Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel (MP3 and video)

Willie Nelson is teaming up with one of my favorite bands, Asleep at the Wheel, for an album of western swing tunes, Willie and the Wheel, due out next Tuesday on Bismeaux Records. Western swing typically gets tagged as a form of country music, but it really stands on its own, more like a “hillbilly jazz” or “country swing jazz”. Asleep at the Wheel has been at the forefront of keeping this genre — essentially pioneered by the late, great Bob Wills — alive and vital since the 1970s. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Willie Nelson’s deep, eclectic catalogue will find this pairing to be nearly ideal. I’ve always said that Willie Nelson is as fine a jazz singer as he is a country singer, in the way he plays and improvises melody and frequently sings off the beat, bringing unexpected rhythms and textures into his tunes. Here’s the first song off Willie and the Wheel, “Hesitation Blues” and a video with Nelson and Ray Benson discussing the project.

Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel

Hesitation Blues [MP3]


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Feb 11 – TV: Good Morning America

Feb 11 – Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank NJ

Feb 12 – FM Kirby Center, Wilkes Barre PA

Feb 13 – American Music Theatre, Lancaster PA

Feb 14 – Stanley Performing Arts Center, Utica NY

Feb 15 – Palace Theatre, Albany NY

Feb 16 – TV: Late Night w/David Letterman

Feb 17 – Civic Center, Roanoake VA

Feb 18 – Bob Martin Agricultural, Williamston NC

Feb 19 – Holmes Center, Boone NC

Feb 20 – Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham NC

Feb 21 – Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro NC