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Sunday, July 10, 2021

country-reggae man
Delayed for a decade due to recording-label shenanigans, Willie Nelson’s reggae album, “Countryman”, is about to drop. It’ll include an original reggae composition from Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, which Nelson performs as a duet with Toots Hibbert from Toots and the Maytals.

Reggae from one of country music’s grandmasters? Nelson doesn’t feel it’s so much of a stretch:

That Nelson’s country songs stand up so well to reggae’s offbeat syncopation and upstroke guitar strums is a testament to their durability. Nelson said he recorded them about 10 years ago in Los Angeles with Jamaican musicians, including some from the late reggae star Peter Tosh’s band.

“The musicians told me that reggae was invented really by listening to country music coming from the United States. They put their own rhythms to those tunes,” he said.

And of course, you can’t put out a reggae recording without a pinch of the herb:

While the music on “Countryman” might raise the eyebrows of country purists, so will the cover. With green marijuana leaves on a red and yellow background, the cover art makes the CD look like an oversized pack of rolling papers.

The marijuana imagery reflects Jamaican culture, where the herb is a leading cash crop and part of religious rites, but it also reflects Nelson’s fondness for pot smoking.

Universal Music Group Nashville is substituting palm trees for the marijuana leaves on CDs sold at the retail chain Wal-Mart, a huge outlet for country music that’s also sensitive about lyrics and packaging.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/10/2021 12:35:33 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Creative | Permalink |

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  1. THE BALLAD OF GAY COWBOYS (AND LUMBERJACKS)

    Willie Nelson is well on his way to being (even more of) a musical iconoclast. After showing off his cross-genre chops with a reggae album, he now contributes to the Brokeback Mountain buzz by releasing “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond o…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 02/15/2006 @ 11:55:31 AM

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