Willie Nelson and Van Morrison Join Forces in a Pennsylvania Studio
Willie Nelson and rock legend Van Morrison went into a Pittsburgh, Pa.-area studio together earlier this month, hinting at the probability of an exciting upcoming collaboration. Staff at the Church Recording Studio in Pennsylvania were taken by surprise when the booking request came in.
“We didn’t take it too seriously at first, but after pushing them for some details, they revealed it was for Van Morrison,” studio producer Dave Hidek tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We actually believed them less at that point, so we asked for the standard deposit, and sure enough a check arrived the next day and we knew they were for real.” Hidek goes on to say that the request for Morrison from Belfast, Ireland, was only the first layer of surprise for the studio.
“A little later on, we got a call from Willie Nelson’s management to let us know that he’d be attending as well," Hidek shares. "Having either one walk through our doors would in itself be a treat, to put it lightly, but both of them together would certainly be a historic experience.”
Morrison and Nelson both headlined the Outlaw Music Festival in Pittsburgh on Sept. 7, and in the days leading up to the event, they holed up in the little studio along with Nelson's son Lukas, harmonica player Mickey Raphael, and his long-time friend and producer Buddy Cannon. While Nelson and his cohorts were there to contribute, the new project is helmed by Morrison.
“Van is intense ... He knows exactly what he likes down to what guitar is being used or where the treble is set on the amp ... He doesn’t linger on things, and his level of execution was impressive," Hidek says of the recording experience. "Willie takes the opposite approach in many ways, but that’s what makes this collaboration so special. For being 85, he’s still got that vocal magic, and his performance holds you hostage from the first note to the last note."
No word on when the collaboration will be released, but you can bet we'll be on the lookout for it. Nelson has done countless cross-genre collaborations throughout his career, but this marks the first time he's recorded with the Irish legend.
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