Bob Dylan has seemingly devoted the past few years of his artistic life to Frank Sinatra, releasing one album after another of Sinatra covers. It’s been weird! But now another American music icon is following his lead. In a few months, the seemingly immortal country music great Willie Nelson will release My Way, his own Sinatra tribute album.
The idea of Willie Nelson doing a Sinatra tribute album makes a lot more sense than Bob Dylan doing like five of them. Unlike Dylan, Nelson is blessed with a golden singing voice, one that’s still supple and expressive even at 85 years old. And Nelson has a history of playing around with the American songbook. One of his all-time great albums is the 1978 standards collection Stardust.
Nelson and Sinatra were friends, and Sinatra once opened for Nelson at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. In a press release, Nelson, who just released his last album Last Man Standing a couple of months ago, says, “I learned a lot about phrasing listening to Frank. He didn’t worry about behind the beat or in front of the beat or whatever — he could sing it either way, and that’s the feel you have to have.” Below, listen to Nelson’s take on Sinatra’s eternal 1965 single “Summer Wind.”
My Way is out 9/14 on Legacy Recordings.