Celebrate Country Legend Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday With New Spotify Singles

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Often spotted with a bandana on his head and a guitar in his hands, Willie Nelson remains one of the most recognized and respected country musicians. Since the 1960s, the Texan has been active, performing hits like “On the Road Again,” appearing on the silver screen in films like The Dukes of Hazzard, and advocating for the causes most important to him. 

April 29 marks the renowned star’s 90th birthday, and our Spotify Singles program is celebrating the milestone occasion. In partnership with Luck Reunion, a group of artists visited Nelson’s iconic home studio—Pedernales Recording Studio—to cover one of their favorite hits from the legend.

“Luck Presents is honored to have collaborated with and to have hosted the Spotify Singles team to capture these amazing Luck family artists paying homage to our landlord and godfather for his 90th birthday,” said Matt Bizer, CEO, Luck Reunion. “From Margo’s ballad rendition of ‘Hands on the Wheel’ and Sierra’s incredible take on ‘Seven Spanish Angels,’ to the powerful, soulful, and fun new gospel take on ‘Whiskey River’ by The War And Treaty—they are all a treat to hear. We hope this can become a new tradition.” 

For the Record caught up with the artists to learn more about their experiences creating these new tracks.

Margo Price covers “Hands on the Wheel”

Grammy Best New Artist nominee Margo Price uses her music to weigh in on a range of societal topics, from the gender wage gap to the plight of the American farmer and substance abuse. The singer-songwriter has seen critical acclaim for her work, which includes four studio albums since 2016.

What was it like recording at the Pedernales Recording Studio?

It’s one of my favorite studios to record in. This was my second time recording there, and there’s just a magic about the studio and the beautiful hillside country that surrounds it.

Why did you choose “Hands on the Wheel”?

Hands on the Wheel” has always been one of my favorite songs, and Red Headed Stranger is one of the best albums ever conceived. The opening lyrics seem so relevant for today’s times. 

What do you hope Willie’s reaction will be? 

I hope he digs it! I tried to preserve the rooted feeling and keep it simple and stripped down so the focus on the poetry and lyrics wouldn’t be lost. 

How did you reimagine the track?

Honestly, I didn’t do much, because if it’s not broken, why fix it? I changed the key and moved it up into my register, but I kept it acoustic and open with lots of space for the words and instruments to breathe. My husband, Jeremy, played guitar, and I enlisted two of Willie Nelson’s bandmates for the session. His longtime harmonica player, Mickey Raphael, added his magic touch, and Willie’s son, Micah Nelson, aka Particle Kid, added an acoustic guitar lead and a beautiful harmony. 

What was it like collaborating with Micah? Did the experience bring out a different side to your music or creativity?

Micah is a genius—and I truly mean that. I have always loved singing, touring, and recording with him. His vocals added so much, and so did his acoustic playing! He has his father’s touch but a sound all his own.

If you could pick another artist to cover one of your tracks, who would it be? Is there a song you’d have in mind?

Great question! I really love the band The Linda Lindas. I would love to hear them cover my song “Been to The Mountain.”

 

The War And Treaty cover “Whiskey River”

Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter are the husband-and-wife duo behind The War And Treaty. Their musical style of soul, gospel, and country helped them nab a nomination for Duo of the Year at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards.

What was it like recording at Luck Reunion/Pedernales Studio?

Historic. 

Why did you choose “Whiskey River”?

We loved the original version and the clever lyrics Johnny Bush wrote.

What do you hope Willie’s reaction will be?

We hope he doesn’t say, “Who messed up my song?” Ha!

How did you reimagine the original?

We thought that we could add to it by putting a rock kind of swamp country energy to the song. Our sound is a mixture of gospel, country, and soul and we wanted the listener to feel that.

What does this version give fans that perhaps the original didn’t?

A little more energy and two voices on lead.

If you could pick another artist to cover one of your tracks, who would it be? Is there a song you’d have in mind?

Jennifer Hudson singing “Have You A Heart” would be epic.

 

In addition to the tracks from Margo and The War And Treaty, Sierra Ferrell, a singer-songwriter from West Virginia, also brought her signature fusion of country, gypsy, and folk to Nelson’s track “Seven Spanish Angels.” You can check that out below.

 

For more tracks from the country music legend, check out our Happy 90th Willie Nelson playlist.

The post Celebrate Country Legend Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday With New Spotify Singles appeared first on Spotify.

Behind the Mic, americana, Country, guitar, margo price, outlaw country, q&a, Sierra Ferrell, Spotify Singles, Texas, the war and treaty, willie nelson

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