Willie Nelson: Willie Nelson (vocals); Merle Haggard (acoustic guitar); Ben Harper (electric slide guitar); Jerry Lee Lewis (piano); Joe Walsh , Keith Richards, Kid Rock, Al Green , Lee Ann Womack, Los Lonely Boys, Lucinda Williams, Rickie Lee Jones, Shelby Lynne, The Holmes Brothers, Toby Keith, Toots Hibbert, Carole King.
Personnel: Willie Nelson (acoustic guitar); Keith Richards (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Al Green , Toby Keith, Toots Hibbert (vocals, acoustic guitar); Joe Walsh , Kid Rock, Merle Haggard (vocals, electric guitar); Ben Harper (vocals, slide guitar); Jerry Lee Lewis (vocals, grand piano); Lee Ann Womack, Lucinda Williams, Rickie Lee Jones, Shelby Lynne, The Holmes Brothers, Carole King (vocals); Biff Watson (guitar, acoustic guitar); Jody Payne (guitar, background vocals); Kenny Lovelace, Nils Lofgren, Henry Garza (guitar); Jimmy Ripp (electric guitar); Mickey Raphael (harmonica); David Woodford (saxophone); Bill Churchville (trumpet); Garrett Adkins (trombone); Ivan Neville, Bobbie Nelson (piano); Jim Cox (keyboards); James "Hutch" Hutchinson (upright bass); Willie "Popsy" Dixon, Jim Keltner, Paul English, Ringo Garza (drums); Billy Gene English (percussion); Stacie Michelle, Julia Tillman Waters, Lonely Boys, Maxine Willard Waters, Bernard Fowler (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Ed Seay.
Recording information: The Wiltern LG (05/05/2004).
Photographers: Michael Caulfield; Lester Cohen.
Though he was already a musical icon of inarguable standing, Willie Nelson became something of an officially acknowledged national treasure after his 70th birthday in 2003. This is exemplified by the live album OUTLAWS & ANGELS, documenting a concert where some of the biggest stars from all walks of the musical world joined Willie to pay tribute to his work and his enduring influence. Some of the artists included won't raise any eyebrows; for instance, fellow country legend Merle Haggard is on hand for several tunes, including his own classic "Mama Tried" and the Townes Van Zandt-penned story-song "Pancho & Lefty."
Less predictable are appearances by reggae pioneer Toots Hibbert (on the Toots & the Maytals signature song "Pressure Drop" and the latter-day Nelson composition "Still Is Still Moving to Me," which adapts surprisingly well to a reggae feel), Kid Rock, and Carole King. A particularly notable moment is blues band the Holmes Brothers' take on Willie's old heartbreak anthem "Opportunity to Cry," which adds an extra dash of soul. While hardcore Willie fans might be just as happy to hear the man all by himself, the stellar guest list of OUTLAWS & ANGELS merely confirms what those fans have known all along--that Willie Nelson is one of America's most accomplished singer/songwriters, bar none.