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Published On: Mon, Apr 4th, 2016

Willie Nelson: Summertime – Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin

willie nWillie Nelson
Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin
(Sony Legacy)

Buy it at Amazon!

What I never knew until I saw Dan Rather interview Willie Nelson is that the country/pop legend loves Frank Sinatra. In fact, Willie loves Frank so much that he was inspired by Sinatra’s recordings of Gershwin tunes, plus just winning the Gershwin Prize himself, to record Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin. Beginning with the sweet, warbly vocals, soft-brush-on-snare, plucking piano and acoustic guitar-led lament “But Not For Me,” which pretty much sets up this album’s overall production style and sound. Then he moves into a jumpy, jazzy “Somebody Loves Me” with Willie’s sister Bobbie popping though on her piano and Paul Franklin’s pedal steel informing the instrumental section, we are on our way to Willie-doing-standards. With a big, fat, upright bass and Jay Bellerose’s soft snare, Willie’s sister and Cyndi Lauper make their presence known behind Willie on a breezy “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.” The band plunks along on a jaunty, electric guitar-led “I Got Rhythm,” and we get the splendid harp player Mickey Raphael (longtime Willie bandmate and one of the most subtle harmonica players around) with Dean Parks’ electric guitar lifting the tune higher. “Summertime” is the big ender here with upright bass, Bobbie Nelson and Raphael once again adding colors all over a bossa nova beat. If you want to lay back and float away with some perfectly-crafted pop tunes from a wonderful band in a production that has a very special, yet same sound throughout, all fueling an oh-so-distinctive voice, Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin is the album for you.

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Willie Nelson: Summertime – Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin