First Single, “Family Bible,” Available Thursday, September 23
Country Gospel-flavored Collection features Definitive Performances of Songs Penned by Willie Nelson, George Harrison, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams, A.P. Carter and Others
Willie’s Family Band includes Sister Bobbi Nelson, Sons Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson, Daughters Paula Nelson and Amy Nelson as well as Longtime Members Mickey Raphael, Paul English, Billy English, and Kevin Smith
Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release The Willie Nelson Family–Willie Nelson’s new studio album (and 16th for the label)–on Friday, November 19.
“Family Bible,” the first single from The Willie Nelson Family album, will be released Thursday, September 23. One of Willie Nelson’s earliest compositions, “Family Bible” was penned in 1957, inspired by scenes of Willie’s grandmother singing “Rock of Ages” and reading from the Bible after supper. A struggling young songwriter moving to Houston, Willie sold the song to Paul Buskirk, who enlisted singer Claude Gray to record Nelson’s original songs (including “Family Bible” and “Night Life”). Gray’s single version of “Family Bible” was released in February 1960 and reached #7 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. The single’s success enabled Willie to move to Nashville, where he established his reputation as a songwriter. Willie recorded his own version of “Family Bible” for the first time on his 1971 album, Yesterday’s Wine and has featured the song as a staple in his live performances. The new studio recording of “Family Bible” on The Willie Nelson Family is an essential addition to Willie’s catalog.
Shaped around a setlist of 12 favorite spirit-driven songs from the Nelson Family repertoire, The Willie Nelson Family draws on deep Americana (including A.P. Carter’s “Keep It On The Sunnyside” and the traditional hymn “In The Garden”) while celebrating classic songwriting from Hank Williams (“I Saw The Light”) and Kris Kristofferson (“Why Me”) to George Harrison (“All Things Must Pass”) and Willie Nelson (who penned half of the album’s compositions).
Produced by Willie Nelson and Steve Chadie, The Willie Nelson Family was recorded and mixed by Chadie at Pedernales Studios in Austin, Texas.
Musicians on The Willie Nelson Family are: Willie Nelson (lead vocals, background vocals, Trigger); Bobbie Nelson (piano); Lukas Nelson (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lead vocals, background vocals); Micah Nelson (drums, bass, background vocals); Paula Nelson (background vocals); Amy Nelson (background vocals); Mickey Raphael (harmonica); Billy English (drums); Paul English (percussion) and Kevin Smith (bass).
Willie’s son Lukas (who fronts his own band, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) sings lead vocals on two of the album’s tracks–“All Things Must Pass” and “Keep It On The Sunnyside”–while sharing lead vocals with Willie on “I Saw the Light,” “I Thought About You, Lord” and “Why Me.”
Four of the performances on The Willie Nelson Family–“Heaven and Hell,” “Kneel at the Feet of Jesus,” “Laying My Burdens Down” and “Family Bible”–are among the last recordings Willie made with his longtime drummer and pal Paul English. Paul and Willie first played together in Fort Worth in 1955; Paul became Willie’s regular drummer in 1966 and an essential member of the Family until he passed away, at age 87, on February 11, 2020.
Willie Nelson & Family are slated to headline Farm Aid 2021 in Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday, September 25. This year’s Farm Aid lineup will include sets by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and Particle Kid (Micah Nelson’s musical ensemble).
Willie Nelson was one of the organizers of the first Farm Aid concert in 1985, an event raising awareness about the loss of family farms in America; the annual concerts are the fundraising cornerstone of Farm Aid, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on the land. “After 30 years, we are still here, you’re still here, and together we’re still fighting for the farmers. The fight ain’t over yet but we’re gaining on those suckers, so stay with us,” said Willie Nelson.
Willie Nelson, Bobbie Nelson and Chris Barton have co-authored “Sister, Brother, Family: An American Childhood in Music,” a children’s picture book illustrated by Kyung Eun Han available in hardcover November 9, 2021.
The Willie Nelson Family is the third new Willie Nelson studio album to be released on Legacy since July 2020. First Rose of Spring, released July 3, 2020,entered the Billboard Top Country Albums chart at #5, making Willie Nelson the first artist to score a Top 10 album in every decade–seven in all–since Billboard launched its Top Country Albums chart in January 1964; First Rose of Spring is Willie’s 53rd Top 10 album. Willie’s second collection of standards from the Frank Sinatra repertoire, That’s Life, released February 26, 2021, debuted at #1 on both Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart and the Traditional Jazz Albums chart.
Willie Nelson – The Willie Nelson Family
1. Heaven and Hell (Willie Nelson)
2. Kneel at the Feet of Jesus (Willie Nelson)
3. Laying My Burdens Down (Willie Nelson)
4. Family Bible (Claude Gray, Paul Buskirk & Walt Breeland)
5. In the Garden (traditional)
6. All Things Must Pass (George Harrison)
7. I Saw the Light (Hank Williams, Sr.)
8. In God’s Eyes (Willie Nelson)
9. Keep It On the Sunnyside (A.P. Carter)
10. I Thought About You, Lord (Willie Nelson)
11. Too Sick To Pray (Willie Nelson)
12. Why Me (Kris Kristofferson)
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Willie Nelson & Legacy Recordings
In February 2012, Willie Nelson entered into an historic new record deal with Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, marking a label homecoming for Nelson, who, from 1975-1993, had cut a phenomenal string of top-selling singles and albums for Columbia Records, beginning with 1975’s seminal smash Red Headed Stranger. New titles by the artist under the Legacy imprint include newly recorded songs and performances as well as archival releases, personally curated by the artist, drawn from all phases of his career including his recordings for RCA Records and others. Since signing with Legacy, Willie Nelson has sold more than 1 million albums for the label.
Nelson’s album releases for Legacy Recordings have included:
That’s Life (2021)
Last Rose of Spring (2020)
Ride Me Back Home (2019) (Grammy: Best Country Solo Performance, “Ride Me Back Home”)
My Way (2018) (Grammy: Best Traditional Pop Solo Album)
Last Man Standing (2018)
Willie Nelson and the Boys: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2 (2017)
God’s Problem Child (2017)
For The Good Times: A Tribute To Ray Price (2016)Summertime:Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin (2016) (Grammy: Best Traditional Pop Solo Album)
Django and Jimmie (2015)
December Day: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1 (2014)
Band of Brothers (2014)
To All The Girls… (2013)
Let’s Face The Music And Dance (2013)
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