Review: One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz's Tribute to The Red Headed Stranger

Star-studded live interpretations achieve heartfelt Willie magic

Review: <i>One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz's Tribute to The Red Headed Stranger</i>

The brilliance of the Next Waltz's new Willie Nelson tribute lies in its live recording. As project ringleader Bruce Robison writes in his liner notes: "When I heard what was on tape it sounded like magic to me. It sounded like 1973." The lineup gathered at Nelson's Luck Ranch for last year's birthday show certainly slings star power, but Robison's enchanted sound comes from the immaculately loose backing band – John Michael Schoepf's bass, Scott Davis' guitar, Geoff Queen's steel, Trevor Nealon's keyboard, plus Conrad Choucroun and Keith Langford trading drums. The outfit broils with its own raucous Family Band vibe, especially from Emily Gimble, who delivers her own Sister Bobbie tribute with "Down Yonder." Vincent Neil Emerson rips at the outset with a romp through "Bloody Mary Morning," matched by Margo Price taking aim at "Shotgun Willie." Yet Nelson's slower songs get the best treatments, such as Nathaniel Rateliff's surprisingly tender turn on "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" and a softly crooned "Crazy." Robert Earl Keen feels every second of "Pick Up the Tempo," and Sheryl Crow's "Night Life" swoons wonderfully wistful. Likewise, master interpreter Kevin Russell riles up "I Gotta Get Drunk," but showcases Shinyribs' other side leading the crowd through "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" – while Ray Wylie Hubbard handles requisitely rough-and-tumbled "Whiskey River." Robison himself impresses most, however, making "Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning" his own with a heartfelt loneliness, paired poignantly with the searching "(How Will I Know) I'm Falling in Love Again." Magic, indeed.

One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz's Tribute to The Red Headed Stranger (The Next Waltz)

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Willie Nelson, Bruce Robison, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Robert Earl Keen, Kevin Russell, Ray Wylie Hubbard

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