November 29, 2022
George Strait, Willy the Wandering Gypsy and Me Honors 2 Legends


George Strait’s new song is a tribute to a tribute. The singer is part of Live Forever: A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver (Nov. 11), but his selection was released six weeks early.

Listen to Strait singing “Willy the Wandering Gypsy” below.

The 50-year-old song was cut by Waylon Jennings, but written by Shaver. In fact, Rolling Stone called it one of the late outlaw country singer’s 10 best in 2020. This new version is more fully produced than the version Billy Joe Shaver would eventually cut, with Strait’s sturdy country voice commanding the patient arrangement.

The song is based on life of Willie Nelson, even if the spelling of the first name is different.

Willy, you’re wild as a Texas Blue Norther / Ready rolled from the same making as me / Well, I reckon we’re gonna ramble ’til Hell freezes over / Willy the wandering gypsy and me,” Strait sings in this new cover, with as much respect and appreciation as Shaver. 

Nelson is also a part of the tribute album with a cover of “Live Forever” alongside Lucinda Williams. Miranda Lambert (“I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal”), Steve Earle, Ryan Bingham and Nathaniel Rateliff also appear on the album.

Shaver died at age 81 in October 2020 after suffering a stroke. He was a critical part of the success of Jennings’ Honky Tonk Heroes album and would go on to release his own iconic records, like Old Five and Dimers Like Me (1973).

50 Classic Country Artists Today’s Fans Should Know

Today’s country music stars owe a debt of gratitude to the legends who formed and cultivated the genre, starting in the early 20th century. These 50 classic country artists remain relevant today. Some developed a style that’s emulated on today’s country radio. Others set a bar for vocal talent or songwriting skill.

This list of 50 influential classic country artists features country music singers who started their careers before 1990. It’s ranked by each artist’s current influence on the country music format today, not individual, lifelong impact. Tell us where we got it right or wrong on Twitter.





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