Your Take: Start-to-Finish Shows

Juli Thanki | July 13th, 2013

Yesterday, Rolling Stone announced that Willie Nelson will play Stardust in its entirety at the Hollywood Bowl in August to mark the album’s 35th anniversary. He’s not the only one who has been performing albums live: The Old 97s, Lucinda Williams, and Bruce Springsteen are just a few of the artists who’ve played their records in concert over the past few years.

If I could see any country/roots artist perform any album live, it would probably be Ray Charles’ playing Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, or maybe Loretta Lynn and Ernest Tubb playing one of their duets records . However, since I don’t have a time machine, I’d “settle” for seeing Willie tackle Red Headed Stranger, Lucinda Williams play Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, The SteelDrivers doing Reckless–at my pretend show, Chris Stapleton and Gary Nichols trade lead vocals–or Drive-By Truckers rocking The Dirty South. Let us know: if you could see any act perform any album start-to-finish, who would it be, and what would they play?

  1. Dave D.
    July 13, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Despite the ulterior motive that it would mean that he was healthy enough to perform again, I think that seeing Randy Travis perform Always & Forever would stand on its own merit.

  2. Jeff Miller
    July 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

    It’s tough in a singles driven market to pull this off and most albums have some less than stellar moments, but some deserve to have all their cuts given daylight. I like the idea and particularly since many albums are only 30-45 minutes, there’s still room for some favorites to round out a show.
    Also gives a chance for some extended breaks/excerpts to be heard- kind of a ‘director’s cut’ idea.
    Marty Stuart’s The Pilgrim would be great to hear live start to finish. The Mavericks are probably doing most of their new CD on tour right now- but I could listen to the whole thing live anytime they want to kick it off. Merle’s Big City would work & I agree with Red Headed Stranger too.

  3. Baron Lane
    July 13, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I was lucky enough to live in New York City when Lucinda Williams was playing her full album shows. I caught the “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” show, complete with Steve Earle and Jim Lauderdale.

  4. Michael A.
    July 13, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I’d like to see Mary Chapin Carpenter play Come On Come On in its entirety.

  5. Dallas Terry
    July 13, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs – God Willin & The Creek Don’t Rise.

    …and Greg Leisz has to be there.

  6. Daniel Mullins
    July 13, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Haggard doing the Same Train, Different Time album, complete with narrations, would be pretty special. Also, seeing Cash perform The Fabulous Johnny Cash would be pretty epic. In bluegrass, seeing J.D. Crowe & The Original New South do their only album would be incredible.

  7. Doug Gilliland
    July 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Lyle Lovett – Pontiac

  8. Occasional Hope
    July 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Jamey Johnson – That Lonesome Song

    Going back in time: Dolly, Linda and Emmylou doing their first Trio album

  9. Barry Mazor
    July 13, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Boy’ I’m cursed or blessed to have heard many thousands of albums, and to be the age I am, as is everybody else, so this is nearly impossible and I’m not competing for anything anyhow. (Happy 2nd.)

    But a few random sudden thoughts: I don’t know how well some artists would replicate their albums live, so I kind of would like to hear Jerry Lee Lewis at the International Hotel, or James Brown at the Apollo; I know what it might sound like, if all went well.. I would definitely like to hear Waylon Jennings perform “Dreaming My Dreams”.or “This Time ” because that didn’t happen…or Bob Dylan and the back-up on the record perform Highway 61 Revisited,..because that never did either, or the Beatles perform Abbey Road, because it would have been almost impossible and they weren’t performing live them, for all practical purposes, at all. That would be something. And polythene, too.

    (If it weren’t an album, being in a Chicago club when the double bill was Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf and the act between was only Elmore James wouldn’t have been too shabby, but sadly, we don’t have a real album’s worth of that.)

    And some of the people I’d feel privileged to see, miraculously, do anything live were there before the age of albums!

  10. Rick
    July 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Merle Haggard – Let Me Tell You About a Song

    Elizabeth Cook – The Blue Album

    Ashley Monroe – Satisfied

    Kimber Sparks – It’s Her Turn (I did hear Kimber sing a good portion of the album in LA’s Coffee Gallery Backstage a couple of years ago)

    Kasey Chambers – The Captain

    Lane Turner – Right on Time Album (Never Released)

    Dierks Bentley – Don’t Leave Me In Love

    Seeing Radney Foster do a solo acoustic set on his recent Del Rio Revisited tour showed me just how powerful such a set can be! Crikey!

  11. Luckyoldsun
    July 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    “Stardust” was an album of classic pop standards–and Willie has been performing those for years. I have nothing against it, but I wonder how many fans would even notice if he performed those exact ten songs straight through–as opposed to say a selection of other Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer songs.

    A few albums that I might like to hear “revisited”–by artists who would still be capable of doing it: Clint Black doing “Killing Time,” Garth Doing his first album or “No Fences,” Steve Earle doing “Guitar Town.”

  12. Cody
    July 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Bobby Bare doing “Bobby Bare Sings Lullabies Legends & Lies.”

    I’m going to see Billy Joe Shaver next month – while I bet he does most of them, hearing “Old Five and Dimers Like Me” all at once would be awesome!

  13. Donald
    July 13, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    I appreciate many of the suggestions- including the MCC, Earle, Rounder 044, and The Pilgrim ideas. Heck, I would just love to hear/see Miss Elizabeth do a live set, no matter which album. Tonight, I’m thinking The Del McCoury Band doing “The Cold Hard Facts” album, as it was the first full album of theirs that I experienced. Of course, if there was a time tunnel (without James Darren, thank you very much) I would love to have heard Bill Monroe perform his “Bluegrass ’87” album in its entirety.

  14. Donald
    July 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    O my gosh- just thought of this…Kate Campbell doing “Songs from the Levee.” That would be special.

  15. Arlene
    July 14, 2013 at 12:11 am

    I was also lucky enough to see and hear Lucinda Williams perform Car Wheels on a Gravel Road live at Town Hall in NYC. Some of my other choices:

    Patty Griffin- Living With Ghosts
    Bruce Springsteen- Nebraska
    Van Morrison- Moondance
    Linda Ronstadt- Heart Like A Wheel
    Whiskeytown- Faithless Street
    Emmylou Harris- Wrecking Ball
    Bonnie Raitt- Nick of Time
    Richard and Linda Thompson- Shoot Out the Lights

  16. Jonathan Pappalardo
    July 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I would love to hear Dixie Chicks doing ‘Home’ and Patty Loveless performing ‘Mountain Soul.’ I’ll thrown in Kathy Mattea performing ‘Calling Me Home,’ too.

    I’m with Occasional Hope on Jamey Johnson and Michael A. on Mary Chapin Carpenter. Both are exceptional albums.

  17. Jack Williams
    July 14, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
    Richard Thompson – Rumor and Sigh
    Chuck Prophet – No Other Love
    John Hiatt – Slow Turning
    Buddy Miller – Cruel Moon
    Graham Parker and the Rumour – Squeezing Out Sparksi
    John Hammond – Wicked Griin
    Alvin Youngblood Hart – Motivational Speaker

  18. BRUCE
    July 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Don Williams – any album
    Marty Stuart and the Fab Superlatives – Tear the Woodpile Down
    Dwight Yoakum – 3 Pears

  19. J.R. Journey
    July 14, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Linda Ronstadt – Prisoner In Disguise
    Rosanne Cash – King’s Record Shop
    Garth Brooks – Ropin’ the Wind
    Randy Travis – Storms of Life

    … and I’d like to hear Trisha Yearwood sing harmony at all these concerts.

  20. Stuart Munro
    July 15, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Occasional Hope said:

    “Jamey Johnson – That Lonesome Song”

    That’s basically what Johnson did when he toured behind the record. I saw his show in Boston (at the Paradise, no less, three feet from the band) and it was simply staggering.

  21. TX Music Jim
    July 15, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Jerry Jeff Walker with the original lost Gonzo aBand doing viva Trilingua
    Robert Earl Keen Gringo Honeymoon

    Willie Nelson Red Headed Stranger

    Waylon Jennings Honky Tonk Hereos

  22. Sheldon
    July 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Love to hear Dolly sing one of her early albums – “Coat of Many Colors”, “My Tennessee Mountain Home”, and “Jolene” are filled with great story songs…(and no lip-syncing, Dolly- we’re watching!)

  23. Janice Brooks
    July 16, 2013 at 10:33 am

    would love hearing Jerry Jeff and Herb Steiner do a reunion show.

  24. TX Music Jim
    July 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Herb Steiner is still playing great saw him with Micheal Martin Murphy about 8 or 9 months ago and he is still one of the best steel players ever. It would be cool to hear him pick with JJW again. Murphy still playing a fairly full schedule of gigs were JJW is playing more of a part time schedule.So i’m sure the money is more steady playing with Murphy. BTW Murphy still puts on a great show.

  25. Ben Foster
    July 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Last year I believe Emmylou Harris performed the Wrecking Ball set at a show in Nashville. I would have loved to see that show, and I hated that I had to be up north while it was happening.

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