Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin

Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin

Willie tackled Gershwin as early as 1978’s Stardust, but here he dedicates an entire album to Ira and George’s gems. Bluesier tunes like the slinky “It Ain’t Necessarily So” lend themselves naturally to Nelson’s spare, earthy treatment, but he’s just as adept at interpreting romantic ballads such as “Embraceable You,” where he’s joined by Sheryl Crow. The key is Nelson’s knack for distinctly jazzy, behind-the-beat phrasing; he has employed it throughout his career, but on standards like these it’s an especially effective element of his style.

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