Norah Jones, a go-to Willie duet partner, first became a fan while growing up in Grapevine in the eighties, partly because “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” was her granddad’s favorite song and partly because that’s just what you do in Texas. But once she decided to chase her musical dreams in New York City in 1999, Willie started to matter even more to her. Homesick for Texas, she discovered his famous Pamper Demos through a CD collection called Crazy: The Demo Sessions, falling hard for the stripped-down recordings of his earliest compositions.
(Read a transcript of this episode below.)
On this week’s One By Willie, Norah focuses on one of those tracks, “Permanently Lonely.” And in a first for the show, she actually sits at a piano to illustrate the unexpected chords in the melody, referring to the song as a “beautiful puzzle”—before going on to describe the first time she ever got to sing with Willie; the restrained little bit of day drinking she did when she performed six of his songs for one of her weekly, COVID-pandemic livestream concerts; and the truly wonderful way she came to appear on our podcast. And a hint on that last item: like most great Willie stories, it’s all about family.
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One by Willie is produced and engineered by Brian Standefer, with production by Patrick Michels. The show is produced by Megan Creydt. Graphic design is by Emily Kimbro and Victoria Millner.
John Spong (voice-over): Hey there, I’m John Spong with Texas Monthly magazine, and this is One By Willie, a podcast in which I talk each week to one notable Willie Nelson fan about one Willie song that they really love. The show is brought to you by White Claw Hard Seltzer.
This week, we visit with one of Willie’s go-to duet partners, Norah Jones—a nine-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and jazz vocalist par excellence—about another of his old Pamper Demos, “Permanently Lonely.” It’s a song she calls both poetic and harsh, and in a first for the show, she actually plays a little piano to illustrate what’s so interesting to her about the way Willie put it together, referring to the song as a “beautiful puzzle.” She’ll also recall the way she leaned on Willie’s music when she first left Texas for New York City, the first time she ever got to sing with Willie, and the wonderfully weird way she came to appear on our show. And a hint as to that last thought: like all Willie stories, it’s about family. So let’s do it.
[Willie Nelson singing “Permanently Lonely”]
John Spong: What’s so cool about the Willie song “Permanently Lonely”?
Norah Jones: Oh, hey. I picked this song because it’s just one of my favorites. I mean, it’s a devastating song in so many ways, I feel like. And also so clever—it’s got his sense of humor in it. And it’s just, musically, one of the most interesting chord progressions. So, it’s got all those things.
John Spong: That’s every base, with a runner on it. That’s kind of great.
Norah Jones: Yeah, it covers a lot of cool things. You’re lucky with a song if you get one of those things, I feel like.
John Spong: [Laughs] Well then, let’s do. Let’s spin it.
Norah Jones: Do you have the Demo Sessions version?
John Spong: I do indeed.
Norah Jones: Okay. Yeah, that’s the one I know well. I didn’t realize it was on several albums, actually—different versions—but, makes sense.
John Spong: Well, it’s the magic of Willie. He goes back to the catalog, which, a long time ago, I thought was maybe what you do when you don’t have enough songs for the next record. I don’t feel that way about Willie anymore. He’s always got enough, but he likes to revisit stuff, and he makes it different each time.
Norah Jones: Yeah, I like that too. Well, songs are kind of alive like that, and they just—they change as you grow.
[Willie Nelson singing “Permanently Lonely”: “. . . That those who play with fire get burned / But I’ll be all right in a little while / But you’ll be permanently lonley.”]
Norah Jones: [Laughs] Harsh, man.
John Spong: Tell me about that. I’ve heard you say it’s harsh before—what’re you getting at?
Norah Jones: Super harsh. I mean, it’s so beautiful, and . . . it’s the most beautiful, poetic middle finger you’ll ever hear. You know what I mean? That’s what I love about it, is you can be mean, but to do it so crafted, in such a beautiful and—I don’t know. I think that song is just such a work of art. It says everything you need in the first verse, in a way. And then every verse is very poetic, and it’s just like, you get a real picture of who he’s talking about, and you hope you’re not it.
John Spong: [Laughs] And, I mean, in the second verse—“Don’t salve my heart with sympathy.” Salve is not a word that shows up in a lot of country songs, least of all in the early sixties.
Norah Jones: Totally. And it’s one of those words where if you’re trying to cover a song, it’s tricky to sing. So he works it in well.
John Spong: It’s a challenge for everybody that comes after, too. “Hope you’re up to the task.” And where do you hear the weird chord stuff? Because I can’t hear that. I’m not a musician.
Norah Jones: Well, it’s just cool. I mean, I know from trying to cover this song before that it took me a minute, and it was tricky, but it all sounds like a very beautiful puzzle that’s put together perfectly. You know, it’s like [Norah Jones playing piano], and then you go to the three, and then minor, and then you go to the four, and then it goes through the same pattern—major third . . . six minor. I don’t know. I just think it’s a really beautifully put together chord structure, personally.
John Spong: And that wonderful thing that I hadn’t paid attention to until I really was digging in for this—”running lonely” at the end comes from out of nowhere. And it almost makes you wonder about everything you just heard, because it’s such a crazy place to end it.
Norah Jones: Well, “running”—yeah, it almost seems like a little throwaway at the end. But it also wraps it up pretty great, I think. And it ends on an odd chord—it’s like not resolved or something at the end.
[Willie Nelson singing “Permanently Lonely”]
John Spong: That’s what I mean, yeah.
Norah Jones: Yeah, the person, maybe, has no resolve.
John Spong: Well, and the bridge too—which I should have even mentioned before—the bridge is kind of nuts, and the way he packs all those words in at the end.
Norah Jones: It is—and the chords there too. He goes the four [Norah Jones singing and playing], and then it changes the structure and then goes back. I don’t know. I just love it. “You know that the future is not very pretty for your kind”—that’s just so harsh. But it’s great. It’s so honest, really. It’s such a honest, biting eulogy to a relationship, you know? A toxic one, I guess.
Or maybe it’s about himself . . . you know what I mean? Like, you never know with songs. It could have been written about something completely opposite than what we think. That’s the beauty of a song like this. It’s like, seems so clear, but you never know, really. But . . . you know, he’s got all that Django Reinhardt influence in his guitar playing, and in the chords, and in the chord voicings he uses, even. Instead of, like—[Norah Jones playing piano]—instead of that, it’s like—[playing again]. I don’t know, he’s just got such cool ways of playing things.
[Willie Nelson singing “Permanently Lonely”]
John Spong: Well, how’d you find this song?
Norah Jones: I’ve always loved Willie since I was a little kid, but I didn’t really know . . . I didn’t go too deep until I was in my twenties. When I moved to New York, I missed Texas, and I got really deep into Willie. And I think it might have been around the time they repackaged the Demo Sessions, which, correct me if I’m wrong, did that used to be The IRS Tapes? I don’t know. I can’t remember. Is it separate?
John Spong: It’s separate. It’s separate. The IRS Tapes are these wonderful acoustic recordings of lesser known songs. And if I understand the story right, Willie was working on them when the IRS thing happened, and the IRS comes in and basically takes everything, but they didn’t get those tracks. So Willie puts them all together and releases them himself, with the idea that the sales would help pay off his IRS debt. And wonderfully, he sells them through late-night TV, through a 1-800 number. But yeah, that’s a different, later version than the one we just heard. And it’s cool, because when you talk about a song evolving, Willie’s guitar playing on this very simple home demo that we just listened to, from probably ’62 or ’63—because I think Timi Yuro had the first commercial release of this in ’64—
Norah Jones: Oh, I didn’t know that. See, I don’t know the history of this song, in that way.
John Spong: He did that, and then he put it out on an RCA record in ’68, and it’s beautiful. And then, when he does it for the IRS records, he’s got Trigger in his life, and his guitar playing—you can hear the Django so clearly in that, in a way you can’t in this demo.
Norah Jones: Yeah, so that’s different than this version. This is the demo version from the beginning?
John Spong: Yeah.
Norah Jones: Well, so I got into that Demo [Sessions] album, which is so beautiful and it’s so stark—it’s this song; it’s his original version of “Crazy.” It’s “Three Days.” It’s “I’ve Just Destroyed the World (I’m Living In)”—all those songs, but super stripped-down, with, like, just him and guitar and a little pedal steel in a couple spots. It’s so cool. I just love that. I’ve always loved that album. And yeah, his version of this is super simple, actually, listening to it just now. It’s been a while since I listened to it, but it’s really slow, and it’s really simple. And it’s really, really—even harsher, I feel like, that way. The delivery is way more deadly.
John Spong: Yeah. I read in a New York Times story about you, about how growing up, Red Headed Stranger was your favorite record, and you loved listening to it, but you wanted to play jazz, and so, you said, when you listened to Bill Evans, you transcribed the chords, but when you put Red Headed Stranger on, it was just to enjoy it. At some point, Willie becomes an artist that you regard like you do Bill Evans, it sounds like. It’s different.
Norah Jones: I guess. I mean, I don’t remember saying that, but that makes sense. I don’t think I wouldn’t have said that. But, I mean, I also listened to Bill Evans for enjoyment, plenty, back then. Well, Red Headed Stranger was my grandpa’s favorite album.
John Spong: Oh wow.
Norah Jones: And my grandparents lived in Oklahoma. And so I just remember hearing that growing up, and knowing—because he died when I was young, so my mom would always say “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” was his favorite song. So I just always kind of kept that in my memory.
But yeah, I guess, like I said, when I moved to New York, I started really yearning for Texas-isms. I missed Texas. And so I started listening to a ton of more country and a lot of Willie. I got into Townes Van Zandt for the first time . . . because I grew up—I mean, my mom had a great record collection, but I never listened to Townes until I moved to New York. I just didn’t know about him. So, you know, I had plenty of gaps to fill in, but yeah, Willie was running through the water. But, yeah, I really missed it. I missed it so much. And so I got obsessed with Willie, and I even—I started a band with some friends called the Little Willies. We actually covered this song on our second album. I didn’t sing lead—my friend Richard Julian did—but that’s when I remember really digging into the chords and being completely confused at first. But it’s weird. Now it all makes sense to me. It feels very—like a little bit of a chordal pattern, but then not always. Then you go to those weird ones every once in a while, but they make sense, because I think once you know a song so well, even if it’s weird—if it’s got weird chord choices, as it were, once you have it in your head, they make sense.
[Willie Nelson and Norah Jones singing “Permanently Lonely”]
John Spong: Yeah. How’d you get to know Willie?
Norah Jones: Well, my first record was about to come out on Blue Note Records, and someone at my label gave it to . . . oh, it was one of his guitar players at the time. It wasn’t Jody . . . this was in like, 2001, and someone knew someone, and they gave the demo to Mark, his manager, and all of a sudden I had four opening dates for Willie at the Fillmore in San Francisco, which is such a cool place. And my record hadn’t come out yet. It was about to come out—my first record. And I remember doing those gigs with a trio. It was just me on Wurlitzer, and bass and guitar. I don’t think we even had drums—or maybe we did. I don’t know. Obviously, my brain is not working today. But I remember I hadn’t met him yet. And then on the third or fourth night, Mickey Raphael, who had been super kind to us and [whom] we got to know a little bit that week, he said, “Oh yeah, Willie said you should sit in tonight.”
I was like, “What? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I haven’t met him yet. My gosh.” Like, that sounded weird to me. I was like, “Is there a sound check?” “Nope, nope, nope, no rehearsal, just come on up. Is there a song you want to do that’s in the set?” And I don’t know if they picked it or I picked it, but I knew the Kristofferson song “Help Me Make It Through the Night” real well. And so that became the song I was going to come out on. And I’ll never forget going out there, being like, is there a security guard that’s going to tackle me? Is he going to announce me? Am I supposed to just walk out there like a crazy person? Like, what’s supposed to happen? And then he announced me—“Please welcome . . . Norah Jones!” And I’m like, “Oh my God, Willie just said my name.”
So I went out and I stood there, and he’s definitely one of the funner people to sing with. Even though I know he has crazy phrasing, and people think it’s hard to sing with him, when he’s singing harmonies with someone or having someone sing with him, he’s very giving. He’s very easy to follow. He’s trying to follow you as well.
John Spong: Wow.
Norah Jones: But, you know, he took the first verse, and he just kind of nodded at me and stood back from the mic, and I took the second verse, and then we did harmonies on the . . . I mean, it just all kind of fell in line.
John Spong: Oh man.
Norah Jones: And then I didn’t meet him again. I still hadn’t met him. And so after the show, we stood in line—because he always had a line up the block, at the tour bus, to sign for people, and he would sign every autograph—and we waited at the back of the line, after a few drinks, and we just said good night to him. He was so nice. And then I got an invite about six months later to play his seventy—I want to say seventieth birthday.
John Spong: Oh wow. Right. Yeah.
Norah Jones: It was taped at the Ryman. And again, I wasn’t hanging out with him. I barely met him at that Fillmore gig, and then at the Ryman, they chose the song “Lonestar” from my album, of course, because it has a Texas title, basically. And he was super sweet. And then from there, I’ve sang on a couple of his albums after that and performed at a couple other Willie specials, you know what I mean? He’s always got . . . And got to know him over the years, in that way. But yeah, he’s a special one. And it’s been my thrill to have gotten to sing with him and play with him and hang with him.
John Spong: The humble note in there is the thing you left out—when Mickey Raphael told me about the Fillmore gigs last week, he said—
Norah Jones: He did? Oh, cool.
John Spong: He and Rothbaum both said, “You have to ask her about that.” But what Mickey added, that you left out, was then your album came out the next week, and in subsequent weeks they were essentially going to be opening for you going forward.
Norah Jones: [Laughs] Well, that’s not how I thought about it. In fact, my mom tells a funny story—because I got those four dates at the Fillmore, and my mom flew from Texas with five of her friends and was like, “Well, this is going to be the biggest thing she ever does, so we better go.” And they did. And, I mean, we just had so much fun—also because it was four nights. So it was like we just hung out, and it was super fun. And I got a real sense of Willie’s band. I got to hang with Bobbie a little bit and just worshipped her. I worshipped her. I mean, I really think so much of my piano-playing influence comes from Bobbie. People always say that the country thing in my piano playing is from Floyd Cramer, but I really—it was from listening to Willie and hearing Bobbie play. And so, yeah, everybody was so sweet. They were all just like the nicest crew, and even the techs and everything. Over the years, just seeing that whole Family Band and the crew and everything has been—it just feels good, like family.
John Spong: And so much of it is actual family members, but then the people that they bring in become family, and it’s a really good way to organize your life, no matter what you do. They’re just good people.
Norah Jones: Yeah. Or it can go to s— real quickly. [Laughs] Depends. But yeah, it feels good.
[Willie Nelson and Norah Jones singing “Lonestar”]
John Spong: When you hang with them, do you play poker out in Maui?
Norah Jones: I wish. I mean, I’ve always been weird. I still get nervous around Willie, even though he has done everything to make me comfortable and is super kind. But—I don’t know. I still get nervous. My old boyfriend from back in the day, we went on his bus once, and he got really stoned. And so I never smoked Willie’s weed, ever, because I saw what it did to somebody. But I’ve hung on the bus a bit, and we’ve gone to dinner and stuff, but I would love to go visit him in Maui. That would be really fun.
John Spong: Do you have a favorite of your collaborations with Willie?
Norah Jones: I mean, probably that night onstage in the Fillmore, but I don’t have a recording of it.
John Spong: Can I spin like twenty seconds of one of y’all’s duets?
Norah Jones: Sure. I mean, I’m trying to even remember them all—I feel like I can’t even remember. There’s several.
John Spong: Well, my favorite is probably “The Wurlitzer Prize” version y’all did at one of those birthday parties, or it’s on a live album.
Norah Jones: Oh, we did. I forgot we did that. Because I got asked to sing on a Waylon tribute shortly after he died. And then I forgot that I did that with Willie. Yeah. That’s one . . . I got to find it all. My brain is not firing right now. What else you got?
John Spong: So when Willie did that great duets album with all-female vocalists, To All the Girls . . ., and you all did “Walkin’,” off of Phases and Stages—
Norah Jones: Oh yeah, yeah. I love that one. That’s the one I was trying to think of. That’s one of my favorite songs. That’s another album of his that is just insane, that I didn’t even discover till I was thirty.
John Spong: Oh, wow. I didn’t eat broccoli until I was forty. It’s a great thing to be “new” when you’re an adult, right?
Norah Jones: Yeah.
John Spong: But check one thing in here.
[Intro to “Walkin’ ” starts]
Norah Jones: Woo. I love that pedal steel.
[Willie Nelson and Norah Jones singing “Walkin”]
Norah Jones: [Laughs] Boy, I really . . . Doing my best Willie there. That’s just another song that is devastating. Yeah. It’s amazing.
John Spong: Well, so, my question—and this is the kind of question only an overthinking, nonmusician would ask—when you come in on that second verse, you go down on the word “guilty.” And Willie—every time I’ve heard that, Willie goes up. As a vocalist, how do you make that decision? Is it just a choice . . . is it just feel, or are you . . .
Norah Jones: It’s sort of just feel. I mean, I think listening to this, I can tell it’s a little high in my range, first of all. And I think I was probably just trying to sell the lyric, because the lyric is so deep, and there’s something about singing—just because you can doesn’t mean you always should. You need to just sell the lyric. And if that means singing all fancy, cool. But it doesn’t always. I don’t know. But mostly, I think probably it was just a little high for me.
It’s funny, because I remember when he asked me to do that record, they asked if I had any ideas of Willie tunes that I would like to do. And I had just discovered that album. So I hadn’t lived in that album so long, but that song just hits you. It’s a lot like “Permanently Lonely.” Everything is said in the first verse—”After carefully considering the whole situation / I lie with my back to the wall.” Because, what is it? “Walking is better than running away / And crawling ain’t no good at all.” I mean, what do you need to say? That is right in the heart of it, so . . .
John Spong: Right—but wow. I mean, you had just discovered that record? I would have thought you have to have known a record for a long time before you can make choices like that.
Norah Jones: I think what you said makes a lot of sense, living in that space, but for me, I also think it’s more about owning it. You own the song that you’re singing. You might not have written it, but you sing it like you did. You might not have lived that story, but you have to kind of own it to deliver it, I think. And I don’t necessarily think you need to have known it forever to do that. I think it just has to hit you right, and you have to be able to tell your own story of that song, instead of trying to copy maybe, you know, the original or whatever. But that’s what I think.
John Spong: That’s like a summation of half of Willie’s career. You know, the non-composing side, or the recording of songs . . .
Norah Jones: Yeah, I mean—“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” I guess he didn’t write that song. I didn’t know that when I was growing up.
John Spong: Exactly.
Norah Jones: But he sure did own it. That’s the only version I know.
John Spong: [Laughs] Yep, that works. Well, so with it, then, there’s the at-home concert you did at the start of the pandemic that came out for Willie’s birthday. I wept like a baby when I watched that.
Norah Jones: Aww.
John Spong: Your affection and appreciation for Willie could not have been more plain and obvious in listening to that.
Norah Jones: Thanks. It was fun. It was so funny, because I did a little weekly thing every week that year, during the whole lockdown period—for like eight months I did one. And I did four songs each time. And a lot of my songs, I had to print out lyrics and remember them. For that Willie performance—it was like four or five songs—I didn’t need any lyrics or chord changes or anything, because I knew it like the back of my hand. I knew those songs so well. I was pretty struck by that myself, like how well I knew those songs. It was definitely the most fun one I did. And I also got a little drunk that day, because I would do it midafternoon, so it’s more of a bar vibe doing Willie tunes. So I had to try to day drink a little, so . . .
John Spong: Well, that’s the thing, if you didn’t need the lyrics . . .
Norah Jones: I told my husband, I was like, “Can you just let me do this? And I’m just going to be a little drunk when I finish.” [Laughs] Because otherwise I couldn’t loosen up for that one. But anyway, I didn’t do that for all of them—just the Willie one.
John Spong: Well, and you mix it up too, because . . . and it is—it’s “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “I Gotta Get Drunk,” “Permanently Lonely,” “Remember Me,” “Crazy,” “Night Life,” “Hands on the Wheel.” And I may have this wrong too, but with “Funny How Time Slips Away,” as you do it, there’s elements of stride piano, almost, in the way you played it.
Norah Jones: Well yeah, that feel always is my go-to with piano.
[Norah Jones singing “Funny How Time Slips Away” and playing piano]
John Spong: Well, another New York Times quote, which may or may not ring a bell—journalists cannot be trusted; I can be straight about that—but you did a nice tribute to Marian McPartland after she died. And in one point you were talking about how cool it was that she, as this legendary jazz pianist, at the age of sixty, starts this NPR show that she went on to do for like thirty or thirty-five years. And you said, “I think that music can keep you young, if you never stop using your mind in that way.” It seemed to apply to her. It certainly seems to be true of Willie. Have you seen that? I mean, how does that work? What are you talking about? And is that right with Willie?
Norah Jones: Oh yeah. I think it’s right with most people who are able to still perform, or at least record, and use their minds. I mean, I know many examples, my dad being one. I mean, I think people who stop doing what they love . . . I mean, it’s different. We’re musicians, so “retirement” is a weird term for us.
John Spong: Right.
Norah Jones: I mean, retiring from touring, sure. Yeah, it gets a little hard to tour when you’re older, or if you’re just not into it. But I think playing for people, in whatever capacity, even if it’s recording or doing small gigs, I think it’s important, because this is what we love, so it would be hard to stop. And I think it does keep you young.
John Spong: A few years ago, I did a story on Guy Clark and got to know him pretty well. And it was pretty close to the end for him. And it had been a hard life. He hadn’t taken very good care of himself. And so, I mean, he could barely even get around. But his mind . . . he had the mind of a twenty-year-old. All he wanted to do was learn more, write more, learn things that he could put into songs he was working on . . . It was really, really striking, the timeless thing that was going on inside of him. Because he just wanted to keep creating. And that’s the thing with Willie—any record comes out, he’s already on to the next one.
Norah Jones: Yeah. I mean, he’s always thinking about music, I think, probably.
John Spong: Yeah.
Norah Jones: And you can just see the joy in his face when he’s playing music with other people, too. I mean, that’s like his happy place.
John Spong: Yeah.
Norah Jones: Whether it’s his family, or guests, or his sons. I mean, it’s great. I mean, I hope I’m that way, someday.
John Spong: Do you play Willie for your kids?
Norah Jones: Oh yeah, of course. Actually, my six-year-old, when she was maybe like six months old, her first Halloween costume was Willie. It was super thrown together, because I just happened to have this random headband with braids on it, that I think it was supposed to be a really bad Willie Nelson costume in a bag. And somehow I had that laying around. I’m not sure why. And so I just put it on her little bald head, and I had a little T-shirt with Willie on it that somebody had given me for her. And I made a little Trigger out of cardboard, and I even put like a little joint in the headstock, and I drew a beard on her, and she’s like eight months old, chubby. Yeah, fat baby. It’s probably the cutest thing ever. So yeah, I mean, they know who Willie is from that. But also, yes, we play Willie in the house, of course. I sent it, actually. I sent the picture to him and his wife, and she cracked up.
John Spong: I giggle too much in these shows, but that’s the first time I’ve snorted.
Norah Jones: Yeah, well, I should show you the picture.
John Spong: Oh! I won’t show a soul. I won’t show a soul, but you have to.
Norah Jones: Yeah. It’s very great.
John Spong: But, well then, on the subject of family, can you speak for just a moment about how you came to do this interview?
Norah Jones: Oh, my mom? My mom harassed me. She’s like, “How come you haven’t done one of these?” She was harassing me. She was mad. She’s like, “Well, they said they reached out; nobody got back to them.” I was like, “Okay, we’ll do it. I don’t remember. I was probably in the middle of something, and I couldn’t fit it in. Don’t be mad.”
John Spong: People got back to me. There was no silence on the other end. You guys have been nothing but gracious the whole time.
Norah Jones: Okay, I figured. I’m so glad we got to do it.
John Spong: Oh, I’m thrilled. I’m so grateful. Well, I kind of want to see if I can get your mom to call Wynton Marsalis for me, but we can hold off on that.
Norah Jones: Oh yeah, anyone else you need on the podcast, you just put my mom on the case.
[Willie Nelson singing “Permanently Lonely”]
John Spong (voice-over): All right, Willie fans. That was the fabulous Norah Jones, telling us all about “Permanently Lonely.” A huge thanks to her for coming on the show, a big thanks to our sponsor, White Claw Hard Seltzer, and a big thanks to you for tuning in. If you dig the show, please subscribe, maybe tell a couple friends, and visit our page at Apple Podcasts and give us some stars. And please also check out our One By Willie playlist over at Apple Music. And be sure to tune back in next week to hear Ethan Hawke—a four-time Oscar-nominated actor, writer, and bona fide Renaissance man—talking about one of Willie’s quietest, most ruminative compositions, “Too Sick to Pray.” . . . We will see y’all next week.