December Day: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1

2014 studio album by Willie Nelson

December Day: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1 is a collaboration album by American country music singer-songwriter Willie Nelson and his sister, Bobbie Nelson, released by Legacy Recordings on December 2, 2014. It was the first release of Willie’s Stash, a set of archival recordings curated by Nelson.[1] Recorded with his road band, the album includes a track featuring Nelson’s longtime bassist Bee Spears, deceased in 2011.[2]

Overview[edit]

The concept of the album was inspired by the jam performances on Nelson’s bus between tour dates. Nelson, who sang and played guitar was accompanied by Bobbie on a travel-size piano while on the road. Recorded at Pedernales Recordings studio, the album was produced by Buddy Cannon and engineered by Steve Chadie. The liner notes were written by Mickey Raphael.[1] The album includes two original songs newly written by Nelson, as well as new versions of old compositions.[1] With the addition of covers,[3] including Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “What’ll I Do”.[4]

Release and reception[edit]

Two singles of the album were released on November 21, 2014. “Laws of Nature” was premiered on Nelson’s Sirius XM channel Willie’s Roadhouse, while the single and video of “Who’ll Buy My Memories” was premiered on Rolling Stone Country.[11] The entire album was premiered on New York Times’ website series Press Play on November 24.[12] The video for “Laws of Nature” was premiered by Country Weekly on November 25.[13]

December Day was released on December 2, 2014, to generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 68, based on 8 reviews.[14] In a review for The New York Times, Nate Chinen said “from start to finish, the Nelsons’ empathetic rapport — clarified by the supple strength of a long-running band — feels both welcoming and true.”[15] Neal Spencer of The Observer applauded December Day and felt that Nelson’s “worn, almost conversational” vocals “remain arresting”, while his guitar playing is “idiosyncratic”.[10]Allmusic’s Mark Deming called Nelson and his sister’s interplay “gentle” and “intuitive”, remarking it as “one of the consistent pleasures of (Nelson’s) body of work.”[5] In Cuepoint, Robert Christgau was disappointed in what he felt was a lack of memorable tunes at first listen, but still viewed December Day as both a showcase for Nelson’s guitar playing and a “senescence album”. He praised the “Senile Dementia Suite” of songs that concludes with “Laws of Nature”, which he called “inescapably tuneful”.[8] Christgau named it the eleventh best album of 2014 in his year-end list for The Barnes & Noble Review[16]Mojo was less enthusiastic and said the record is “a pleasant, charm-filled release but no great addition to the Nelson canon”,[9] while The Boston Globe lamented the slower songs, finding them monotonous.[17]

Personnel[edit]

  • Willie Nelson – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Bobbie Nelson – piano, B-3 organ
  • Mickey Raphael – harmonica
  • Bee Spears – bass
  • Kevin Smith – bass
  • Billy English – drums, percussion
  • David Zettner – acoustic guitar

Track list[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c “Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie Team Up on December Day: Willie’s Stash Vol. 1, a New Collection of Studio Recordings, Coming December 2”. UBM plc. PR Newswire. October 22, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  2. ^ Doyle Patrick (September 2, 2014). “All Roads Lead to Willie Nelson: Rolling Stone’s Definitive Profile of the Country Icon”. Rolling Stone. Emmis Communications Inc. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  3. ^ Graff, Gary (June 12, 2014). “Willie Nelson In a Writing Mood: Releases Album of Originals, With Another Set for Fall”. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  4. ^ Bloom, Steve (June 23, 2014). “Willie Nelson: The CelebStoner Interview”. CelebStoner. CelebStoner.com. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Deming, Mark. “December Day – Willie Nelson”. Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  6. ^ Stegall, Tim (2015). “Review: Willie Nelson & Sister Bobbie”. The Austin Chronicle. No. January 23. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  7. ^ “WILLIE NELSON AND SISTER BOBBIE – December Day: Willie’s Stash Vol. 1”. Blurt. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (February 27, 2015). “Expert Witness”. Cuepoint. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Mojo. London (February): 95. 2015.
  10. ^ a b Spencer, Neal (November 30, 2014). “Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie: December Day review – a worthy indulgence”. The Observer. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  11. ^ Leahy, Andrew (November 21, 2014). “Watch Willie Nelson Duet With Sister Bobbie on ‘Who’ll Buy My Memories?’. Rolling Stone. Wenner Media, LLC. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  12. ^ Raney, Nicole (November 24, 2014). “Listen to Willie Nelson’s new album before its December release courtesy of The New York Times”. Culture Map Austin. CultureMap LLC. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  13. ^ “Video Premiere: Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie, “Laws of Nature”. Country Weekly. American Media, Inc. November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  14. ^ “Reviews for December Day by Willie Nelson”. Metacritic. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  15. ^ Chinen, Nate (2014). “A Saga of the Streets, a Sibling Act and Soul-Baring Gospel”. The New York Times. No. December 5. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 10, 2015). “Excuses, Excuses: The 2014 Dean’s List”. The Barnes & Noble Review. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  17. ^ Morse, Steve (December 2, 2014). “Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie, ‘December Day: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1’. Boston Globe. Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  18. ^ “Willie Nelson Chart History (Top Country Albums)”. Billboard.