Athens indie rocker Matthew Houck, who records under the moniker Phosphorescent, went the concept route for his fourth and latest album, To Willie, a straightforward collection of Willie Nelson covers. (The album's title is a reference to Nelson's own Lefty Frizzell covers album, To Lefty, From Willie.)
The album isn't great, but it's good — respectful, effective covers of lots of terrific Willie Nelson songs, some hit singles but most not well-known to casual fans. (No "Blues Eyes Crying in the Rain" or "On the Road Again" here.) Houck doesn't sound self-conscious playing these songs or too proud of himself for doing so. He just sounds like he's enjoying borrowing from one of the great American songwriters. Phosphorescent plays the Hi-Tone Cafe tonight. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.
Here's Phosphorescent playing the Nelson standard "Reasons to Quit":