I believe that lyrics can hold so much weight and make the music come to life.

As a country music fan, it is always amazing to hear your favorite artists belt out their lyrics with an insane vocal range, but sometimes a speaking song can let the words the artist wrote shine beautifully and simply.

Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Splits Away is a classic.

He originally wrote the song in 1961, and Billy Walker sang and released it in the same year. Over the decades, it has been covered by so many artists from a multitude of genres including Elvis Presley, Al Green, Glen Campbell, and more.

One of my favorite videos of him performing it is from Austin City Limits in 1979. The song highlights Nelson’s iconic voice with a simple guitar strum.

The lyrics are simple yet carry a lot of weight about how easy it is to let time slip away and not take in the special moments.

I love this performance, but I think I just found one that tops it for me.

Willie did the song again in 1997 for a songwriters’ night and spoke the lyrics in this version versus singing them.

It is breathtaking. You can hear the gravity of the words as they float off of his tongue as he accompanies himself on guitar. The band chimes in, and the softness of the word shines brightly next to the musical arrangement.

The accompanying songwriters sit and absorb the gravity of the words and Nelson’s performance. My eyes were glued to the screen. And how about that pickin’ too? Willie doesn’t usually fall in the conversation of country music’s great guitarists (his guitar Trigger is probably more famous than his skills), but damn can he pick.

The whole video experience was too good and showed the principle that speaking songs can let the lyrics shine.


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