The tune is one of two Nelson-penned tracks – along with “Night Life” – that appear on Nelson’s salute to his late beloved friend and former boss, out September 16th.
Love eludes Nelson in the tune until he finds “his favorite girl / because when I look into her eyes I see all the love there’s in all the world.” Though it breaks his heart to be apart, conjuring up the image of his loved one quells the loneliness. The generation swells as Nelson’s plaintive delivery is surrounded by strings.
Nelson played bass guitar in Price’s touring band the Cherokee Cowboys, starting in the early 1960s. Price and he remained lifelong friends, last record together for 2007’s Last of the Breed, a double album the duo made with Merle Haggard though Nelson’s tenure in the Cherokee Cowboys was brief.
“People ask me who my favorite singers are and I say, well, there’s Ray Price and Frank Sinatra. I don’t think there was ever any doubt that I’d do a Ray Price tribute album,” says Nelson in a video about recording the album. “He brought it all together from Hank Williams to Bob Wills – the old shuffle to western swing to the strings.”
Nelson recorded For the Good Times at Nashville’s Ocean Way, the exact same studio where Price recorded his last record, Beauty Is. . . from 2014. That group came out a couple of months after his December 2013 passing and contained Price’s version of “It Always Will Be.”
Price loved the tune, according to producer Fred Foster, who helmed Beauty Is. . . As well as the tribute album of Nelson. “As much as Willie respected Ray, Ray equally admired Willie. Ray would be so proud.” Hear Nelson’s “It Always Will Be” above.
Nelson recorded the track formerly on his 2004 record titled It Always Will Be, as well as on his 2003 album with Austin singer/songwriter Kimmie Rhodes, Picture in a Frame.