Digitally remastered CD/DVD edition including bonus tracks and DVD. Location is everything. When Willie Nelson and album producer Daniel Lanois set out to create a cinematic-sounding album, Teatro, they took over a disused movie theatre in Oxnard, California, and pictured it's dusty glory on the cover art. Recorded as-live in situ amid the red velvet seats, Teatro sees Nelson working extensively with his frequent collaborator Emmylou Harris, who joins him for duets and on backing vocals. The other major player is Daniel Lanois, who produces the album, plays guitar and bass, took the cover photo and wrote one of the album's songs, "The Maker", a stunning performance with glacier-thick vibe. Reinvention is key on Teatro, with Nelson revisiting a number of songs he first wrote in the 1960s, including 1968's "I Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye" and 1962's "I've Just Destroyed the World" and "Three Days". Though the songs are familiar, the sounds aren't: Teatro found Nelson experimenting with rhythms and flavors as never before, from the Spanish-influenced "Darkness On The Face Of The Earth" to the double-drum-kit percussive groove of "My Own Peculiar Way". Originally released by Island Record in 1998, Teatro is issued here for the first time as a double disc set, including the original album plus 7 unreleased bonus tracks from the sessions. Disc two is a complete live performance of the album, directed by Wim Wenders, filmed during the album recording sessions and available here for the first time on DVD
The Lone Star-bred collective, The Texas Gentlemen, takes its cues from some of the iconic acts of the past — the quicksilver brilliance of The Wrecking Crew and Bob Dylan’s one-time backers The Band are the most obvious examples. Founding member, Beau Bedford, who shares chief engineering and production responsibilities at Dallas’ Modern Electric Sound Recorders, assembled The Texas Gentlemen as an all-purpose backing band for an eclectic array of singer-songwriters, including Leon Bridges, Nikki Lane, Jonathan Tyler and Paul Cauthen. That deft fusion of what came before with what is right now develops through the members’ unswerving dedication to simply play to the best of their abilities, trusting their instincts, and letting the music guide them. Case in point: TX Jelly was created in less than a week — four days, start to finish — at Muscle Shoals’ singular FAME Studios. Pared down from the 28 songs the Gentlemen recorded in that 96-hour span, TX Jelly effortlessly connects way back to what’s next, summoning the spirits of American songcraft even as it heralds the arrival of 21st century talent. Cut live, with little use for the blinding polish and careful presentation of so much modern music, TX Jelly oozes with skill backed up by that hard-won authenticity. TX Jelly moves between contemplative and raucous, encompassing the full breadth of the American experience. The music touches on blues, soul, folk, country, rock and gospel — from first track to last, you can feel The Texas Gentlemen reaching deep inside themselves and finding what’s genuine — what illuminates the truth of the country’s rich, complicated and singular artistic history — and delivering it the only way they know how: real, raw and righteous.
Whether or not you subscribe to the adage that the devil always has the best music, you can take it on faith that anytime he pops up from a cameo in a Ray Wylie Hubbard song, the results are gonna be pretty damned entertaining. And as any fan of the Hubbard cannon knows, Old Scratch pops up in his songs a lot nearly as often as all of Hubbard's wise-cracking black birds, lyrical and musical nods to Lightnin' Hopkins, bad-ass women (usually Hubbard's own wife, Judy), and a myriad of other grifters, ruffians, and scrappy cats of the gnarly and general lowdown variety. Somewhere or another on just about every Ray Wylie Hubbard album, the devil gets his due and he's now even worked his way up to the top billing on his acclaimed songwriter's latest, Tell the Devil I'm Gettin' There as Fast as I Can.