Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis featuring Norah Jones Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles

In 1962, Ray Charles released Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, blending soul with country and big band. In 2008, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis recorded Two Men With the Blues, once again uniting two of America's great art forms. Bringing the whole thing full circle, the two have reunited for Here We Go Again, 12 live renditions of Ray Charles' greatest hits performed at the Lincoln Center. Utilizing Nelson's off-kilter delivery with Marsalis's new-jack bop, Here We Go Again comes off less quirky and novel than most would imagine. Presenting the performance as a song cycle while rearranging tracks like "Hit the Road Jack" as gospel and "What'd I Say" as boogaloo, along with the addition of Nelson's long-time harmonica player, Mickey Raphael, does much to save the LP from falling into schlocky adult contemporary B.S. (despite the inclusion of Norah Jones). Here We Go Again shows that every genre of music ideally comes from the same place: the soul. Ray would have approved. (Blue Note)