February 03, 2021
Outsiders Radio Episode #71
AIR DATE: January 2021
SHOW THEME: New Album/Willie tribute
ERIC: Hey everybody, it’s Eric Church back for the seventy-first episode of “Outsiders Radio.” If you haven’t heard by now, we just announced some big news to start off the new year. It’s an announcement I’ve been waiting a long time to make: I will have THREE ALBUMS coming out in April. We’ll preview some new songs throughout the show…starting with THIS one.
That is the first song on the first of three new albums that I’ll have comin’ out in April. Album 1 is titled “Heart,” and will be released on April 16th. The album features 9 songs including “Stick That In Your Country Song,” “Crazyland,” and the song you just heard: Heart On Fire. These three albums came out of my 28 days in the mountains of North Carolina. We’ll preview the other two albums later in the show.
You’re listening to Outsiders Radio on The Highway, and I’m Eric Church. We began the show with the announcement that I’ll be releasing three albums in April. The first is called Heart, available April 16th, the THIRD is called Soul, and it’ll be released on April 23rd. We’ll tell you about the second one later. But the Soul album is where you’ll find the current single “Hell Of a View,” and it ENDS with THIS song.
That is the last song on the third album we’ll release in April. I’m Eric Church, the first album is called Heart, the third album is called Soul, and there’s another album that will be released between those two. It’s a very special album, and we’ll tell you about it later in the show.
Two years ago this month, I was part of a special tribute show to Willie Nelson. It was called “Willie Nelson: Songs & Life of An American Outlaw.” The occasion was Willie’s 85th birthday. It was an all-star night, with Kris Kristofferson, George Strait, Vince Gill, and many more taking part. Last month, the DVD and CD of that incredible night was released.
I was honored to be a part of that show, and I chose Willie’s song “Me & Paul.” The “Paul” in the song is Paul English, who started playing drums with Willie in the 1950s. Willie wrote this song in the early 80s, and it tells the story of his career to that point. There are a lot of hard times on the road to success, and Willie’s drummer Paul certainly saw it all.
From the all-star tribute to Willie Nelson, that’s my rendition of “Me & Paul.” Sadly, the “Paul” in that song, Paul English, was one of the legendary musicians we lost in 2020. The Willie tribute was filmed in Nashville two years ago. The CD & DVD of that night was just released last month. One of the performers that night was Texas troubadour Lyle Lovett.
Lyle: It’s just fun to be here, the band is incredible, to walk up there and be supported by world class musicians is fun. To be around all of these performers, Willie Nelson brings people together in a way nobody else can. To be, just to stand backstage and watch people walk up and down the hallway is incredible.
Lyle Lovett & Ray Benson doing “Boxcar Willie” at the 2019 tribute to Willie Nelson. Ray Benson leads the legendary Texas Swing band Asleep At the Wheel, and has been friends with Willie for over 40 years. Ray did a couple songs that night: The one we just heard with Lyle, and another with the Avett Brothers called Willie Got There First.
Ray: We were a piece of cake, band is fantastic, me and the Avetts, we’re self contained, then me & Lyle doing Shotgun Willie. It was a piece of cake, great musicians, me & Lyle and me and the Avetts, you heard it here first!
We’ve all had that realization…we thought we had an original idea for a song, only to find out later that Willie Nelson already wrote one just like it. That’s Asleep At The Wheel, joined by the Avett Brothers on a song that was written by Seth Avett. It’s on Asleep At the Wheel’s latest album, New Routes. The group’s Ray Benson was backstage at the Nashville tribute show for Willie Nelson. He was saying he still plays golf with Willie as often as he can, but tries to avoid playing poker.
Ray: Yeah well the last game didn’t turn out so good. On the 30th of December I played guitar for him. We had played poker, I had 4 aces, he had a straight flush, it was $1400, I only had a thousand, so I owed him 400, so I said, can I play guitar for you? Yeah. Can I pay off that bill? He goes yeah, that’s $200 of it. (laughs)
That’s Jack Johnson doing a song based on a true story: Willie Got Me Stoned And Stole All of My Money. A live version of that song is included on “Willie Nelson: American Outlaw,” available now. We’re spotlighting that new CD & DVD on Outsiders Radio.
Before we leave the Willie tribute, also there that night were a couple of good friends: Susan Tedeschi & her husband Derek Trucks. They both have performed at Willie’s Farm Aid shows over the years. In fact Susan first met Willie in 1993 at the Farm Aid show in Virginia.
Susan: My first year I did it, I was out with Mellencamp and he introduced me to Willie, Willie was so sweet, he had Steve Earle introduce me, which was amazing. Of course I have funny stories about getting on the bus and not coming off the same, and sittin’ in, and all these cool things (Derek) I made the mistake of going on the Willie bus too, not realizing I was going to sit in with Mellencamp and Willie, what are you gonna do. It’s an amazing hang if you can hang with Willie.
Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks got to do several songs in the Willie tribute.
Susan: We’re doing City of New Orleans, and Derek is actually playing on a song with Willie & Chris Stapleton, Always On My Mind. (Derek) It’s gonna be a fun night, lotta people I’m gonna be out front watching. Vince Gill, Emmy Lou, Kris Kristofferson, lot of amazing people here tonight.
The legend himself Willie Nelson with Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks on City of New Orleans. That’s from the new CD & DVD “Willie Nelson: American Outlaw,” available now. I’m Eric Church, and I’m ALSO on that album and DVD. One of the highlights for me was when I joined Willie & Kris Kristofferson for this song written by Kris.
It doesn’t get any better than that. Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and me on one of Kris’s biggest hits: Me & Bobby McGee. That’s from the new DVD & CD “Willie Nelson: American Outlaw,” available now.
I’m Eric Church, and we started this edition of Outsiders Radio with the news that I’ll be releasing three new albums this April. The first one is called “Heart,” out on April 16, the third one is “Soul,” available on April 23rd. In between those two will be a special album we call “&.” It will be available on white vinyl for Church Choir members only on April 20. The three albums together will be “Heart” “&” “Soul,” with a total of 24 songs. The middle album has a couple songs you’ve already heard: “Through My Ray Bans” and “Doin’ Life With Me.” We’ll reveal more news about the album in the coming months. As we close out this edition of Outsiders Radio, look for me next week singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in Tampa with R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan. Here’s one of HER biggest hits. See you all next time on Outsiders Radio.