Fresh off their performance at the National Preservation Conference in Tulsa last fall, Western Swing band Asleep at the Wheel has joined with country music legend Willie Nelson for a new CD of Western Swing classics entitled Willie and the Wheel. The Washington Post’s J. Freedom du Lac wrote a strong review of the album in which he said,
For several years, the iconoclastic singer-songwriter Willie Nelson has been surrounding himself with unlikely musical collaborators, from pop ditz Jessica Simpson and jazzman Wynton Marsalis to the rapper Snoop Dogg, with whom Nelson shares an abiding love of lighting up — and seemingly little else.
The pairings have produced more misses than hits as Nelson’s musical proffer has become wildly uneven. (Witness Nelson’s dreadful 2005 reggae experiment, “Countryman,” which should be filed in record bins under Jamaica Mistake.)
But for Nelson’s new album, “Willie and the Wheel,” he found the perfect partners: Western swing preservationists Asleep at the Wheel, who helped the aging country outlaw get in touch with his inner Bob Wills, to marvelously vibrant effect.
Bright, playful and exploding with verve, “Willie and the Wheel” is one of the first great albums of 2009.
Willie and the Wheel were on David Letterman on Monday evening. Here’s the video, with a great turn by Paul Shaffer playing Western Swing piano. Enjoy!
More to come…