Willie Nelson

Crazy: The Demo Sessions (Sugar Hill)

Sole, with Grand Buffet Symposium, 11794 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood 9 p.m. Monday, March 24, 216-521-9696.
In 1960, a broke Willie Nelson left a steady gig at Houston's Esquire Club for Nashville. Despite finding instant success as a hit songwriter for premier Nashville talents like Patsy Cline, Ray Price, and Billy Walker, a frustrated Nelson returned to Texas in 1973 having recorded 14 albums for three labels without achieving commercial success. Shortly after his arrival back on native soil, Nelson played his legendary gig at Austin's Armadillo World Headquarters and began a country music revolution now referred to as the Outlaw Movement.

Selected from Nelson's 1961-'66 demo recordings made as a staff songwriter for Ray Price's Pamper Music, Crazy: The Demo Sessions is some of the most damaging evidence ever of the closed-minded blunders of the Nashville cultural gatekeepers. Songs like the huge Patsy Cline hit "Crazy," "Permanently Lonely," "Are You Sure," and "Opportunity to Cry" vividly illustrate Nelson's incredible comprehension of the idiom and the breadth of his songwriting vocabulary. Discovered on reel-to-reel in Sony's vaults in 1994 and recently restored by Buddy Miller, Crazy: The Demo Sessions stands among Nelson's many masterworks.

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