Out Now: Willie Nelson Celebrates His 89th Birthday with Touching New Album, ‘A Beautiful Time’ (Listen)

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Today, April 29, is the 89th birthday of legendary country singer/songwriter/icon Willie Nelson — and he sought to give the world a gift, in the form of a new studio album.

Released on digital streaming platforms and on CD/vinyl, A Beautiful Time, is the 17th released by Nelson on Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, and was produced by Nelson’s longtime collaborator and musical colleague, Buddy Cannon (who co-wrote six of the record’s new songs, including five with Willie).

A testament to Willie’s endless creativity in the studio and commitment to his craft, A Beautiful Time is his 72nd(!) solo album released over the years (not including 2021’s The Willie Nelson Family collaborative record).

Originally announced back in February, the record was first previewed with “I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die,” a tender, heartfelt country anthem penned by Rodney Crowell and Chris Stapleton.

Click here to pick up A Beautiful Time on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up A Beautiful Time on LP from our Rock Cellar Store

To further celebrate Willie Nelson’s 89th birthday, there’s some special programming coming up this weekend — both in-person in Texas, and on SiriusXM satellite radio.

Per a news release:

To mark the release of A Beautiful Time and his birthday, Nelson is performing in Austin, TX at the grand opening of the Moody Center tonight and tomorrow. On Sunday, May 1, he will return to his ranch in Luck, TX for the special concert event To Willie: A Birthday Celebration hosted by Bruce Robinson with performances by guest of honor Willie as well as Nathaniel Rateliff, Robert Earl Keen, Margo Price, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Vincent Neil Emerson.

To Willie: A Birthday Celebration will also be broadcast at 8PM ET on May 1 on Willie’s SiriusXM channel Willie’s Roadhouse as part of a three-day birthday celebration of programming. The festivities kick off later today when daughter Paula Nelson hosts a one-hour special that premieres at 6pm ET and includes conversations and birthday wishes from Nathaniel Rateliff, Robert Earl Keen, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Bruce Robison, along with tracks from the new release. Other highlights of the weekend at Willie’s Roadhouse will include special birthday episodes of Ray Benson’s Austin Outer Limits and Sundays with Seely with Jeannie Seely. For more info go to blog.siriusxm.com/wilie-nelson-89th/

The album’s track listing:

1. I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die
2. My Heart Was A Dancer
3. Energy Follows Thought
4. Dreamin’ Again
5. I Don’t Go To Funerals
6. A Beautiful Time
7. We’re Not Happy (Till You’re Not Happy)
8. Dusty Bottles
9. Me And My Partner
10. Tower Of Song
11. Live Every Day
12. Don’t Touch Me There
13. With A Little Help From My Friends
14. Leave You With A Smile

Five of those songs are Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon compositions, while others feature contributions from Nashville and country icons like Crowell and Stapleton. More details, per a news release:

Produced by Willie’s longtime musical collaborator Buddy Cannon (who’s cowritten six of the album’s new songs, including five with Willie), A Beautiful Time is a fully-realized new studio album showcasing Willie and Trigger (his signature guitar) playing with musicians including Jim “Moose” Brown (B-3 organ, Wurlitzer), Fred Elringham (drums), Barry Bales (upright bass), Bob Terry (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, steel guitar), James Mitchell (electric guitar) and the patented harmonic stylings of Mickey Raphael. Melonie Cannon sings backup on five of the album’s tracks.

The album’s core musical ensemble drives eight of the essential tracks on A Beautiful Time: “My Heart was a Dancer,” “Energy Follows Thought,” “Dreamin’ Again,” “Dusty Bottles,” “Me and My Partner,””Don’t Touch Me There” and two of the album’s most emotional performances: “I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die” and “I Don’t Go to Funerals.”

The album’s studio performances of two Shawn Camp songs–“A Beautiful Time” and “We’re Not Happy (Till You’re Not Happy)”–and Willie’s interpretation of the Lennon-McCartney classic (“With a Little Help from My Friends) feature Bobby Terry (acoustic guitar, electric guitar), Catherine Marx (Wurlitzer, piano, B-3 organ), Mike Johnson (steel guitar), Chad Cromwell (drums), Lonnie Wilson (drums, percussion) and Kevin “Swine” Grantt (upright bass).

Listen below, and happy birthday, Willie!

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