Willie Nelson's career as a legendary country musician, political activist and humanitarian has made him an American icon. In 2002, a variety of musical acts paid tribute to Willie during the Willie Nelson & Friends: Stars & Guitars concert, recorded in the capital of country music, Nashville, Tennessee.Last year, a star-studded lineup came out to New York City to celebrate Willie's 70th birthday during the Willie Nelson & Friends: Live and Kickin' concert.Now, for the third consecutive year in May 2004, the stars came out again.
Willie Nelson has been a prolific singer and recording artist since the 1970s, but the songwriter who penned hits for Ray Price, Patsy Cline, Billy Walker, and Johnny Cash, among others, hasn't issued an album of predominantly original material since 1996. Band of Brothers ends the drought. Its 14 selections include nine new songs by Nelson (with producer Buddy Cannon) and a handful of fine covers. Opener "Bring It On" is a honky tonk waltz that offers wisdom by someone who has lived through plenty as he looks eternity squarely in the eye. He is in excellent voice as Mickey Raphael's harmonica moans to underscore his lyric. Nelson delivers his first guitar solo on Trigger (his nylon-stringed instrument). His playing, with its unique phrasing, has always been underrated and here it evokes the blues. His love songs have always been highlights in his catalog. "I Thought I Left You" is in 4/4, with a slow processional pace adorned with slippery steel and piano. The lost romance portrayed in the waltz "Send Me a Picture" is another clear standout; a sighing pedal steel and Raphael's mid-register wail echo every sung line.
Live and Kickin' is a 2003 live album by Willie Nelson, featuring music stars of diverse genres like Eric Clapton, Shania Twain, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Ray Charles, Steven Tyler, Wyclef Jean, ZZ Top, Paul Simon.
One of the first in a series of duet albums with country legends that Willie Nelson undertook during a period of seemingly uncontrolled output at Columbia, this remains one of the best. Ray Price may be regarded as something of a laid-back smoothie by listeners whose ears are stuffed with wax, but the reality is that Price is one of country's most expressive vocalists as well as a man interested in kicking country tempos as well as ballads.( Eugene Chadbourne - AllMusic Guide )
It sat on the top of the country charts for 11 weeks and went double platinum, making it one of the biggest hits in either Waylon Jennings' or Willie Nelson's catalog. Years after its initial 1978 release, Waylon & Willie remains one of their biggest-selling albums, but its perennial popularity has more to do with their iconic status – something this album deliberately played up – than the quality of the music, which is, overall, merely good. Released in early 1978, a few months after Jennings' Ol' Waylon spent 13 weeks on the top of the charts in the summer of 1977, thanks in part to the hit single "Luckenbach, Texas" featuring a chorus sung by Nelson…
Willie Nelson joined Ray Price's Cherokee Cowboys in 1961, the first step in a lifelong friendship between the two men. From that point on, the pair never fell out of touch. At the height of his superstardom in 1980, Nelson cut a duet album with Price called San Antonio Rose, the first of three joint efforts they'd cut over the years. Whenever the pair got together, they'd sing the old songs, Western swing standards and honky tonk classics from the '50s and '60s – the songs that form the core of For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, a salute Willie delivered three years after Price's 2013 death.