Willie Nelson is channeling Frank Sinatra to perfection in his new “That’s Life” lyric video.
It makes sense. After all, the country icon says listening to “Ol Blue Eyes” taught him how to sing. So we thank Sinatra for giving country music one of its most celebrated performers.
Nelson released the lyric video, Friday. It’s a taste of what’s to come. Nelson’s full “That’s Life” album is scheduled for release, Feb. 26. It’s Nelson’s third album of songs Sinatra made famous. The first was way back in 1978. Three years ago, Nelson’s “My Way” won a Grammy.
Nelson idolized Sinatra. Nelson even lauded Sinatra in his book “It’s a Long Story: My Life.”
“Though he was a million miles from western swing, he had a sweet swing of his own,” Nelson wrote. “There was a tenderness to his voice, a purity and ease of phrasing. When he sang the popular songs of the day, I marveled at the natural way he told the story.”
Sinatra released his “That’s Life, the September of My Years,” album in 1966. The title song was a top-five hit for Sinatra. Two weeks before Sinatra’s death in 1998, “That’s Life” was released as a CD.
Whether It’s Willie Nelson or Frank Sinatra, This Music Is Timeless
Whether Willie Nelson or Frank Sinatra sings them, the lyrics are timeless. A full orchestra backed up Sinatra. Nelson’s version features a piano, a snare drum and a harmonica.
“That’s life. That’s what all the people say. You’re riding high in April, shot down in May. But I know I’m gonna change that tune when I’m back on top, back on top in June.
“I said that’s life. And as funny as it may seem, some people get their kicks stomping on a dream. But I don’t let it, let it get me down. Cause this fine old world, it keeps spinnin’ around.”
There are also other cool details with Nelson’s lyric video. Throughout the video, it features the brush strokes of artist Paul Mann, who painted a portrait of Nelson under a street lamp. Mann, known for his movie posters, finished the Nelson painting by the end of the video. The album cover for “Songs for Young Lovers” featured Sinatra under a street lamp.
Willie Nelson recorded parts of the new album at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. That’s another Sinatra detail Nelson checked off the to-do list. Sinatra also recorded his music there from1956 to 1961. Buddy Cannon and Matt Rollings produced this album for Willie, who also worked on the album at Nelson’s studio outside of Austin.
And Sinatra was a huge Willie Nelson fan. Sinatra and Nelson played a show together at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas in 1984. Sinatra even opened for Nelson.
“I’m just glad to be able to do another tribute to him,” Nelson recently said. “I’m anxious to get it out there”