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Willie Nelson Releasing Album Of Harlan Howard Songs

Legacy Recordings will release “I Don’t Know A Thing About Love,” the new studio album from Willie Nelson, on Friday, March 3.

Vinyl Me, Please (VMP) will be offering an exclusive 12″ vinyl edition of “I Don’t Know A Thing About Love” later this year.

For his new album, Willie Nelson and band recorded fresh interpretations of 10 classic compositions penned by the legendary American songwriter Harlan Howard, an early musical contemporary of Willie’s who famously defined a great country song as “three chords and the truth.”

In a career spanning six decades, Howard wrote many popular songs and enduring standards for a variety of artists. In 1961 alone, he had 15 compositions on the country charts, which earned him 10 BMI awards. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and, in 1997, was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Harlan Howard died in Nashville in 2002, at age 74, and was buried in Nashville City Cemetery.

With the release of I Don’t Know A Thing About Love, Willie Nelson brings his own perspective to the abiding musical legacy of Harlan Howard with sublime studio performances of 10 Howard compositions including the album’s first single, “Busted,” being released online today. Written in 1962, “Busted” is the saga of a dirt-poor farmer bemoaning his overdue bills, crop failures, and other financial woes while maintaining a sense of hope for the future. The up-beat and catchy melody of “Busted” ironically underscored some potentially bleak content making the song a hit in 1963: first for Johnny Cash with the Carter Family on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart (#13) and then, memorably, a Top 10 smash for Ray Charles on the Billboard Hot 100 (#4). Ray Charles and Willie Nelson recorded a live version of “Busted” on Ray’s 2005 duets album, Genius & Friends. John Conlee hit #6 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart with his cover of “Busted” in 1982. Listen to Willie’s version above.

2023 promises to be a banner year for Willie Nelson, who turns 90 years old on April 29. “Wille Nelson & Family,” a new five-part film documentary series directed by Thom Zimny and Oren Moverman, is premiering later this week at Sundance Film Festival 2023, January 19-29.

In addition, Willie Nelson is currently nominated for four Grammy Awards from three separate projects: Best Country Solo Performance (“Live Forever”) (from Live Forever: A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver); Best Country Song (“I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die”) (songwriting award, from A Beautiful Time); Best Country Album (A Beautiful Time) and Best Roots Gospel Album (The Willie Nelson Family).

Featuring cover art by Micah Nelson (Willie’s son), I Don’t Know A Thing About Love was produced by longtime musical collaborator Buddy Cannon and debuts 10 studio performances. The band on the album includes Willie Nelson (Trigger, lead vocals), Larry Paxton (bass, tic tac bass), Lonnie Wilson (drums), Bobby Terry (acoustic guitar, electric guitar), James Mitchell (electric guitar), Mike Johnson (steel guitar), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), Jim “Moose” Brown (piano, synthesizer, B3 organ, Wurlitzer), Wyatt Beard (background vocals), and Melonie Cannon (background vocals).

“I Don’t Know A Thing About Love” Song List
1. Tiger By The Tail
2. The Chokin’ Kind
3. Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got A Heartache)
4. Life Turned Her That Way
5. I Don’t Know A Thing About Love
6. Streets Of Baltimore
7. Busted
8. She Called Me Baby
9. Too Many Rivers
10. Beautiful Annabel Lee

About Jerry Holthouse

Music editor for Nashville.com. Jerry Holthouse is a content writer, songwriter and a graphic designer. He owns and runs Holthouse Creative, a full service creative agency. He is an avid outdoorsman and a lover of everything music. You can contact him at JerryHolthouse@Nashville.com

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