Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Willie Nelson: "Countryman"

My computer is back, but I have no time. But here's something from Yahoo!:

On August 2, Lost Highway will release "Countryman," the long-awaited reggae set from Willie Nelson. "Countryman" features 12 tracks, including two excellent covers from Jimmy Cliff's reggae classic "The Harder They Come" (title track and "Sitting In Limbo"). "Countryman" also includes the Johnny Cash/June Carter Cash penned "I'm A Worried Man," which is given a reggae sunsplash by Nelson and Toots Hibbert, of the legendary Toots and the Maytals.

"Countryman" also includes nine songs written by the Red Headed Stranger, including reggae-styled versions of "Darkness On The face Of The Earth," "One In A Row," "I've Just Destroyed The World" and "I'll Still Be Thinking of You."

The history behind "Countryman" dates back to 1995, when Nelson, his manager Mark Rothbaum and producer Don Was traveled to Jamaica for a meeting with Island Records founder Chris Blackwell to discuss a reggae-infused country album. Blackwell loved the idea, but made the deal based on hearing another project Willie had given him, which would become Nelson's acclaimed album "Spirit." "Spirit" was released in 1996, while Blackwell gave the okay to begin recording the reggae set. This was the official beginning of Nelson's relationship with Island Records.

Over the next two years, the music that would become "Countryman" was being recorded, Universal bought Polygram, which owned Island. Shortly after, Blackwell parted ways with the company, and the project no longer had its champion. Was and Nelson finished recording the basic tracks and the music was shelved unfinished.

Fast forward to 2001, Island merged with Def Jam, Nelson moved over to the newly formed Lost Highway, where label founder Luke Lewis and Nelson discussed the reggae project. In 2004, Lost Highway VP of A & R Kim Buie hired producer Richard Feldman (who produced Toots & The Maytals Grammy-winning CD "True Love") to finally mix the album and add some production. And now, at long last, Willie Nelson's "Countryman" will see the light of day on August 2.
No "Blue I and I's in the Rain"?

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