“Some people think Willis Alan Ramsey’s first — and only — record is one of the greatest singer-songwriter albums ever. I am one of those people,” says Bruce Robison, himself an esteemed singer-songwriter who’s had his share of hits with songs covered by the Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw and George Strait, to name a few. Robison managed to coax Ramsey to the Bunker, the all-analog recording studio in Lockhart, Texas, where Robison records his favorite legends and up-and-comers and conducts artist-to-artist interviews for The Next Waltz, his record label, multi-platform media project and “place for like-minded musicians to gather in celebration of this incredible culture of music we have here in Texas.”
They laid down a version of “Mockingbird Blues,” a song from Ramsey’s fabled second album, that sounded so good, they decided it deserved some special treatment. Which we’ll explain in a minute (or, as Ramsey might say, soon). But first, back to Robison.
“When I became friends with Willis, it was hard to keep my cool, though he is a very humble and unassuming man,” Robison explains. “It was incredible when he agreed to come out to my studio to play some music and chat.” They got on so well, Ramsey decided to do some overdubs for that still-upcoming album. Then they did “Mockingbird Blues,” and agreed they needed to show it off. So they did an animated video. And realized it was time to go live. Robison hatched a plan.
“I asked two of the most talented singer songwriters — who are also crack musicians — and my top choices immediately agreed. Carrie Rodriguez and John Fullbright complete this murderers’ row of talent going onstage together for four shows in four Texas cities.”