In “One by Willie,” Texas Monthly’s John Spong hosts intimate conversations with a range of prominent guests about the Willie Nelson songs that mean the most to them. But this series isn’t just about the songs. It’s about what music really means to us—the ways it can change us, take care of us, and connect us all. Songs featured in the episodes can be found on Apple Music. Listen here.
8. Wesley Schultz "Pretty Paper"
Lumineers lead singer and co-songwriter Wesley Schultz first heard “Pretty Paper” when his parents played Willie’s classic, 1978 holiday album of the same name while driving around their New Jersey neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. The song is a Yuletide standard—so much so that a lot of listeners don’t even know Willie wrote it—and it prompts Wes to think aloud about the power of lonesome songs during the holiday season, give an unexpected, apples-to-apples comparison between Willie and Bruce Springsteen, and explain how absolutely rare it is to find a Christmas song you can listen to all year long. Songs featured in this and every episode of One By Willie can be found on our Apple Music playlist https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/one-by-willie-a-texas-monthly-podcast/pl.u-b3b8VdgFKWje4Wv
Introducing: Switched on Pop
We hope you’re enjoying “One by Willie” and that if you haven't already, you'll subscribe and tell your friends about the podcast. We also want to tell you about Switched on Pop: a Best Arts & Culture podcast Webby 2020 winner about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture.
7. Lee Ann Womack "Three Days"
Country music star Lee Ann Womack has been singing along to “Three Days” since she was a little girl raiding the record collection of her dad, who disc jockeyed at a small country radio station in East Texas. It’s a deep cut off Willie’s 1962 debut album, and it prompts thoughts from Lee Ann on the unexpected places where songwriters find the lines to write old-school country songs, the difference between Texas country music and the rest of it, and the lessons that she and her two daughters—who are also both singer-songwriters—learned from going on tour with Willie. Songs from this and all episodes of One By Willie can be found on our Apple Music playlist at https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/one-by-willie-a-texas-monthly-podcast/pl.u-b3b8VdgFKWje4Wv
6. Sonny Throckmorton "What a Way to Live"
Sonny Throckmorton is one of the greatest country songwriters who ever lived. He's the man who wrote “If We’re Not Back in Love By Monday” for Merle Haggard, “Why Not Me” for the Judds, and “The Cowboy Rides Away” for George Strait, among hundreds of others. On this episode, Sonny discusses a little-known, early Willie composition, “What a Way to Live”; the famous picking parties Willie used to host with legendary UT football coach Darrell Royal; the song Willie stole from Elvis Presley; and why it’s best not to play poker with Willie, no matter how nicely he asks you to. Music featured in this and every episode of One by Willie is available on our Apple Music playlist https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/one-by-willie-a-texas-monthly-podcast/pl.u-b3b8VdgFKWje4Wv
5. Wynonna Judd "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain"
Country music legend Wynonna Judd first heard “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” as a young girl splitting her time between her mom’s house in Los Angeles and her grandparents' home in rural Kentucky. It was Willie’s first #1 single and the song that finally made him a star, and on this episode of One By Willie, she talks about hearing it on the radio when she was first discovering music, about hanging out backstage with Willie at the CMA awards once the Judds—Wynonna and her mother, Naomi—became stars themselves, and about how kind Willie was when Wynonna introduced him to her grandmother. Music featured in this and all episodes can be found on our Apple Music playlist at https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/one-by-willie-a-texas-monthly-podcast/pl.u-b3b8VdgFKWje4Wv
4. Jack Ingram "I'd Have To Be Crazy"
The first song that country star Jack Ingram ever taught himself to play on guitar was Willie’s #11 country hit from 1976, “I’d Have to Be Crazy.” On this episode, Jack talks about how learning it clued him into the complex simplicity of the best country songs, from which point he goes into the fundamental question—“To smoke, or not to smoke?”—that anyone has to ask themself the first time they get to meet Willie Nelson, and his song selection that time he played an informal, private set for former president George H.W. Bush. Songs featured in episodes of One By Willie are available on our Apple Music playlist https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/one-by-willie-a-texas-monthly-podcast/pl.u-b3b8VdgFKWje4Wv
Customer ReviewsSee All
Brings tears to my eyes
I am so grateful to have found this podcast. Willie and his music have been part of my life for as long as I can remember, my parents listening to him while I was at their knees. Host John Spong is great. I’ve delighted in his writing in TM for years, as his father was one of my professors and mentors. I can hear his dad, Will, in his questions, his humor, and sensitivity. Most of all, he taps into the magic that is Willie Nelson’s music with guests that have a heart for what Texas, life, love, and joy are all about, and how all that can be captured in the songwriting of the Red Headed Stranger. Thank you, so much, John and TM. What a gift!
One By Willie
Great podcast! Perfectly done and very insightful.
A great listen
A great insiders view about Willie and songwriting.