Willie Nelson is an icon of American songwriting and performing. His career started over 50 years ago as a young songwriter and a few of his songs hit it big for established artists in the early 1960s, most notably Crazy, done by Patsy Cline, and Night Life, done by Ray Price. Nelson went on to join Price's band as a bass player but soon came into his own and has been a star on the scene ever since. Although many of his songs could be defined as classic country, he is an incredibly versatile artist who has crossed over into the worlds of jazz, pop, and even standards. This set includes a few of Willie's original tunes, as well as a couple that he is heavily associated with as his versions helped redefine many classics.
Lesson 1: Always On My Mind - Guitar Lesson
*Always On My Mind*is a song most people associate with Willie Nelson but the original was done by Brenda Lee in 1972. Elvis took a turn with it a little later. This lesson is mostly along the lines of Willies version in spite of the fact that the piano was the main accompanying instrument. We use a somewhat unusual double-bass-note strumming pattern, a few chord inversions, and some passing bass notes to make this a great and fun song for guitar players.
Lesson 2: On The Road Again - Guitar Lesson
*On The Road Again*was written by Willie Nelson for the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose. It has now become one of his signature songs. It is almost a typical country progression and strumming pattern with a couple of twists and turns that make it instantly memorable. This lesson goes over the alternating bass pattern with a few hammer-ons and passing bass notes connecting the chords.
Lesson 3: Crazy - Guitar lesson
Willie Nelson wrote *Crazy *as a journeyman songwriter in 1961. Later that year Patsy Cline recorded it and it became one of her biggest hits, as well as putting Willie a little more firmly in the mix of great songwriters. This lesson looks mostly at Willie’s version, in spite of the fact that the main accompaniment was done on the piano. There is a transcription of the piano intro, a basic strumming version of the chords, which are more jazzy than country, and a short look at the modulation (key change) that happens at the end.
Lesson 4: Night Life - Guitar Lesson
*Night Life*is an early Willie Nelson song that was a hit for country star Ray Price in the early 1960s. Willie joined Ray’s band as a bass player and a decade later began his own solo career. The song is another that has a jazz feel (like Crazy) and follows a standard A-A-B-A form. This lesson goes over strumming the chords, as well as a fingerstyle approach, and covers the lead fills that pop up in the B section.
Lesson 5: Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys - Guitar Lesson
*Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys*is a song originally done by its writer, Ed Bruce, but made very famous in 1978 when Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings released it on their duo album Waylon & Willie. It is a great example of a simple I-IV-V-I chord sequences and can really be played in any key. This lesson looks at it in D and E, as W&W did it. It is in 3/4 time but strummed very quickly, really feeling like there is only one beat in each measure