Many people will tell you it all began back then. What was the “Nashville Sound” in the sixties is now Adult Contemporary with an accent. I don’t know if I totally agree, but there is no doubt that the “Nashville Sound” was the first attempt to put a formula on the music in order to make it marketable to a broader audience. Chet Atkins was largely responsible for this sound. However, it is hard for me to be too hard on a legend like Atkins. Clearly he was not attempting to rip the roots out of Country music. He was trying to widen the audience, but I find it hard to believe that he was attempting to render the Genre indistinguishable from other forms of Pop music as it is today. Whether intentional or not, the “Nashville Sound” grew into a glutinous, money hungry monster.
In the late sixties a successful songwriter recorded some sides for RCA. His name was Willie Nelson and he was responsible for many hits including “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. These recordings were done in Nashville and produced with the typical orchestration and choral milieu of the day. Thanks to longtime Willie band mate Mickey Raphael the vault has been opened on these recordings. They have been remixed with the ear candy removed. On Naked Willie it is apparent that when these songs were recorded, the “Red Headed Stranger” already existed. On this special project Raphael has peeled the onion back and revealed where Willie was headed. He just did it about 35 years after Willie did it himself. It does not matter, because these recordings in there altered state are powerful examples of Willie's passion whenever they were done.