The Great Divide And Milk Cow Blues To Make Their Vinyl Debuts; Spirit And Teatro Returning To Vinyl Due To Popular Demand
Albums To Be Released Throughout The Year Beginning June 23
Los Angeles – May 18, 2023 – In celebration of the legendary Willie Nelson turning 90 this year, several of his beloved albums from the 1990s and 2000s that were never released on vinyl at the time will be pressed on vinyl in a variety of options over the next few months. The releases will kick off June 23 with his 2002 collaborative album, The Great Divide, followed by 1998’s acclaimed, cinematic, Daniel Lanois-produced Teatro on August 4 in honor of its 25th anniversary. Willie’s 2000 ode to the blues, Milk Cow Blues, will come on September 15 as a double LP, while 1996’s stripped-back and emotionally raw Spirit will bow on October 20, just ahead of the American icon’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on November 3. The Great Divide and Milk Cow Blues will be making their vinyl debuts while Teatro and Spirit return to vinyl due to popular demand after being available in limited capacity but now long out-of-print.
All albums will be available on 180-gram black vinyl as well as a limited edition color variant on 140-gram vinyl, exclusively available at uDiscover Music and WillieNelson.com. The Great Divide and Spirit will be pressed on clear vinyl while Teatro and Milk Cow Blues will be on translucent red vinyl and orange vinyl respectively. The LPs are available for pre-order now here: https://WillieNelson.lnk.to/90thVinyl
The Great Divide, released in 2002 on Lost Highway, saw Willie duetting and collaborating with an incredible roster of artists from across the musical spectrum for a rousing collection of originals and covers for his 50th studio album. Joined by a diverse group of songwriters, singers and musicians, including Alison Kraus, Bonnie Raitt, Brian McKnight, Kid Rock, Lee Ann Womack, the album features such highlights as the Rob Thomas-penned duet, “Maria (Shut Up And Kiss Me),” and the Lee Ann Womack-starring “Mendocino County Line,” co-written by Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin who also co-wrote “This Face.” Other standouts include covers of Mickey Newbury’s “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” Cyndi Lauper’s signature tune, “Time After Time,” and the title track which sees Willie taking the lead for a Spanish-tinged original. The record comes to a stirring conclusion with Willie and Bonnie Raitt reflecting on regret and the passage of time in the aching “You Remain.” The album peaked at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart on the strength of singles “Mendocino County Line” hitting No. 22 and “Maria (Shut Up And Kiss Me)” reaching No. 41 on the Hot Country Songs charts.
Willie’s 45th album, Teatro, released in 1998 on Island, found the ever-restless musical innovator working with producer Daniel Lanois to create a lush, cinematic gem of a record. Fittingly recorded live in an old, unused movie theatre in Oxnard, Calif., prominently displayed on the cover, the album mostly features Willie reinventing to great effect a number of songs he first wrote in the 1960s, including 1962’s “I’ve Just Destroyed The World” and “Three Days” and 1968’s “I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye.” With longtime friend and frequent collaborator Emmylou Harris at his side for 11 of the 14 tracks, Teatro showcases Willie’s versatility as he effortlessly transitions between country, folk, and blues, delivering each song with a profound sense of sincerity while experimenting with new sounds and sonic textures. Willie and Emmylou’s take on Lanois’ “The Maker” would be worth the price of admission alone but that’s just one standout among many. Accompanied by a nine-piece band that included Willie’s sister, Bobbie Nelson, on piano, the group conjure up an atmosphere informed by the howling harmonicas and mariachi bands of spaghetti western soundtracks, resulting in an album quite unlike any other in Willie’s catalog.
Released in 2000 on Island, Willie’s 48th studio album, Milk Cow Blues, was his heartfelt homage to the blues. With his trademark vocals and dexterous guitar playing, Willie, backed by the Antone’s blues band and his trusty harmonica player, Mickey Raphael, delivers a captivating collection of blues standards and original compositions, including remarkable blues renditions of some of his classics and earliest cuts. The 15-track album features Willie joined by blues legends B.B. King for his timeless hit, “The Thrill Has Gone,” Dr. John on the slow rolling “Black Night,” and vocalist Francine Reed on Willie’s “Funny (How Time Slips Away)” and the scene-setting title track, with the vocalist transforming both into soulful laments. A who’s who of the genre’s modern-day torchbearers such as Keb Mo, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang and Susan Tedeschi display their blues chops alongside Willie, from Tedeschi belting on Willie’s immortal “Crazy” and Lang, Mo and Shepherd playing up a storm of blues guitar on “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” “Outskirts Of Town,” and “Texas Flood.” Willie digs deep into his catalog to revisit some of his earliest songs, including “Rainy Day Blues” (with Lang) and “Night Life” (with King) which were released in 1960 by Paul Buskirk and His Little Men featuring Hugh Nelson (aka Willie). Critics praised the record, with Rolling Stone exclaiming, “like everything else he plays, Nelson’s blues are unforced and natural,” adding, “the result is emotionally rich, musically savory and languidly blue from end to end.” Texas Monthly meanwhile said the “gorgeous solo reading of Bob Wills’ ‘Sittin’ on Top of the World’ that should forever bridge the gap between western swing and blues winds up being the album’s most spine-tingling moment.”
Spirit, released in 1996 on Island as his 44th studio album, saw the songwriter return to his roots for what critics deemed his most focused album of that decade. Self-produced and featuring a stripped back band – Willie and Jody Payne on guitars, Bobbie Nelson on piano, and legendary country fiddler Johnny Gimble (Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys), Willie, as All Music wrote “weaves a tapestry, a song cycle about brokenness, loneliness, heartbreak, spiritual destitution, and emerging on the other side.” The 12 original compositions delve into themes of love, loss, redemption, and the human experience and showcase Willie’s well-traveled voice and Spanish-inflected guitar playing, accompanied by sparse instrumentation; the antithesis to the kind of country music that dominated the airwaves in the mid ‘90s. Some of the many highlights include “I’m Not Trying To Forget You Anymore,” “Too Sick To Pray” and “I Thought About You, Lord.” While well received upon release, Spirit has only grown in stature over the years as it continues to be discovered and revisited by new and longtime fans alike. In 2020, Texas Monthly ranked it #10 when ranking Willie’s more than 150 albums, a jaw-dropping mix of studio recordings, live albums and anthologies.
Willie’s music continues to endure and captivate audiences more than ever, and now fans have even more ways to enjoy these four classic albums.
About Willie Nelson
With a seven-decade career, Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In recent years, he has delivered more than a dozen new albums, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestselling book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, been honored by the Library of Congress with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the annual Luck Reunion food and music festival during SXSW, launched his cannabis companies Willie’s Reserve and Willie’s Remedy, and graced the covers of Rolling Stone and AARP The Magazine. In July 2020, Willie released his album First Rose of Spring – an atmospheric soulful showcase of beautifully-written songs and poignant performances.
September 2020 brought a memoir with his sister and pianist Bobbie Nelson titled, “Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of The Family Band.” For 2021, he released a new studio album in February —That’s Life, Willie’s second album of standards and classics made famous by Frank Sinatra (his first, 2018’s My Way, earned Willie the GRAMMY for Best Traditional Pop Solo Album). In June 2021, a collection of his thoughts on America, family, faith and music hits shelves as a new book titled “Willie Nelson’s Letters to America.” In November 2021, Nelson released the new studio album, The Willie Nelson Family, a collection of country gospel-flavored songs performed by Willie’s Family Band. In April 2022, he released another new studio album, A Beautiful Time, which includes a variety of newly-written future pop-country classics including five new Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon compositions. The album won the GRAMMY for Best Country Album. In September 2022, he published a new book titled “Me and Paul: Untold Tale of a Fabled Friendship” that chronicles the adventures of Willie and his longtime drummer and closest friend Paul English. Throughout 2023, Willie celebrates his 90th birthday with multiple projects and events including the two-night star-studded concert, Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90, which took place in April at the famed Hollywood Bowl. The year began with the debut of “Wille Nelson & Family,” a new five-part film documentary series directed by Thom Zimny and Oren Moverman that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival as well as the just released new album, I Don’t Know a Thing About Love, which features 10 performances that pay tribute to American songwriter Harlan Howard, These creative endeavors as well as new songs and performances that add to his classic catalog, find Willie Nelson rolling at an artistic peak, writing and singing and playing with the seasoned wit and wisdom that comes from the road.
June 23 – The Great DivideAugust 4 – TeatroSeptember 15 – Milk Cow BluesOctober 20 – Spirit
THE GREAT DIVIDE
1. Maria (Shut Up And Kiss Me)
2. Mendocino County Line (with Lee Ann Womack)
3. Last Stand In Open Country (with Kid Rock)
4. Won’t Catch Me Cryin’
5. Be There For You (with Sheryl Crow)
6. The Great Divide
1. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
2. This Face
3. Don’t Fade Away (with Brian McKnight)
4. Time After Time (with Cyndi Lauper)
5. Recollection Phoenix
6. You Remain (with Bonnie Raitt)
1. Ou Es-Tu, Mon Amour?
2. I Never Cared For You
3. Everywhere I Go
4. Darkness On The Face Of The Earth
5. My Own Peculiar Way
6. These Lonely Nights
7. Home Motel
8. The Maker
1. I Just Can’t Let You Say Good-Bye
2. I’ve Just Destroyed The World
3. Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
4. Three Days
5. I’ve Loved You All Over The World
MILK COW BLUES TRACKLISTING
1. Milk Cow Blues (featuring Francine Reed)
2. Outskirts Of Town (featuring Keb Mo’)
3. Black Night (featuring Dr. John)
4. Funny (How Time Slips Away) (featuring Francine Reed)
1. Rainy Day Blues (featuring Jonny Lang)
2. Crazy (featuring Susan Tedeschi)
3. The Thrill Is Gone (featuring B.B. King)
4. Wake Me When It’s Over
1. Kansas City (featuring Susan Tedeschi)
2. Fool’s Paradise (featuring Dr. John)
3. Ain’t Nobody’s Business (featuring Jonny Lang)
4. Night Life (featuring B.B. King)
1. Sittin’ On Top Of The World
2. Lonely Street
3. Texas Flood (featuring Kenny Wayne Shepherd)
2. She Is Gone
3. Your Memory Won’t Die In My Grave
4. I’m Not Trying To Forget You Anymore
5. Too Sick To Pray
7. I’m Waiting Forever
1. We Don’t Run
2. I Guess I’ve Come To Live Here In Your Eyes
3. It’s A Dream Come True
4. I Thought About You, Lord
5. Spirit Of E9