Willie Nelson Covering Gershwin With New Album
Willie Nelson is known for his own signature country style, but for his new album he’s taking on a different set of iconic tunes: Gershwin pop songs.
The music of George and Ira Gershwin pervaded the industry in the late 19th and early 20th century during the Tin Pan Alley era, and Nelson’s new record, titled Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, is filled with those classic songs.
Nelson accepted the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2015, and says he has been inspired by the legends nearly his whole life.
“To get a Gershwin award for anything is great, but to get one for songwriting is especially great because Ira and George Gershwin were just fantastic writers. They wrote some of the greatest songs ever,” Nelson says. “The Gershwin songs have been here for many many years. When I was just a small guy, I remember hearing all these great Gershwin songs, and they’ll be around forever because great music like that just does not go away.”
The album, slated for release Feb. 26, includes several of the Gershwin brothers’ greatest hits, including “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” which features Cyndi Lauper, and “Embraceable You,” featuring Sheryl Crow. Other songs on the record include “Summertime,” “I Got Rhythm,” and “Love Is Here to Stay.”
Though Nelson has been in the business for decades and has had a few minor health issues, he is not slowing down any time soon. He put out a new duet record with Merle Haggard titled Django and Jimmie just last year, which debuted at No. 1. He also appeared at the 75th birthday celebration in memory of John Lennon in November 2015, at which he performed a touching version of Lennon’s “Imagine.”
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