With the release of his latest family collaboration, Willie Nelson and the Boys (Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2), just around the corner, Willie Nelson and his sons Lukas and Micah got together to record some acoustic versions of songs featured on the album. The first of those videos, “Can I Sleep in Your Arms,” provides a fascinating glimpse of the country legend reminiscing about the boys’ introduction to playing music.
“I knew one day y’all would probably sit down and start playing, and sure enough,” Willie says to his sons in the video, as they sit inside the Red Headed Stranger’s Pedernales Studio near Lake Travis, outside Austin, Texas. The pride is obvious for the 84-year-old, who’s been accompanied on the road this summer by his sons on the Outlaw Music Festival Tour.
“When I was young, you were gone a lot and I figured the one thing that would be able to bring us together was if I learned how to play real well, and then we could go out on the road together and I could be around you more,” says Lukas, who spent years playing as a member of his father’s Family Band. He’s experienced his own notoriety with his group, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, since the release of their self-titled LP last month.
The Pedernales Studio performance of “Can I Sleep in Your Arms,” written by Hank Cochran, is one of five acoustic cuts that will be released in conjunction with Willie Nelson and the Boys, each of which will be included on the album in different form. With the three men huddled around their mics, their harmonies have a warm, campfire closeness about them, and Lukas contributes a guitar solo worthy of his dad.
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Willie Nelson and the Boys, due to be released October 20th on Legacy Recordings, was mostly recorded in 2011 and produced by Willie’s longtime studio collaborator Buddy Cannon. The album – a follow-up to 2014’s December Days: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1, which featured Willie’s sister Bobbie – sees the Nelson trio tackling 12 country standards, seven of which were written by Hank Williams. [Listen to one of those Williams covers, “Mind Your Own Business,” below.]
Willie Nelson plays Harvey Can’t Mess with Texas: A Benefit Concert for Hurricane Harvey Relief at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, on Friday, September 22nd.