With Willie Nelson turning 88 this week, One by Willie celebrates with one of his biggest fans and most frequent duet partners, singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow, who will talk about what may be the single best-known song he ever wrote, “Crazy.” Like the rest of the world, Sheryl initially fell in love with Patsy Cline’s original, 1961 version of the song. But as a young country fan growing up in a family of musicians in the Missouri Bootheel during the seventies, her earliest musical memories are of hearing Willie on the radio. She credits “Crazy” and his other hits as a primary inspiration of her own storied career as a songwriter and recording artist.
On this episode, Sheryl talks about that rarest of songwriting accomplishments, the composition of a pop standard. She describes the differences she hears between Patsy and Willie’s versions of “Crazy,” but also about how great it feels when she hears her ten-year-old son singing it in the kitchen. And then she’ll get into her long friendship with Willie … and that time he tried to pass a backstage joint to her dad.
But this special episode is just one element of the Willie birthday festivities this week at Texas Monthly. Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. Central, One by Willie host John Spong will join DJ Dallas Wayne at Willie’s Roadhouse (SiriusXM channel 59) to talk about the podcast’s recently completed season two, as part of the Roadhouse’s star-studded, four-day weekend of Willie birthday programming. (The hour-long show will be rerun at 11 a.m. Central on Friday and 10 a.m. Central on Sunday.) Plus, Houston writer Michael Hardy has teamed up with his 90-year-old grandmother Carlene to pen a bit of advice to Willie on how to age gracefully. And, as always, our vast Willie archives are waiting to be perused. A good place to start is “All 144 Willie Albums, Ranked and Reviewed,” which was updated in February to include Willie’s newest album, the Frank Sinatra tribute That’s Life.