When she recently retired from the workforce after holding down a variety of jobs through the years and enjoying a 10-year stint at the Ozark Folk Center State Park, Donna Farar knew that with a little belt-tightening she could survive on her social security and modest retirement.
Her outlook became much more optimistic with the release of country music artist Chris Stapleton’s second album, which includes a song that Farar wrote and which was made famous when Willie Nelson recorded it in 1982.
The shortened title “Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning” appeared on Nelson’s Always on My Mind album, which became Billboard’s number one country album for that year. The single went to number two on the charts.
“It was fabulous,” Donna says of the time after the song’s success. She had been living in Colorado and found herself in a tough situation. “I always felt like Willie saved my life by recording the song.”
She hadn’t known that Nelson planned to record the song before his album came out, but in April of this year her co-writer called her to let her know of Stapleton’s plans. She had seen an interview in a January issue of Rolling Stone magazine where Stapleton had named her song first in a list of those he wishes he’d written. That had been very exciting to read, but was soon eclipsed by the news of the recording.
Donna describes the whole situation as a “serendipitous fairy tale.”
Stapleton’s second album “From A Room - Volume 1” is set to release May 5, but tracks are being featured one by one on the website. Donna’s song was the second one, and became available for listening last week. She said her first reaction to it was that it was “tasty” and “soulful” and she appreciates that Stapleton’s wife, Morgane sings with him on the song.
“It’s nice to hear a feminine voice,” Donna says, because it was written by a woman.
Donna’s sister Jude describes it as a “rebirth” of the song and feels it is very different from Willie Nelson’s version.
Read the complete story in the April 26, 2017 issue.