Song Premiere: Jordi Baizan’s Interpretation of Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper”

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Americana Highways brings you this song premiere of Jordi Baizan’s cover of Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper,” produced by Jordi Baizan and recorded at Beebe Gunn Studios, Houston, TX and mastered by Glenn Barratt at Morningstar Studios, Philadelphia, PA. This version of “Pretty Paper” is Jordi Baizan on vocals and acoustic guitar; Paul Beebe on guitar, bass, piano, percussion; Isaias Gil on drums and percussion; and Aaron Koerner on trumpet.  The original was written by Willie Nelson and copyrighted in 1963 via BMI on SONY/ATV TREE PUBLISHING.

This is a fine, innovative twist on the Willie Nelson song you must hear to believe.  Baizan has accomplished a truly refreshing, daring variation this Christmas, in a festive Tex-Cuban blend.

In December 2015, I was offered to play a couple of holiday car dealership gigs on short notice.  The gigs paid really, really well.  In order to do  a good job, I had to learn three hours of seasonal material in a short span of time.  One of the songs I came across was “Pretty Paper,” by Willie Nelson, which tells the story of  busy holiday shoppers rushing past a disabled street vendor.  The tune stuck with me because it had a depth to it that other holiday songs lacked.

Around that time, I had started planning a trip to Cuba for the following year and was listening to quite a bit of Cuban music from the 50s.  I started playing around with a syncopated, Cuban-style guitar groove and put a melody to it with the words to Pretty Paper.  I really liked it and decided to record it in late 2016 before I took that trip to Cuba.  I never really had a chance to release it until now, three years later.

It was a thrill to visit Cuba back in December of 2016, but I couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast between the haves and the have nots that is referenced in Pretty Paper.  Despite the mixed emotions, I fell in love with the Cuban people and the beauty of the island.   My mom is Cuban, and my mom and dad both came to the US from Cuba, so I have Cuban blood in my veins.   I am also a first generation Texan, a Texan like Willie Nelson.  This version of Willie’s song was recorded right here in my hometown of Houston with some of our best local studio musicians.  I’m proud to have a song to share that is a fusion of Cuban and Texan, like me. 

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