Willie Nelson's new studio album
will be released on February 26, 2021
on CD, vinyl and in digital formats.
It's a homage from the country star
to his friend, the great Frank Sinatra.
Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, is releasing Willie Nelson's new studio album "That’s Life" on February 26, 2021. It is already the country star's 15th long player on this label. "That's Life" will be released on CD, LP and in digital formats.
The new album is another homage from the country star to Frank Sinatra, who would have celebrated his 105th birthday this year. Willie Nelson has always been a great admirer of the legendary singer and in 2018 released an LP with Sinatra songs under the title "My Way", for which he received a Grammy in the category "Best Traditional Pop Solo Album".
Now Willie Nelson presents further standards and classics from the “Great American Songbook” on “That’s Life” that became world famous thanks to Sinatra. Nelson himself made a name for himself during his career as a composer of standards such as "Crazy", "Funny How Time Slips Away" or "On The Road Again" and was one of the first contemporary artists to write songs with his 1978 album "Stardust" reinterpreted from the "Great American Songbook". The country star also demonstrated his fondness for the immortal hits of the twenties and thirties on “Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin” (2016) or the aforementioned “My Way”.
The cover of “That’s Life” shows a drawing of Willie with his legendary guitar Trigger. It stands in the light of a street lamp, a motif that brings back memories of classic Sinatra albums such as “In The Wee Small Hours”, the title track of which can also be heard on “That’s Life”. Other highlights of the album are “I Won’t Dance” (with Grammy and Juno Award winner Diana Krall) and “A Cottage For Sale”.
"That’s Life" was produced by Buddy Cannon and Matt Rollings and recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood and Pedernales Studios in Austin, Texas. Frank Sinatra was the first artist to record in the Capitol Studios and he remained loyal to them for many years: From March 1956 to November 1961, the successful albums of "Ol’ Blue Eyes "were created here.
Embedded in lavish brass and string arrangements, Willie Nelson offers eleven new, grandiose studio recordings. They were mixed by the legendary sound engineer Al Schmitt, who was involved in the recording and mixing of 150 gold and platinum albums.
Willie Nelson and Frank Sinatra shaped the genres in which they were active in a forward-looking manner - both master the full range of emotions. They sing / sang with equal intensity about love and the ups and downs that it brings with it and thus reach the hearts of their fans.
Nelson and Sinatra were close friends, musical colleagues, and admirers of each other. For example, Willie played in the opening act for Sinatra's engagement at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas in the 1980s, and the two were also featured in a NASA Space Foundation spot.
“I learned a lot about phrasing by listening to Frank,” Willie said in an interview with AARP Magazine (June / July 2018). "Before the beat, after the beat, he didn't care at all - he could do both, and that's exactly what singing is about."
With his interpretations of Sinatra classics such as "Nice Work If You Can Get It", "Just In Time", "Cottage For Sale", "I've Got You Under My Skin", "You Make Me Feel So Young", Willie Nelson documents "I Won't Dance" (featuring Diana Krall), "That's Life", "Luck Be A Lady", "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning", "Learnin 'The Blues" and "Lonesome Road" his great affinity for the Sinatra songs.
Willie Nelson - "That's Life"
Track list (songwriter; Frank Sinatra version, release date)
01. Nice Work If You Can Get It (Ira Gershwin & George Gershwin; Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First, 1962)
02. Just In Time (Adolph Green, Jule Styne & Betty Comden; Come Dance With Me !, 1959)
03. A Cottage For Sale (Larry Conley & Willard Robison; No One Cares, 1959)
04. I've Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter; Songs For Swingin 'Lovers !, 1956)
05. You Make Me Feel So Young (Josef Myrow & Mack Gordon; Songs For Swingin 'Lovers !, 1956)
06. I Won't Dance - featuring Diana Krall (Jerome Kerr, Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach, Jimmy McHugh & Dorothy Fields; A Swingin 'Affair !, 1957)
07. That's Life (Dean Kay & Kelly Gordon, That's Life, 1966)
08. Luck Be A Lady (Frank Loesser; My Kind Of Broadway, 1965)
09. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning (David Mann & Bob Hilliard; In The Wee Small Hours, 1955)
10. Learnin 'The Blues (Dolores Vicki Silvers; Session with Sinatra EP, single, 1955)
11. Lonesome Road (Nathaniel Shilkret & Gene Austin; A Swingin 'Affair !, 1957)
The songs and their story:
1. Nice Work If You Can Get It This classic by George and Ira Gershwin was getting a bit old when Sinatra picked it up when he first worked with the Count Basie Orchestra for the 1962 LP Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First ( First published by Reprise).
2. Just In Time
The melody of this song was written by Jule Styne, the lyrics are from Comden / Green. Originally the title was composed for the musical "Bells Are Ringing", Frank's version appeared on the 1959 LP "Come Dance With Me!"
3. Cottage For Sale
Sinatra recorded the song (Music: Willard Robinson; Lyrics: Larry Conley) for the album No One Cares, which is considered to be one of the artist's most sentimental albums. The LP was released in 1959 on Capitol Records.
4. I've Got You Under My Skin
This Cole Porter song is a true Sinatra classic, which he performed for the first time on his radio show in 1946. The title premiered on the 1956 Capitol song For Swingin ’Lovers !, recorded by Frank with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. On the 1993 album Duets, the singer and U2 frontman Bono presented a new version of "I've Got You Under My Skin".
5. You Make Me Feel So Young
This composition by Josef Myrow (Lyrics: Mack Gordon) was first featured on the Sinatra LP Songs For Swingin ’Lovers! (1956). During his career, the star stayed true to this title, sang it regularly in his concerts and recorded it again and again. "You Make Me Feel So Young" can also be found on the 1993 album "Duets", with chanson grandmaster Charles Aznavour as a singing partner.
6. I Won’t Dance (featuring Diana Krall)
Frank Sinatra recorded this composition by Jerome Kern for his 1957 Capitol album "A Swingin 'Affair". Willie Nelson committed himself to his version of the incomparable Diana Krall.
7. That’s Life
The album of the same name was released in 1966 by Reprise Records. Sinatra returned to the charts with the title track by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon: In an era when rock songs dominated the charts, the superstar landed a top 5 hit with That’s Life ’.
8. Luck Be A Lady
This Frank Loesser classic made its Broadway debut in 1950 in the musical "Guys And Dolls". In the 1955 theatrical version of the musical Sinatra was seen as Nathan Detroit, but "Luck Be A Lady" was sung by leading actor Marlon Brando. The title later became part of Sinatra's permanent repertoire and appeared for the first time on "Sinatra '65: The Singer Today" (recap). The song can also be heard on “Duets II” from 1994, where Frank's duet partner is Chrissie Hynde.
9. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
"In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning" was written by David Mann and Bob Hilliard and is the eponymous song on an LP that many consider the first concept album in history. Capitol Records released the LP, which deals with nightlife, lost love and loneliness, in 1955. Not least thanks to the great work of the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, this record was a huge success.
10. Learnin 'The Blues
A popular big band title that many singers had in their repertoire. Sinatra landed a number one hit with Dolores' song "Vicki" Silvers in 1955.
11. Lonesome Road
An atmospheric song from the 1957 album "A Swinging Affair", written by Nathanial Shilkret and Gene Austin.
- Produced by Buddy Cannon & Matt Rollings
- Recorded at Capitol Studios; Hollywood, CA
- Additional Recording at Pedernales Studios; Austin, TX - Dan Rudin Recording, Blackbird Studios, The Practice Room; Nashville, TN - Armory Studios; Vancouver, BC Canada
- Mixed by Al Schmitt & Niko Bolas at Capitol Studios; Hollywood, CA
- Willie Nelson - Trigger
- Matt Rollings - piano, B-3 organ, vibraphone, hand claps
- Dean Parks - electric guitar, acoustic guitar, hand claps
- David Piltch - bass, hand claps
- Jay Bellerose - drums, tambourines, hand claps
- Mickey Raphael - harmonica
- Paul Franklin - steel guitar
- Chris McDonald - trombone
- Jeff Coffin - tenor saxophone
- Mark Douthit - alto saxophone
- Barry Green - trombone
- Mike Haynes - trumps
- Doug Moffet - baritone saxophone
- Steve Patrick - trumps, piccolo trumps
- Matt Forbes - hand claps
- Ed Cherney - hand claps
- Buddy Cannon - hand claps
- Strings: Kristin Wilkinson, David Angell, Monisa Angell, Carrie Bailey, Kevin Bate, David Davidson, Conni Ellisor, Cornelia Heard, Alison Hoffman, Paul Nelson, Sari Reist, Karen Winkelmann
- Strings orchestrated by Kristin Wilkinson
- Horns orchestrated by Chris McDonald
- Willie Nelson & Legacy Recordings
- In February 2012, Willie Nelson signed a historic deal with Legacy Recordings, the Iconic Artist Division of Sony Music Entertainment. For Nelson this contract marked the return to his old label home, because already in the years 1975-1993 he had released numerous successful singles and long players with Sony Music on Columbia Records. The titles the artist is presenting on Legacy include new recordings and live recordings, as well as titles from his archive curated personally by Willie Nelson. The songs cover all of his creative phases and include recordings for RCA Records and other labels. Since signing with Legacy Recordings, Willie Nelson has sold more than a million albums.
- Willie Nelson’s releases on Legacy Recordings include the following albums:
- 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)
- Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin (2016) (Grammy: Best Traditional Pop Solo Album)
- To All The Girls ... (2013)
- Let's Face The Music And Dance (2013)
- Heroes (2012)