Willie Nelson’s Gershwin Tribute Album Debuts at No. 1
Willie Nelson has earned another No. 1 album, but this time, it's on the jazz charts. His new record, Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, debuted atop the Top Current Jazz and Top Traditional Jazz charts following its Feb. 26 release.
Nelson officially announced the project in January. Summertime features songs penned by George and Ira Gershwin, including beloved hits such as “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “I Got Rhythm” and “Love Is Here to Stay." Nelson duets with Cyndi Lauper on “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” and with Sheryl Crow for “Embraceable You.”
Two of Nelson's previous albums earned spots on the jazz charts: 2008's Two Men With the Blues and 2011's Here We Go Again: Celebrating The Genius of Ray Charles. Both discs are collaborations with renowned jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
Summertime came to fruition after Nelson was awarded the Library of Congress’ 2015 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song; when he was presented the honor, he noted, “I have been a fan of Ira and George Gershwin’s music since I was a little guy." Nelson was the first country artist ever to receive the distinguished Gershwin Prize -- an honor not lost on him.
"To get a Gershwin award for anything is great, but to get one for songwriting is especially great because Ira and George Gershwin were just fantastic writers. They wrote some of the greatest songs ever," Nelson said while receiving the prize. "The Gershwin songs have been here for many many years. When I was just a small guy, I remember hearing all these great Gershwin songs, and they'll be around forever because great music like that just does not go away."
Summertime was produced by Nelson's friend and musical collaborator Buddy Cannon, along with co-producer Matt Rollings. For more information on Nelson's upcoming shows, including his 2016 Luck Reunion during SXSW, visit WillieNelson.com.
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