Willie Nelson Leads Country Star Mash-Ups


Willie Nelson photo by David McClister, courtesy of Lost Highway.

June 9, 2009 — Willie Nelson has sung a duet with, it seems, nearly every singer on the planet, but one of his strangest collaborations has finally seen the light of day.

Willie got lots of ink in 2007 when he wandered into a bar on Nashville’s Lower Broadway to film a live performance shot with Mariah Carey for a movie called Tennessee. The independent film is finally in theaters on a limited basis, and the song they wrote together, "Right To Dream," has a significant role. We haven’t seen it yet, but Willie’s scene likely got canned. No reviews of the movie have mentioned him appearing on screen, and his publicist believes the producers chose not use him. Nevertheless, Mariah does sing the song they wrote together.

How did laidback Willie end up working with Mariah the diva?

"I was humming different melodies while I was on the set," Mariah told The Los Angeles Times. "I was just thinking that Willie Nelson would be somebody fabulous to collaborate with. I reached out to him, and we met after one of his concerts, and he did some guitar for me."

Mariah went to the show with her mom, who’s apparently a big fan of Willie, and she ended up talking with the Country Music Hall of Famer "about writing and the style of the record I was going for. It’s so heavily guitar-driven, and I was just thinking his sound would enhance the record."

According to AOL’s BlackVoices, Mariah adds an a cappella version of Kris Kristofferson’s "Help Me Make It Through The Night" to the movie.

Other country-related collaborations of note:

• Bobby Bare and Mel Tillis are paired up as teammates in the second annual Porter Wagoner Memorial Artists & Anglers Fishing Tournament. Mel wrote Bobby’s biggest hit, "Detroit City," making their boat excursion all the more appropriate. The event, slated for Thursday in Nashville, also attracted Rodney Atkins, ex-Alabama guitarist Jeff Cook, Bryan White, Daryle Singletary, Carter’s Chord, fiddler Hoot Hester, several members of Emerson Drive and Union Station bass player Barry Bales.

• Rascal Flatts’ new tour ended on its first night with opening act Darius Rucker back out on stage during the encore, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He joined the headliners on "Life Is A Highway" and the Hootie + The Blowfish hit "Hold My Hand."

• Brad Paisley’s new tour features its own half-live collaboration. As he did in his previous Bonfires & Amplifiers dates, Brad infused Friday’s tour kick-off with a duet on "Whiskey Lullaby" featuring a video performance by Alison Krauss, according to The Charlotte Observer.

• Brady Seals is set to release a new album, Play Time, Aug. 18. It includes appearances by pop star Richard Marx and drummer Stan Lynch, of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

• Bucky Covington and John Michael Montgomery hooked up for an improbable series of duets during the second annual Golf & Guitars benefit last month at Haggin Oaks golf course in Sacramento. They covered Elvis Presley and performed each other’s hits, according to FanBolt.com. And when John Michael forgot the words to his own "Be My Baby Tonight," the audience sang the tongue-twister for him.