3 of the Best Willie Nelson Collaborations That Defied Country Music

Willie Nelson has never been one to pigeonhole himself in a single genre. His music goes far beyond country into folk, Americana, reggae, jazz, blues, and beyond. He’s known as the “outlaw” for a reason. And his collaborations with non-country musicians always seem to just work. Let’s look at a few examples of the best Willie Nelson collaborations.

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1. Lionel Ritchie

One thing to know about Willie Nelson is that he can build chemistry with virtually any other musician. It’s a real talent. And he used that talent for his collab with this famed R&B and soul artist.

Lionel Ritchie collaborated with Willie Nelson on the song “Easy” back in 2012. It was a great little rendition of Richie’s classic hit and was featured on Nelson’s album Heroes. Nelson’s signature twangy sound and Richie’s ever-smooth vocals worked beautifully together for the new rendition.

2. Snoop Dogg

Rapper Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson have had quite a few collaborations throughout the years. It seems like their friendship and creative chemistry comes from their shared love for the devil’s lettuce. Really, it’s a match made in heaven. The track “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” is one of their most well-known efforts together, but they’ve also collaborated on the track “My Medicine” and others.

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3. Ray Charles

Nelson’s duet with the legend Ray Charles is probably one of his most well-known collaborative efforts. “Seven Spanish Angels” is one of Nelson’s most beautiful songs, and Ray Charles just made it even more emotional. The 1984 track tells a poignant tale of love and loss, and the duo’s vocals complement each other beautifully.

Photo by Hulton Archive

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