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Remember Me, Vol. 1 is the fifty-ninth studio album by country music singer Willie Nelson, released on November 21, 2011. The tracks of the album consist on a selection of country music hits from the last 70 years.

Remember Me, Vol. 1
Remember Me Willie Nelson album cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 21, 2011
LabelR&J Records
ProducerJames Stroud
Willie Nelson chronology
Country Music
Remember Me, Vol. 1

Nelson and Stroud were inspired to record the album while talking about Tex Williams' hit song "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)". Nelson and Stroud elaborated a list of 75 songs that was later narrowed to 32.

The album was released to mixed reviews. It reached number 40 in Billboard's Top Country albums, while it reached number 37 in Billboard's Top Independent albums.


Background and recordingEdit

The album consists of 14 tracks picked by Nelson from Billboard's country hits from the last 70 years.[1] Nelson and producer James Stroud decided to record the album to summarize with different hits the history of country music.[2] They were inspired to record the album while Stroud and Nelson were talking about Tex Williams' "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)". Stroud recalled the first time he heard the song, and that he saw his mother smoking while it was being played. Nelson, who liked the anecdote, then suggested to record the album.[3]

Nelson and Stroud had an initially list of 75 songs, that were narrowed to 32. They selected the key, and the ones that could be best applied to Nelson's style. Stroud went to Nashville and cut the tracks with studio musicians, and later travelled to Nelson's Pedernales studio in Austin, Texas to add his voice to the recordings.[3] The 14 songs for the album were extracted from the sessions with Stroud that produced 32 songs, the rest are scheduled to be released in the 2012 release of Remember Me, Vol. 2.[1][needs update]


The album was released on November 21, 2011.[1]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Los Angeles Times    [5]
USA Today    [6]
Democrat and ChronicleFavorable.[7]
Rolling Stone     [8]
Country Weekly     [9]
Allmusic     [10]
Times Record NewsA-[11]

Los Angeles Times delivered a positive review: "Willie Nelson wraps his unmistakable vocal cords around 14 country hits spanning 1946 to 1989 [...] This time around, producer James Stroud envelops Nelson’s elastic voice in tasty, staunchly traditional arrangements [...] Nelson reminds us that his deceptively effortless vocal style can still touch the heart".[5] USA Today wrote: "The concept sounds fail-safe: Country's beloved elder statesman applies his iconic dust-dry vocals to 14 classics handpicked from the Billboard charts. But it's tricky to make covers truly engaging. Here, he succeeds much more often than not [...] But overall, he does the canon proud."[6]

Roughstock wrote: "Elegant and enduring endeavors are often the simplest, and so it is with Remember Me, Vol. 1 as one of America's most revered country music icons sings a collection of the genre's most definitive songs[...] In addition to Nelson's incomparable vocal stylings, each track benefits from the work of Nashville's top musicians in a band."[1] Meanwhile, Nashville Country Club rated the album with four stars out of five, and praised Nelson: "The album stays true to Nelson's classic style and WIllie proves he's still got it."[12] Democrat and Chronicle wrote: "this collection of 14 pretty old country classics works much better. Nelson applies his easygoing delivery and one-of-a-kind voice [...] Nice touches abound."[7]

Rolling Stone rated the album with two-and-a-half stars out of five, criticizing the backing and the performances of the selected material: "Nelson's voice is perfectly preserved, but an overstuffed band of Nashville pros provides stiff arrangements, and Willie has already released better versions of several tracks here. Nelson has been working on his first collection of new material in ages; hopefully that future is more inspiring than this version of the past."[8] Meanwhile, Country Weekly wrote: "Willie puts his more idiosyncratic tendencies in check, delivering straightforward takes on 14 tunes that span roughly four decades [...] and offer an overview of old-school country’s versatility, evolution and lasting power [...] Those who favor Willie at his most freewheeling may find this collection a tad tame, perhaps even redundant. Still, its simple charms are numerous, with Willie in strong and unusually disciplined voice. The nimble musicians underscore him with taste and, when called for, gleeful and virtuosic abandon, and all parties involved take care to honor the original spirit of the songs they tackle here."[9]

Allmusic rated the album with three-and-a-half stars out of five: "will undoubtedly have a lot of volumes following in its wake, since the premise is unlimited [...] backed by some of Nashville’s finest session musicians. each track has its own kind of hushed and easy-flowing grace to it."[10]

Times Record News praised the album: "Also, the songs aren't recorded by the usual Family backup band, so they don't have the distinctive sound we've all come to expect from Willie's recordings. With some of the best Nashville studio pickers behind him, the backup arrangements are clean, tight and hot, and Willie has never sounded better."[11]

Track listingEdit


Chart performanceEdit

Chart (2011) Peak
US Billboard Top Country Albums 40
US Billboard Top Independent Albums 37


  1. ^ a b c d e "Willie Nelson to release 'Remember Me, Vol 1' November 21". PR Newswire. November 1, 2011. Archived from the original on November 4, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Knopper, Steve (November 21, 2011). "Country Icon Shows no Signs of Slowing". The Columbus Dispatch. The Dispatch Printing Company. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Oermann, Robert K. (March 2, 2012). "Willie Nelson Honors Unforgettable Music on "Remember Me Vol. 1"". Music News Nashville. MNNEnterprises, LLC. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  4. ^ "Remember Me, Vol. 1". MetaCritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Lewis, Randy (November 22, 2011). "Album review: Willie Nelson's 'Remember Me, Vol. 1'". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Shriver, Jerry (December 5, 2011). "Listen Up: Willie Nelson, Chris Cornell, Trey Songz". USA Today. Gannett Co. Inc.
  7. ^ a b Spevak, Jeff (November 17, 2011). "What Our Critics Are Listening To". Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Doyle, Patrick (January 12, 2012). "Remember Me Vol.1 - Willie Nelson - Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Morley, Steve (January 9, 2012). "Remember Me, Vol. 1 by Willie Nelson". Country Weekly. American Media, Inc.
  10. ^ a b Leggett, Steve. "Remember Me, Vol. 1". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Chance, Don (January 13, 2012). "Times Record News". Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  12. ^ Read, Sara (November 16, 2011). "Willie Nelson – Remember Me Vol. 1 Review". Nashville Country Nashville Country Club. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  13. ^ "Remember Me, Vol. 1 - Billboard albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 24, 2011.