Willie Nelson turns 90 on Saturday. Last year around this time, some of Willie’s friends and admirers got together to pay a musical tribute to the singer-songwriter and music legend, with a star-studded concert. That night of music has now become a new album, ‘One Night in Texas, The Next Waltzs’ tribute to The Redheaded Stranger.’
The album features Nelson songs played by Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen, Margo Price, Ray Wylie Hubbard and many more, and it was produced by musician and Last Waltz proprietor, Bruce Robison. The album came together when all the stars who appeared at the tribute concert agreed to contribute those performances. Robison told Texas Standard that the energy of the performances, and some of the less-than-perfect production values, give the album its unique spark. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: When you say “Willie” here, just about everybody knows the first name. What is it about this man and his music that has made him such a legend? I mean, there are a lot of folks who do this style of music still. And yet Willie stands out.
Bruce Robison: Yeah, that’s a great question because when you look back at how influential he was and how, I would say revolutionary, he was and how he approached the music, either just from a fan or the people who aspire to make music, it just continues to get bigger and bigger. There’s really only a couple of names in that category – people that affected the culture so much.
And that he came from our neck of the woods and just rocked the world. It’s just such a wonderful thing that is hard to put parameters around. The music over the decades is about the only way that you can get close, because there really is nobody like him.