By Annie Reuter
Willie Nelson‘s career has spanned well over 50 years. While the 10-time GRAMMY Award winner can’t narrow down one GRAMMY moment that has stuck with him, there is one memory he’ll never forget: the first time he heard his own voice.
“The first time I heard my voice played back after I recorded it on a tape recorder I was horrified,” he told Radio.com at Farm Aid. “I said, ‘No!’ but then after a few years of listening to it I got used to who I was and the songs I was writing were a little better than my singing.”
It’s been many albums since Nelson first heard his voice, and in 2013 alone he has already released two and is working on a third. Most recently he released To All the Girls…, which drops today (Oct. 15). An album of 18 duets, Nelson, in an interview with Radio.com, said it was a challenge to figure out which gal should be featured on each track.
“It had a lot to do with who was available, who was in town. Buddy Cannon is probably the best guy to do these things because he’s a great producer. He got us all together,” Nelson said.
To All the Girls… includes 18 collaborations with everyone from Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn to Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. A particular favorite of Nelson’s is “Will You Remember Mine,” a track recorded with his “young friend from Maui,” Lily Meola.
But that’s not to say it’s the only song he has gravitated to.
“Dolly’s song is a great song, ‘From Here to the Moon and Back.’ It’s one of my favorites.”
With two releases this year, Nelson shows no sign of slowing down, as he’s already hard at work on another album.
“I’ve never had any problem making the music, the problem is giving the record companies enough time to sell it,” he confessed. “That’s been going on ever since I can remember, because it’s easy for me to go into the studio to record a song, and I realize it takes a longer time than that to market it.”
He’s soon headed into his renovated studio to get to work on his next release.
“I have a studio in Austin that’s opening back up. It’s been closed for a while,” he said. “We have some new equipment in there and we’re going to do an album with me and my band and sister Bobbie and do some original stuff. Some of the new stuff that I’ve written.”
Nelson’s songs have survived the test of time, and he said some tracks that mean more to him now than when first written include the ones that have endured like “Crazy,” “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Night Life,” and “On the Road Again.”
“I do those every day because I like them, the audience likes them,” he said.
To All the Girls… is available everywhere today.