Willie Nelson

Twisted Willie: A Tribute to Willie Nelson

Tribute albums covering famous people is generally a guaranteed way to make money. However, when the people covering the artist who is being paid tribute to are vastly different in genre and style, there is a risk of it being put down, and worse, ignored, by the fans of both the artists in question. Justice Records, however, have decided to take this risk and I think it has paid off with their tribute to Willie Nelson.

I am not familiar with the music of Willie Nelson himself as much as I'm familiar with the groups covering it (most people listening to Alternative/College Rock will be). From that perspective, I must say that while there are a few lows, the tribute album is composed of mostly highs. Here's a track by track commentary: Johnny Cash is first with Time of the Preacher; I think Cash and Nelson fans would like this cover a lot. Three Days by L7 starts off in a mediocre fashion, runs into some very cool noise in the middle, and ends with a subtle touch which I really like a lot. Shotgun Willie is a powerful cover---raw punk at its best by Tenderloin. Bloody Mary Morning by the Supersuckers didn't impress me too much. Mark Lanegan's cover of She's Not For You is one of my favourites on the CD (the violin got to me). The Presidents of the United States of America sound just as they always do with Devil in a Sleeping Bag. Jerry Cantrell sucks on I've Seen All this World I Care to See. Best Kissers in the World, however, managed to Pick Up the Tempo quite well after Cantrell had brought it down. Jello Biafra with Life After Life could well be the Dead Kennedys in Still is Still Moving to Me. Waylon Jennings is okay on I Never Care for You. The Reverend Horton Heat play their usual psychobilly on Hello Walls, a song which I think is particularly suited for them. I Gotta Get Drunk by Gas Huffer is fairly catchy. Steel Pole Bath Tub is highly self-indulgent on The Ghost, and this is yet another favourite track of mine. Jessy Dayton sounds like he phoned this one in with Sad Songs and Waltzes. Home Motel by X could've been more punkish. Kelley Deal and Kris Kristofferson don't click all that well together for Angel Flying Too Close to The Ground.

All in all, I think this tribute is a pretty interesting one---fans of the bands on the tribute will be exposed to music of on the early rebellers in contemporary music. And fans of Willie Nelson will be exposed to the "alternative", and most importantly, some of the better underground acts of today.

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org