Review: 'Two Men with the Blues,' by Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis

Patrick Varine

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis? On the same record?

Well, why not? In a time when Ludacris and Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee are getting together to save the environment, an album culled from two live shows featuring legends in their respective fields – Nelson in country, Marsalis in jazz – isn’t so far out there. In fact, it’s pretty darn traditional.

Nelson and Marsalis, who performed together at the Lincoln Center  in January 2007, swing right through the 10 tracks that comprise Two Men with the Blues. The music is mainly Marsalis’s band, flavoring cuts like “Bright Lights, Big City” and “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It” with a New-Orleans-shuffle flavor, and slowing it down for traditionals like “Stardust” and “Georgia On My Mind.”

Though Nelson’s aging voice doesn’t always nail the nuance in the vocals, it’s clear that both he and Marsalis are enjoying themselves, and the album as a whole has a down-home feel and captures the intimate vibe of the two shows.

Basically, it’s two musical giants kicking back and spending an evening perusing through some of the great standards of the last 60 years. Good stuff.

Two Men with the Blues will be released July 8. Click here to listen to samples at

Sussex Countian