With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, this iconic Texan is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of Crazy, Red Headed Stranger, and Stardust. Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In recent years, he has delivered more than a dozen new album releases, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestsellers book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the annual Luck Reunion food and music festival at his ranch in Luck, TX during SXSW, launched his cannabis company Willie’s Reserve, and graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. In 2015, Nelson published “It’s A Long Story: My Life,”the unvarnished and complete story of his life that landed him on the New York Times’ bestsellers list. He also released a new studio album with Merle Haggard titled Django And Jimmie,which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Country album chart and #7 on Billboard‘s Top 200 album chart. In November 2015, the Library of Congress honored him with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to popular music. He is the first country artist to receive the distinguished award. The following year began with the release of Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, a collection of 11 newly recorded Gershwin classics. The album debuted at #1 on both the Top Current Jazz chart and the Top Traditional Jazz chart, as well as earned him a Grammy Award for the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. In September 2016, came For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price,an album of newly recorded interpretations of 12 Ray Price songs. A month later, Nelson released Pretty Paper, his new novel inspired his classic holiday song of the same title about a legless man who sold wrapping paper in front of a Ft. Worth, TX department store.In 2017, he released two albums of newly recorded performances: God’s Problem Child, with 13 new songs that debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Country album chart and #10 on the Billboard 200, and Willie Nelson and The Boys (Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2), that includes 11 country classics and one brand-new song performed by Nelson and his sons Lukas and Micah. For 2018, already scheduled is the release of Last Man Standing. Coming in April to celebrate his 85th birthday, it is comprised entirely of songs newly-penned by Nelson (and longtime collaborator and producer Buddy Cannon).These 11 essential new songs add to his classic catalog, and acknowledges the transience of time while marveling at the joy, beauty and surprise the world has to offer.It finds Willie Nelson rolling at a creative peak, writing and singing and playing with the seasoned wit and wisdom that comes from the road, which he still travels along performing for fans.
Born in Champaign, Illinois, Alison Krauss grew up listening to everything from folk to opera to pop and rock music, but quickly fell in love with bluegrass when she began playing fiddle at the age of five. Shortly after, Krauss began entering fiddle contests. At the age of 14, Rounder Records signed her to her first record deal and she went on to release her debut solo album two years later. The accomplished bluegrass musician became a member of the Grand Ole Opry at age 21.
Since 1985, Krauss has released 14 albums including five solo, seven with her longtime band and musical collaborators Union Station, and the Robert Plant collaboration Raising Sand, which was certified platinum and won five Grammys, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. She’s sold more than 12 million records to date, and her honors include 27 Grammys, nine Country Music Association awards, 14 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards and two Gospel Music Association awards.
Windy City, her latest solo album, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and Top Bluegrass Albums charts and received two Grammy nominations. The album was produced by Buddy Cannon, whose vocal harmonies Krauss grew up listening to and were the soundtrack to her childhood. “Buddy sang harmonies on everything back then,” Krauss says. She also reveals of Cannon, “I don’t do something unless I feel like I’m called to do it. That’s what I felt like, so I honored it. It’s like the same feeling of when you know something is right musically, with a song or a batch of songs – the same feeling, but this was attached to a person instead of a batch of songs.”
Krauss frequently collaborates with artists from numerous genres, including Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Vince Gill, The Chieftains, James Taylor, The Cox Family, Yo-Yo Ma, Johnny Mathis, Cyndi Lauper, Heart, Bad Company and Phish. She has recorded and toured with Willie Nelson, whom she honored with a performance during the 2015 Gershwin Prize Tribute Concert. She will reunite with Nelson this summer on a co-headlining tour throughout North America. “Whiskey Lullaby,” a duet which she performed with Brad Paisley won two CMA Awards in 2004. She has also produced albums for Alan Jackson, Nickel Creek and The Cox Family. Some of these collaborators were also formative to Krauss and she lists influences including Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Dolly Parton, Larry Sparks, The Cox Family, and Ralph Stanley.
Krauss has contributed songs to numerous films, including “Down to the River to Pray” in the cult classic film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and “You Will Be My Ain True Love” and “The Scarlett Tide” in the film Cold Mountain. She has also provided the voice for several cartoon movie characters, including Bambi’s mother in Bambi II and Annabelle in Annabelle’s Wish, as well as the singing voice of Davey’s girlfriend in the Adam Sandler movie Eight Crazy Nights.
In 2013, she performed at the Kennedy Center’s “American Voices” festival that was created and hosted by Renee Fleming and also honored Dolly Parton and Paul Simon with performances during The Kennedy Center Honors. She has performed for three presidents—George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.