatest songwriters and performers, Nelson has built a reputation for taking a stand and being a voice for those in need. His annual Farm Aid concert and foundation to help this country’s farmers is only one example of that. In “Whatever Happened To Peace On Earth?” Nelson speaks his mind honestly and directly when he sings

And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we've been told from our birth
Hell they won't lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liar's word worth
And whatever happened to peace on earth

“Whatever Happened To Peace On Earth?” - Written by Willie Nelson featuring:
Willie Nelson - Vocals and lead guitar Jack Johnson - Vocals
Michael McDonald - Vocals and Keyboard Ben Harper - Slide Guitar
Pat Simmons Sr - Vocals and Acoustic Guitar Lukas Nelson - lead/rythm guitar
Pat Simmons Jr - Acoustic Lead Guitar Micah Nelson – Drums
Amy Holland - Vocals Donnie Smith - Bass
Marty Dread - Vocals David Choy - Saxaphone

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You can stream the audio from http://main.losthighwayrecords.com/product.aspx?ob=disc&src=art&pid=1713

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WILLIE NELSON’S “SONGBIRD”

TO BE RELEASED BY LOST HIGHWAY ON OCTOBER 31

FEATURING RYAN ADAMS AND THE CARDINALS

PRODUCED BY ADAMS ALBUM INCLUDES ORIGINALS AND SONGS BY LEONARD COHEN, GRAM PARSONS, THE GRATEFUL DEAD AND MORE

Nashville, TN – On October 31, Lost Highway will release Songbird, the new album from the legendary Willie Nelson. Songbird was produced by Ryan Adams and recorded with Adams and The Cardinals on all 11 tracks, along with Nelson’s longtime harmonica master Mickey Raphael.

Songbird includes a diverse range of covers, including Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, Gram Parsons’ “$1000 Wedding”, Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter’s “Stella Blue” and the gorgeous title track written by Christine McVie, which originally appeared on Fleetwood Mac’s landmark album Rumours.

Nelson and Adams each penned a new song specifically for Songbird. Nelson’s acoustic “Back To Earth” could have easily appeared on one of his timeless albums, while Adams’ country blues gem “Blue Hotel”, written for Nelson, features The Red Headed Stranger’s signature stylings. New renditions of some Nelson classics also appear on Songbird including “Sad Songs and Waltzes” (from Shotgun Willie) and “We Don’t Run” (from Spirit).

Songbird was recorded at Loho Studios in New York, NY and mixed by Jamie Candiloro. Along with production duties, Adams plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar and bass. The Cardinals are Neal Casal (piano, guitar), Jon Graboff (pedal steel), Brad Pemberton (drums) and Catherine Popper (bass).

Willie Nelson -Songbird

Track Listing

Song Composer

“Rainy Day Blues” Willie Nelson

“Songbird” Christine McVie

“Blue Hotel” Ryan Adams

“Back To Earth” Willie Nelson

“Stella Blue” Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter

“Hallelujah” Leonard Cohen

“$1000 Wedding” Gram Parsons

“We Don’t Run” Willie Nelson

“Yours Love” Harlan Howard

“Sad Songs And Waltzes” Willie Nelson

“Amazing Grace” Traditional Arr. by Ryan Adams

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ARTIST: Willie Nelson

ALBUM TITLE: Songbird

RELEASE DATE: October 31, 2006

CURRENT SINGLE: Songbird

LABEL: Lost Highway

ARTIST SITE: http://www.willienelson.com/

LABEL: Lost Highway http://main.losthighwayrecords.com/artist.aspx?ob=ros&src=lb&aid=61

AUDIO –Songbird:

Windows Media

http://www.losthighwayrecords.com/site/willienelson/audio/songbird.asx

Real Player

http://www.losthighwayrecords.com/site/willienelson/audio/songbird.ram

WILLIE NELSON – SONGBIRD

Biography

“It’s a different sound than any other album I've ever made,” says Willie Nelson. He's talking about Songbird, his new release for Lost Highway, produced by the young prolific singer/songwriter Ryan Adams. “It’s more electric, there’s more rhythm and more production. That’s all because of Ryan, his band, and his ideas.”

“I knew our coming together was going to be something different,” Nelson continues. “We came from extremely different places, and we didn't always agree. But it was an experiment, and now that it's done, I think it's real strong.”

Songbird charts new territory for this musical icon in several ways. He was recording in a new location (Manhattan’s LoHo Studios) with a new band (the Cardinals). He tackled an ambitious slate of songs across a range of styles – from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to Gram Parsons’ “$1000 Wedding,” from Harlan Howard’s “Yours Love” to the album’s title track, taken from Fleetwood Mac’s landmark Rumours album.

Most notably, though, Songbird is a collaboration between living legend Nelson and producer Adams, one of the most talented young musicians in any genre. Since emerging with pioneering alt-country band Whiskeytown, singer/songwriter Adams has been on a restless quest to explore all of the music he loves. In just a short time, his recordings have ranged from blazing punk rock to old-school honky-tonk, all shot through with his signature passion and intensity.

Pairing up with Willie brought Adams back to his country roots – but the project that resulted is far from a throwback. Instead, this cross-generational duo of outlaws came up with a batch of eleven songs that showcases Nelson’s incomparable interpretive skills, set within arrangements featuring a rocked-up, jagged edge.

Songbird truly feels like a band album, though the spotlight never leaves Nelson’s inimitable voice. And as spare and modern, even dissonant, as the sound sometimes gets, the prominent use of pedal steel guitar and harmonica (played by Nelson’s longtime cohort Mickey Raphael) keep things firmly rooted in country tradition.

“It was a pretty targeted list of songs,” says Nelson, “and then we just used the ones that worked out the best. Things like ‘$1000 Wedding’ and ‘Hallelujah,’ those were some I hadn't tried to sing before. But they were all just good songs that I wanted to do.”

Nelson adds that while some of the ideas for the rock covers came from Adams (including “Stella Blue,” a Grateful Dead song written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter), he felt confident with all of the selections. “I wasn't surprised at how good the songs are - I knew how good something like ‘Songbird’ was,” he says. “But you're always a little hesitant to do covers on songs that have been done so well.”

To find their own way into this set of songs, Nelson and Adams first had to find the right comfort zone in the studio. They share a record label, and Adams has opened for Nelson on occasion and participated in a Nelson birthday and tribute concert in 2002, which included a duet of the reggae anthem “The Harder They Come” at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Nelson knew, however, that this project was “coming from a different direction,” and would require an even more open approach.

Songbird is a testament to a great artist who, at age 73, continues to push himself and find new challenges for his music after recording countless albums over the last five decades.

Nelson offers special praise to the Cardinals - Neal Casal (piano, guitar), Jon Graboff (pedal steel), Brad Pemberton (drums), and Catherine Popper (bass) - who have worked as Adams’s touring and recording band for the last few years. “We all got along fine,” says Nelson. “They were as good as you could ask for – and Ryan stood out a lot, too. He's a great guitar player, really brought a lot as a musician.”

As Nelson recalls, the recording of the aching prayer to fidelity “Yours Love” – written by country’s immortal Harlan Howard, and probably best known in Waylon Jennings’s hit version from 1968 – was prompted by steel player Graboff. “He’s a big fan of (famed Nelson band member) Jimmy Day,” says Nelson, “and he knew just what kind of feel to put on it.”

In addition to the covers, Nelson and Adams each wrote a new song specifically for Songbird. Nelson’s acoustic “Back To Earth” could easily have appeared on one of his timeless albums, while Adams contributed the country-blues gem “Blue Hotel.” They also recorded new renditions of three Nelson classics - “Sad Songs and Waltzes” (from Shotgun Willie), the opening “Rainy Day Blues” (from Me And The Drummer), and “We Don’t Run” (from Spirit).

One of the project’s most striking recordings is the closing track, a dark, ominous version of “Amazing Grace.” It might seem impossible to imagine a new way to hear this, of all songs, but Nelson and Adams have created an entirely original take, with underpinnings of fear and menace. Nelson says that he’s not sure whose idea it was to tackle the mother of all spirituals, “but when we went into it, Ryan started playing it that way. That arrangement is so unusual – I never would have come up with that, but it came out so great.”

Recent years have seen Willie Nelson tackle a number of thematic albums

– a reggae project (Countryman), an album of jazz instrumentals (Night & Day), a tribute to songwriter Cindy Walker (You Don’t Know Me). Asked whether Songbird has a running theme of its own, the Red Headed Stranger has a quick reply.

“It'll always be the Ryan Adams project, as far as I'm concerned,” he says. “He put together the songs and the sound, it was his band - he was really the main guy here.”

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