The Vinyl Review: Willie and Merle

Willie Nelson performs at the 30th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Mountain View, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Someone once told me they thought Willie Nelson’s voice sounded like an instrument. 

That didn’t seem like a major breakthrough, as a voice is often considered an instrument. But upon closer listen to Nelson — and fellow country crooner Merle Haggard — I am beginning to see what my friend meant by the comment. 

If you listen to these voices, there is a quality about them that brings to mind a guitar or some other instrument being played. This is entirely different from how Peter Frampton made his guitar “talk.” 

It’s hard to describe with words. I recommend picking up a copy of Nelson or Haggard’s work — on vinyl, of course — and focus on their voices. I have recently acquired some of their albums and will talk about specific songs in future reviews. 

They certainly have unique voices — and they know how to play them. Unfortunately Haggard died in April at age 79. 

(Some other good voices and an unsolicited endorsement: If you are looking for a different take on the holiday classics, pick up a copy of a Straight No Chaser Christmas album. The a cappella group features great voices and a funny twist on some of the best holiday songs.)

-@DARickKazmerCE