On the surface, New Orleans and Nashville might not seem to have much in common. But one thing they definitely will share is a love of Willie Nelson's "Willie at the Wheel." The brainchild of music-biz legend Jerry Wexler pairs the Texas legend with swinging country combo Asleep at the Wheel for a get-down ragtime Western swing record.

On the surface, New Orleans and Nashville might not seem to have much in common. But one thing they definitely will share is a love of Willie Nelson's "Willie at the Wheel," which pairs the Texas legend with swinging country combo Asleep at the Wheel for a get-down ragtime Western swing record.


Nelson's easygoing tenor sounds smoother than ever with by the band's barbershop-quartet-style backing on songs like the opening "Hesitation Blues" and "Corrine Corrina," and when they're not coming together in high harmony, gentle violin swoops and washing pedal steel keep things bucking and shuffling.


Even Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer and country alum Vince Gill stop by for the bouncy "South."


The concept for "Willie and the Wheel" is supposedly three decades in the making, originally brainstormed by music-biz legend Jerry Wexler as a way to bring Nelson back to his roots.


Thirty years on, it still sounds as vibrant and fresh as ever.


Hear samples from "Willie and the Wheel" at Amazon.com.


Sussex Countian