Thursday, April 05, 2007

In House #1842: Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, & Ray Price Release Last of the Breed

The trio of musicians behind the new 2-CD release Last of the Breed hardly need introductions. Between the three of them, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price have amassed a century and a half's worth of recordings, many of which are unarguably some of the most important and influential in the history of country music. They're hardly relics, however-- Haggard and Nelson in particular have managed to stay busy and musically relevant with a number of new projects and recordings over the past few years (though you'd never know it if you listened to mainstream country radio). Prior to this release, Haggard issued last year's Kickin' Out the Footlights...Again with George Jones and 2005's Chicago Wind, while Nelson's two new releases in 2006 were part of a period that saw him offer four full-lengths in a span of three years. Price, meanwhile, has seemed more content with his legend status in recent years, playing the Branson circuit but hardly diminishing his standing as a true living legend. The new collaboration from the three (plus guest additions from Vince Gill and Kris Kristofferson) features new versions of a host of classic country tunes from the likes of Harlan Howard ("Pick Me Up On Your Way Down"), Cindy Walker ("Goin' Away Party," and "Night Watch"), and Lefty Frizzell ("Mom & Dad's Waltz"). Haggard and Nelson also contribute an original or two along the way. With tasteful, classic production from Fred Foster, the results are what one might expect: musically solid updates far removed from mere nostalgia. Last of the Breed is out on Lost Highway.

As long as we're hearing from country music legends, we also get to music from Charlie Louvin. Touring in support of his recent self-titled comeback, Louvin plays Boise's Neurolux this Saturday night following an in-store performance at the Record Exchange earlier in the day. Louvin originally made his name five decades or so back with his brother Ira, as the Louvin Brothers. Beginning in 1940, the duo set the standard for close harmony duet singing with classics like "The Christian Life," and "Cash On the Barrel Head." Louvin's inspired return this year on Tompkins Square features guest appearances from the hipster set (Lambchop's Kurt Wagner, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Will Oldham), as well as long established and respected pop (Elvis Costello) and country artists (George Jones, Tom T. Hall, Bobby Bare Sr.). Louvin turns 80 in July.

In House #1842.
Airdate: 4/5/07
Focus: New release from Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, & Ray Price, Last of the Breed, plus Charlie Louvin plays Boise this weekend. Also, new music from Jon Rauhouse, Dale Watson, and more.

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, & Ray Price, from Last of the Breed:
  • "My Life's Been a Pleasure" (MP3)
  • "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down" (MP3)

    Charlie Louvin, from Charlie Louvin:
  • "Why Must You Throw Dirt In My Face?" (with George Jones)
  • "My Long Journey Home" (MP3) (with Paul Burch)


    In House PODCAST #289

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