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Five songs we hope Willie Nelson sings this summer in Missoula

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With news that Willie Nelson will be performing in Missoula this summer, AND Alison Krauss!, we here at Big Sky State Buzz can’t help but start thinking about what the Red Headed Stranger might play once he gets here.

Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson perform together recently. The two perform in Missoula on June 17.
Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson perform together recently. The two perform in Missoula on June 17.

As such, what follows is a list of our favorite Willie Nelson songs that he’d theoretically play. We tried including as many songs about Montana as we could that Nelson has either recorded in the past or played in the past. There’s also a few that we’d just really love to hear.

So without further ado, here are Big Sky State Buzz’s five favorite Willie Nelson songs that we think he should include in his set list come June.

5) “Sittin’ on the dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding

While this song will always be best remembered as the most popular Otis Redding track, in 1982 both Nelson and the late Waylon Jennings recorded it on their combined album “WWII.”

While it’s not likely that Nelson would play the song since Jennings is no longer with us, this is our list and we’ve always loved this cover. The fact that we’re pretty sure Nelson wouldn’t play this track is the reason we’re putting it so low on the list.

4) “Blue Skies” by Irving Berlin

We live in the “Big Sky State” and this track by Irving Berlin is a perfect track that speaks to what represents Montana. Plus, Nelson covered it on his 1978 album “Stardust.” We could theoretically see Nelson playing this song as a fun encore.

3) “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” 

We considered “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” for this spot, but this is a more upbeat song and one that isn’t as an obvious inclusion into what might be a typical set. Or, to put it another way, Nelson is almost surely going to to play the former, so we’d much rather hope for him to play this one, too.

2) “A Horse Called Music”

This song really does have everything you could want to hear from Willie Nelson. Not only that but it includes four Treasure State references and a memorable middle from Merle Haggard, that, let’s be honest, probably would be sung by Nelson live in person. It would not take anything away from what could be considered one of the best odes to Montana, maybe ever.

Not on this list, however, which brings us to number one…

1) “Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger”

While one could argue that “A Horse Called Music” could be atop the list instead of this one, well, this is our list.

Plus,the fact that we can’t listen to this track without getting a bit teary-eyed makes this, for us, Nelson’s pre-eminent ode to Montana. We seriously hope he ends the night with this loving tribute.

We here at Big Sky State Buzz aren’t exactly the biggest Willie Nelson fans, but we understand how big it is for Montana when he comes here, especially with Alison Krauss AND Union Station, who could easily headline a show themselves.

This should be a complete lovefest that all who attend will hopefully experience something that they never had before, and might not ever again. We think if they play all five of these tracks, there’s no way it can’t be a great experience.

But, maybe you disagree. What songs should Willie play on June 17? Leave us a comment!

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