Back on May 1st, 2022, friends, colleagues, and admirers of Willie Nelson came together to celebrate the singer-songwriter’s 89th birthday by looking back on his life in music. Those performances by artists like Nathaniel Rateliff, Margo Price, and Sheryl Crow were recorded by Bruce Robison, a fellow performer and founder of all-analog label The Next Waltz, for One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz’s Tribute To The Red Headed Stranger. The compilation is out on April 28th, 2023, one day before Willie’s 90th birthday.
“To put together a night of Willie Nelson music was a dream for me. His music has always been a part of my life, guiding me like the North Star,” Robison said. “It’s the soundtrack to living in Texas.”
In an interesting twist, Robison asked that the house band not rehearse and that they draw on their years of experience playing these songs. The result is an ease of familiarity that permeates the album’s 14 tracks as each performer shines in their personally selected songs.
The full tracklist also includes performances from Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen, Vincent Neil Emerson, Shinyribs, Emily Gimble, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Phosphorescent. Midway through the tracklist, pianist Emily Gimble delivers an emotional tribute to Bobbie Nelson with “Down Yonder”, a song Willie’s older sister often played at his concerts. She passed away on March 10th, seven weeks before the One Night in Texas performance.
In light of Bobbie’s recent passing and the fact that they were all playing together again after COVID lockdowns, Robison said the show “felt like it was about more than just Willie. The night just felt like some kind of celebration of life. When it was coming together, I knew I had to try to record it. When I heard the tape, it sounded like magic to me. It sounded like 1973. It is definitely the sound of people having fun.”
The Willie Nelson tribute album One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz’s Tribute to the Red Headed Stranger is available for pre-order February 17th on The Next Waltz’s website and all streaming platforms. Stay tuned for more details and upcoming singles. Click below for the full tracklist.
One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz’s Tribute to the Red Headed Stranger Tracklisting
“Bloody Mary Morning” – Vincent Neil Emerson
“Shotgun Willie” – Margo Price
“Pick Up The Tempo” – Robert Earl Keen
“I Gotta Get Drunk” – Shinyribs
“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” – Nathaniel Rateliff
“Pancho and Lefty” – Steve Earle
“Down Yonder” – Emily Gimble
“Night Life” – Sheryl Crow
“Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning” Bruce Robison
“Whiskey River” – Ray Wylie Hubbard
“My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” – Shinyribs
“Crazy” – Nathaniel Rateliff
“(How Will I Know) I’m Falling In Love Again” – Bruce Robison
“The Party’s Over” – Phosphorescent