Willie Nelson has more country tunes in the works

Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:43pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Billboard) - Willie Nelson's "Country Music" album just arrived, but he's planning more country music in the very near future.

Nelson has been in the studio with producer James Stroud, working on songs that he says "take up where the 'Country Music' album" -- an acoustic set produced by T Bone Burnett -- "left off, and then it went into the different sounds of drums and arrangements and more blending rock and country together. I think it's a natural evolution."

Nelson says Stroud brought in "all those great musicians in Nashville, the guitar players and pickers," tracking tunes that included the Tex Williams novelty "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" and Webb Pierce's "More and More."

Nelson expects the album to come out in late summer or fall.

That's not the only new music Nelson is working on. He reports that he's been in the studio with his sister Bobbie Nelson on piano, harmonica player Mickey Raphael and other members of his band "putting together another 'Stardust'-type album" of standards, possibly based on Irving Berlin's 1923 song "What'll I Do."

"It'll maybe be another group of songs from that era -- 'I'll Be Loving You Always,' stuff like that," says Nelson, who's also working on original material. "There's so many great songs out there, you never really run out of them. As long as you're enjoying it and people are accepting it, what else could you ask for?"

<p>Willie Nelson performs on stage at the 20th Autry National Center gala at the Gene Autry Western Heritage museum in Los Angeles September 29, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>