Colter Wall’s New Album “Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs” Out This Summer

Colter Wall’s Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs

Sometimes you just want to stretch out after a long days work and have a beer and daydream about simpler times. 24-year-old Canadian crooning cowboy Colter Wall writes and performs songs perfectly suited for such an activity. Now more songs of dusty trails and scenic Canadian locals are on the way when Wall releases his third album late this summer. “Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs” is slated for a August 28th release as the follow-up to his 2018 album “Songs of the Plains.”

Wall rounded up his hard-working touring band — Patrick Lyons (pedal steel, dobro, mandolin), Jake Groves (harmonica), Jason Simpson (bass), and Aaron Goodrich (drums); joined by Emily Gimble on piano and Doug Moreland on fiddle — and recorded and self-produced “Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs” at Adam Odor and David Percefull’s Yellow Dog Studio in Wimberley, Texas.

Ahead of the album’s release, Wall has shared a new song “Western Swing & Waltzes,” a more relatively upbeat offering than his past faire.

Pre-order “Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs” here.

“Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs” Track listing:
1. Western Swing & Waltzes
2. I Ride An Old Paint/Leavin’ Cheyenne
3. Big Iron
4. Henry and Sam
5. Diamond Joe
6. High and Mighty
7. Talkin’ Prairie Boy
8. Cowpoke
9. Rocky Mountain Rangers
10. Houlihans at the Holiday Inn

Charley Crockett Announces Summer Release of “Welcome To Hard Times”

Charley Crockett
Photo credit: Bobby Cochran

Neo-trad Texas troubadour Charley Crockett just gave us another reason to look forward to summer. He’s just announced his next studio album, “Welcome To Hard Times,” will be released July 31st on Thirty Tigers.

“Welcome To Hard Times” is produced by Mark Neill (The Black Keys, Old 97s) with songwriting contributions from Pat McLaughlin (Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Delbert McClinton) and Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), “Welcome To Hard Times” is described as a “genre-bending mix of classic country, psychedelic spaghetti western and rhythm & blues. It may draw on heritage sounds, but this aptly-named collection perfectly fits these troubled times.”

Crockett’s vision for the record seems fatalistic if hopeful, “This record is for the folks who feel like everything’s fixed. If you think you’re playing a rigged game, you’re right. If it seems like all the cards are marked in advance, they are. But you still gotta roll the dice, even when you know they’re loaded.“

Crockett released the album title track, and it’s accompanying video, co-directed by Crockett and Bobby Cochran, which premiered today with American Songwriter Magazine.(watch below) Shot on location in the Sierra Nevadas, it will feature as part of a series of videos Crockett is shooting and directing over the next month, where he will play the same character walking alone through isolated landscapes in the American wilderness. Discussing the video concept, Crockett stated, “Whether it’s out of admiration or fear, the whole world contemplates what the west means. When folks ask me what I’m really after, I guess that’s it. Just to drift through it all my days. I’m making films that visually represent this land just as my music describes it in sound.”

Crockett is no stranger to hard times. In early January 2019, while at a routine doctor’s checkup. Crockett was diagnosed with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, a congenital heart condition, as well as Aortic Valve disease, and he had to immediately undergo life-saving heart surgery. Crockett believes that this experience inspired him to make the record that he truly wanted.

Crockett stated, “I look at that scar and all I can think about is the limited amount of time I’ve got left, I wanted to make an album that would try to reclaim the conversation about country music.” Crockett added, “My entering country music has been controversial, to say the least but I believe country fans have more eclectic tastes than they are given credit for. My country music is inspired by what I played in the subway car so I could eat, in the French Quarter in ragtag bands. I sat in pastures on farms across this country putting it all together into my own sound. I don’t like labels but if that ain’t country I don’t know what is.”

Crockett grew up in poverty and spent time living homeless and busking making his way from New Orleans to the subway platforms of New York City. Crockett also lost his sister to addiction and he is a twice-convicted felon and was falsely implicated in his own brother’s crimes, “I’ve gotten more than my fair share of raw deals in my thirty-six years. But I don’t let hard-luck own me.” Crockett stated, adding, “I’ve been fortunate enough to see things that a person from my background is never meant to see, and that’s worth something. It turns out that a wandering boy can learn a whole lot out there getting in trouble. Especially if he learns from his mistakes. I wouldn’t take anything back that’s happened to me. I’m not the best and I damn sure ain’t the first. But I’m different, and in music, that’s everything.”

In spite of these challenges, Crockett has remained steadfast and persistent in his music career, releasing a catalog of critically respected self-released albums including “The Valley” and “Lil G.L.’s Blue Bonanza”, which garnered critical acclaim.

Without the support of a major record label deal, Crockett has established himself as a breakthrough independent artist and the master of his own success. Generating over 36 million total streams across his song catalog, growing a grassroots following from his sold-out shows across America and Europe and making debuts at Stagecoach Festival, the Grand Ole Opry, and Newport Folk Festival.

Welcome To Hard Times was recorded in Valdosta, Georgia at Mark Neil’s studio. Mark shared Charley’s vision to make “a dark gothic country record.” Neil stated, “It was a pleasure to have been involved in what I believe to be the best gulf and western country record ever made.” The album was recorded with a studio band consisting of Kullen Fox, Colin Colby, Alexis Sanchez, Mario Valdez, Nathan Fleming, Billy Horton and Mackenzie Rosser.

Preorder “Welcome To Hard Times.”

Welcome To Hard Times tracklist:
Welcome To Hard Times
Run Horse Run
Don’t Cry
Tennessee Special
Fool Somebody Else
Lily My Dear
Wreck Me
Heads You Win
Rainin’ In My Heart
Paint It Blue
Black Jack County Crain
The Man That Time Forgot
The Poplar Tree

How About? Sarah Jarosz’s New Album “World On The Ground”

Sarah Jarosz
Sarah Jarosz

With less than 3 weeks until ‘World On The Ground’ is released Sarah Jarosz has been busy on her social platforms offering fans 3 songs from the album and some media interviews including her tips on making sourdough bread.

So here’s everything I know about the new release from Sarah Jarosz.

The Title:
Sarah Jarosz’s new album is titled “World On The Ground.” It’s her first new album in four years.

Release Date:
“World On The Ground” is due out on June 5, is available to pre-order and pre-save via a number of platforms. Those who purchased the album, either on vinyl or CD, as well as some sweet bundles found at Jarosz’s online storefront.

Record Label:
Jarosz’s new album is on Rounder Records. This is her first release for the label.

Jarosz worked with John Leventhal (Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello,) and the album was recorded in his Manhattan home studio. Jarosz credits Leventhal with helping inspire her new songwriting direction toward more storytelling.

The Album Cover:

Sarah Jarosz - "World On The Ground"
Sarah Jarosz – “World On The Ground”

Released Songs:
Jarosz has released three songs in the runup to the “World On The Ground” release. “Johnny,” “Orange and Blue,” and “Maggie” (hear them below.)

The Songs
“World On The Ground” will contain 10 songs. The songs released so far, and in as covered in interviews, take on more of a protagonist narrative form, Of the song “Maggie” Jarosz recalls it coming to her soon after attending her 10-year high school reunion in Wimberley, Texas,

“It’s is the only one that’s actually based on a real friend I’ve lost touch with…” Jarosz explains. “I was probably complaining about never being in one place, but she said, ‘That’s all I want.’ So the song is about her, but it’s also about the greater thing: it’s about having compassion for someone who doesn’t have the means to get out of their circumstances but still has the dreams.”

World On The Ground Tracklist:

Pay It No Mind
Orange and Blue
I’ll Be Gone
What Do I Do
Empty Square
Little Satchel

Pre-order “World On The Ground” now

Keep up with Sarah Jarosz:

Official Site

Album Review: American Aquarium – “Lamentations”

American Aquarium

It is an unfortunate and unforeseen turn of events that one of the most anticipated albums of the year would be released during a worldwide pandemic that has put the entire music industry on its heels.

B.J. Barham, principal songwriter, frontman and the last original member of North Carolina’s American Aquarium,
has been tilling the thematic fields of adversity and resilience over the band’s 15-year existence. Historical hardships of beleaguered farmers at the mercy of king tobacco, disappearing jobs, and a flood of opioids used to chemically salve the indignity. Demons of doubt, drink and destruction have yielded a bitter fruit who’s popularity with fans proves a trope of country music. Misery loves company.

But for many (most?) of the fans, this has been misery by proxy. But no more.

We now find ourselves in strange, troubled, and tribal times. Politicians exploit our fears and confusion for personal agendas, the media baits us to rage click-and-shares in a culturally corrosive model that, while momentarily lucrative, undermines the very foundation of a free press. Then there’s big tech holding the puppet stings of both.

In all this ‘Lamentations’ is delivered. The quasi-title track opener “Me + Mine (Lamentations)” is a bleak recap of Barham’s aforementioned themes. Had times, harder people, and the hollow futility of looking to God or the American Dream for remedy.

There is a momentary ray of hope in the blue-collar romance of “Before the Dogwood Blooms” and the boot-stomping bootstrapped “The Luckier You Get” celebrating self-reliance and grit resulting in a better day.

But the clouds return on “Six Years Come September” with its pedal-steel yearn telling of a family tragedy. “The Day I Learned to Lie to You” is a piano-led lament of regret that marches toward a horn and organ swell like
a Crescent City funeral.

Unfortunately, all that populist goodwill get’s pissed away with one song. “A Better South,” the most politically charged track on the album takes aim at the very same people the other cuts other songs empathize with by rendering then into one-dimensional caricatures.

“Down here we’re still fighting for all the wrong reasons
Old men still defend these monuments to treason
To the right side of history, we’re always late
Still arguing the difference between heritage and hate”

Where the earlier songs set up a context why a proud people being stripped of their dignity might reflexively cling to heritage as a weapon against cultural elimination, “A Better South” ditches all that goodwill and takes up an adolescent’s “okay boomer” argument.

“I’m sick and tired of listening to Daddy’s generation
The byproduct of war and segregation
Still thinking they can tell us of what to do
Who can live where and who can love who”

Sure it’s not easy to plumb the depths of humanity and tell it in a song, but Barham has shown on many occasions that he could be just the man to do it. Instead, he gets caught in what Patterson Hood coined as “The Southern Thing,” the existential friction of confronting the past and excusing or even justifying the darker elements by wholesale that an, in this case, surrender to the contemporary mobs that would be just fine erasing the Mason-Dixon blemish as longs the gourmet BBQ trucks stay open.


Listen Up! Gillian Welch Releases New Song For Mother’s Day

Gillian Welch debuts the song “Happy Mother’s Day” in celebration of the holiday. This release is on Acony Records, the independent record label she and partner David Rawlings founded in 2001, and comes from a newly rediscovered cache of demos and home recordings from the early 2000s. “We can’t always be with the ones we love, but that can’t stop us from saying ‘I love you,’” Gillian says. “I wrote this song one May when I was far away and couldn’t be with my mom on Mother’s Day. Then I called and sang it into her answering machine when I knew everybody’d be sitting down to eat.

Here is the original home demo for the song, recorded on a portable reel to reel.”

Listen to “Happy Mother’s Day” here.

Listen Up! Nathaniel Rateliff “Willie’s Birthday Song”

shotgun willie

Today the honorable Texas Yoda turns 87. This is no small feat for anyone let alone a musician that has spent most of his working life on the road. In fact, he’s so indelibly tied to life on the road that one of his best known and most popular songs tells the tales of those asphalt escapades.

When the unthinkable (by most of us) happened and COVID-19 resulted in a nationwide lockdown impacting small businesses, in general, and specifically, the music industry – musicians, venues, and associated staff, for the first time in recent memory (not involving illness) Willie was off the road.

This worried me. COVID-19 has been documented a higher mortality rate in older folks, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Add to that being denied the opportunity to indulge in a profession you love (touring), and the passing of John Prine (and diagnosis of many others) and my worried mind goes to Willie.

Seeing Willie and his son Lukas MCing the recent 4/20 showcase brought me a lot of relief. Aside from some of the usual characteristics you’d expect of a Willie 87 year-old man he appeared happy and engaged as the artists lined up to sing his praises as well as some of their very fine tunes.

One of those artists was Nathaniel Ratelif who did a wonderful solo acoustic version of a new song created just for the occasion “Willie’s Birthday Song.”

Now the cut has been formally released and it sounds even better. Done in a time signature that will be familiar to any Willie fan. The video was shot in isolation, the video features performances and as it moves along stars move in and out o feature impressive array support from of long-time of Willie’s family sister Bobbie Nelson on piano, and famed harmonica player Mickey Raphael to some of the next generation Lukas and Micah Nelson, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Nikki Lane, and Courtney Marie Andrews

Rateliff finished the song on March 12th when he arrived home in Denver after postponing the And It’s Still Alright tour. Following social distancing guidelines, Rateliff assembled a talented group of family and friends for the song who filmed their performances for the Rett Rogers.

The song was clearly one done out of love and appreciation from all those involved. It ends joyously with a snippet of Willie being served a chocolate birthday cake and grinning from ear-to-ear.

“Willie’s Birthday Song” will appear on the B-side of a limited edition 7” that will be released this summer exclusively at online merch shop. The A-side will be a duet by Rateliff and Willie, which will at that time be available digitally. Proceeds will support Farm Aid, whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land, and StrongHearts Native Helpline, which confronts issues of domestic violence in the Native American community.

Go bless Willie Nelson and Happy birthday!

The Jayhawks Return With “XOXO” Out July 10

Jayhawks -  XOXO

Legendary Minneapolis pop-roots band The Jayhawks have announced their new album XOXO will release on July 10 via Sham/Thirty Tigers. Reportedly their most diverse and wide-ranging group of songs to date, XOXO marks a new era in collaboration, with songwriting and lead vocal contributions from all four longtime band members – Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, Karen Grotberg, and Tim O’Reagan. Along with the announcement, The Jayhawks have released a new video with Louris performing a stripped-down version of “Living In A Bubble”, a timely song of the current lockdown era that laments the problematic nature of our ratings, click=bait driven “news” environment.

“Living In A Bubble’ lyrically is a reaction to the 24-hour news cycle and how the media can fan the flames of fear if one lets it,” says Louris. “It is also a commentary about data collection, Big Brother, and our obsession with devices, while never being truly present in the here and now. Musically it is an homage to the great Harry Nilsson, and is driven by the amazing piano playing of Karen Grotberg.”

Recorded over two weeks holed up together at the secluded Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN, as well as at Flowers Studio, founded by their friend and Minneapolis music stalwart the late Ed Ackerson.

With XOXO The Jayhawks camaraderie is at the heart and soul of the 12 songs, bringing an injection of confidence and energy to The Jayhawks’ signature harmonies, infectious melodies, and masterful musicianship.

“It was time to open things up,” explains Louris. “The Jayhawks are a true band, one where everyone’s equal, and we wanted to make a record that really reflected that.” Elaborating on the process, Perlman says, “Some songs we molded together from scratch, but others had been fully written by one or the other of us. We didn’t worry too much about who penned what, because after all these years of playing together, everything we do just naturally comes out sounding like a Jayhawks song.”

Watch Out! Amy Black With The Blind Boys of Alabama – “I Have A Choice”

Amy Black With The Blind Boys of Alabama
The title of the new song by Singer-songwriter Amy Black is “I Have A Choice.”

A choice to do what? “To turn your back on hate and pride and clothe yourself with love and joy.”

Black explains, “I wrote this song because I wanted to remind myself that I always have a choice of who I’m going to be, how I’m going to act, and how I’m going to respond to whatever life throws my way. I was inspired when I thought of my mom and dad and many others who came before me. It’s encouraging to look at the choices they made, and are still making, to live in kindness and love. I can’t control what others do, I can’t even control my own mind, but I do get to control how I live.”

When Black wrote the song, she imagined one of her greatest influences, Mavis Staples, singing it (and she would still love to see that happen). But upon deciding to record it herself, she immediately knew who would be perfect to join the project — Blind Boys of Alabama. Black had opened a few shows for the fabled gospel act and had the chance to sing with them on stage. After a Washington D.C. show, she sang her song to Blind Boy Jimmy Carter in the green room and he exclaimed, “That sounds like a Blind Boys’ song!” It was all she needed to start the wheels in motion.

Once she secured fan funding for the project, Black enlisted Nashville producer and guitar maverick Joe McMahan to co-produce, engineer, mix and play guitar. She lined up a stellar group of Nashville musicians: Jimmy Matt Rolland on organ and piano (Todd Snider, Bobby Bare Junior), Robbie Crowell on bass (Midland, Jim Lauderdale, Deer Tick), and Josh Hunt on drums (Alison Krauss and Union Station). They weren’t in Memphis, but gospel was in the air.

Once the music was complete, Black met up with Blind Boys of Alabama while they were on tour with Marc Cohn in New England. They rendezvoused at the Wellspring Studio in Acton, Massachusetts, on an off day and recorded the song. The studio was just a few miles from where Black lived as a teen when her family relocated from Alabama to Massachusetts.

No stranger to studios, Black has released four albums in six years. After touring extensively in 2017, she returned to her current home of East Nashville and shifted focus (she now teaches mindfulness and yoga, in addition to playing music).

“After pushing so hard for years, I’m not in any rush to put out a new album. I’m allowing some space to see what’s next. With this song, I really feel like I have a message to share that’s helpful. I put it out there as a project and it got some great support so I moved ahead. It’s powerful to connect with how much choice we have at any given moment. I hope this song can help a few folks to find that – and continue to remind me!”

Hear the powerful song below.

Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton Live Recordings To Be Released This Spring

Doc Watson

Yes, the shiny new stuff is fun to look forward to. But we do well to remember the elders that paved the sonic highways leading to the music we still love today.

Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton are just such pioneering elders. Watson went on to become a legend in the late 50’s early 60s folk scene and his guitar style influenced luminaries as Bob Dylan to Ry Cooder and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. They were part of a wave that brought the austere aesthetic of the hills and plains to the coffee house youch hungry for something “real.”

On May 29 Smithsonian Folkways will give us a chance to hear what those caffeinated kids were experiencing. “Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton” is the title of the upcoming new album of old-time music produced from archival recordings consisting of largely unheard tapes that were recorded at Doc Watson’s two earliest concerts, presented in New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1962. Those shows were among the rare appearances Doc’s father-in-law, Appalachian fiddler Gaither Carlton, made outside of North Carolina. The instrumental pieces, including Gaither’s signature tune “Double File,” include intricate musical interactions developed through years of family music-making. On the songs and ballads, Doc’s instantly recognizable baritone voice is accompanied by his own guitar and Gaither’s fiddle, or by the traditional combination of fiddle and banjo. Shortly after these recordings were made, Doc Watson embarked on a career as one of America’s premier acoustic guitarists, earning the National Medal of Arts and eight Grammy Awards.

And we’re proud to announce this on Doc Watson’s birthday!

From the presser:

It’s hard to imagine a time when the brilliant guitar playing and Appalachian roots of Doc Watson weren’t a part of the American musical fabric. A famed artist in his day and a continuing influence on American music, Watson happened into the music industry much by accident, “discovered” by noted folklorist Ralph Rinzler in the early 1960s when he was mainly playing rockabilly tunes on the electric guitar near his home in tiny Deep Gap, North Carolina. Rinzler convinced Watson that audiences around the country were interested in the older music of Appalachia, and the nation soon fell in love with his heartfelt, powerful singing and his inimitable acoustic guitar playing. He inspired countless people to pick up the guitar and learn to flatpick the old melodies, much of this encouragement coming in person after performances. It was at the first of these shows in New York, really Watson’s first time headlining a show in the city (the previous time he’d played there he was one of two guitarists in Clarence Ashley’s band), that we get to hear this old music played by Watson and his fiddling father-in-law, Gaither Carlton. These live recordings from 1962 are to be released May 29, 2020, by Smithsonian Folkways as Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton on CD, digital, and vinyl. Most of these tracks have never been released before, and the recordings capture two masters at the height of their power, reveling in an audience that was there to listen, not just to drink and dance. It’s a moment where the rural Appalachian world of North Carolina came face to face with the urban New York world of young people desperate to learn folk music and to learn more about the Southern traditions they’d been discovering. These recordings show two very different worlds coming together, buoyed by Watson’s charming personality and his willingness to teach all who would learn.

The recordings on Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton come from two concerts in New York City in October 1962; one concert at the NYU School of Education and the other at Blind Lemon’s (a folk club in the West Village that was gone the next week). Rinzler set up the concerts as Watson’s debut in New York, but it was a young Peter Siegel, barely 18 years old, who recorded both concerts. Siegel still lives in New York, and went on to many great projects in the years after this, founding the Nonesuch Explorer Series, producing more music with Watson, becoming head of A&R for Polydor, and later producing music with Paul Siebel, Tom Paxton, Roy Buchanan, and others. But during those wintery nights in New York in 1962 he was just a teenager with a recording device, and he captured something truly special. “Today there are all these great flatpicking guitarists we know about,” Siegel says. “Clarence White, Tony Rice, all kinds of people. Billy Strings too now. At that time, nobody had ever heard a folk guitar player play like that! In folk music, the guitar was an accompanying instrument, which was usually strummed in a specific way. So when Doc showed up, it blew my mind. It blew everyone’s mind!”

The music that Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton played on these recordings is not the powerhouse virtuosic guitar style Watson would later be known for; indeed he actually plays banjo on half the tracks. “This is family music with intricate interweaving of fiddle and guitar, or fiddle and banjo,” Siegel says. “This is the music that Doc and Gaither had been playing at home for the last twenty years. On this record you can hear the older stuff, you can hear flashes of brilliant guitar playing, but that’s not what the album is about.” Gaither Carlton was himself a fiddler of great power. His stately playing reflects the Scottish and Irish roots of the music, and he knew seminal old-time fiddlers from the 78rpm era, such as fiddler GB Grayson of Grayson & Whitter. Whereas Watson grew up in a household with a record player and access to the radio, later basing much of his music on songs he discovered over the airwaves, Carlton came from an older world and learned his music from his family and friends directly in his region of Appalachia. As Siegel says, “Gaither Carlton’s playing is a lot like his personality. He was very humble and soft-spoken. Now I listen to it again, I see he’s the soul of old-time music. He just brings out the essential quality of that music tradition.”
You can hear the love from the audiences at these concerts, and you can hear the love between Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton as they play, Watson encouraging Carlton with a “Fiddle it, son!” exclamation at one point. “These recordings were made,” as Siegel says, “at a particular time in Doc’s career when he’s just figuring out that people like to hear this old-time music. He couldn’t get arrested with this music in his hometown. If you listen to parts of this album, you can hear his surprise and happiness that the audience is responding in such a way. He’s clearly having a real good time.”

Pre-order Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton.

Listen Up! Willie Nelson To Release New Album “First Rose Of Spring”

Willie Nelson's - First Rose Of Spring,

In the wake of the hard news of Willie Nelson’s long-time drummer, Paul English, passing there is some good news.

The 86 year-old country music legend will release his 70th (!!!) studio album “First Rose Of Spring” ON April 24. The album features 11 new Willie Nelson studio performances and featuring original artwork created by Willie’s son Micah, and finds Willie working again with longtime friend and producer Buddy Cannon and will feature two new songs co-written by the pair: “Blue Star” and “Love Just Laughed.”

Among the younger songwriters featured on ‘First Rose Of Spring’ are Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin & Mark Beeson (“First Rose Of Spring”) and Marla Cannon-Goodman, Casey Beathard & Don Sampson (“Stealing Home”).

Alongside his new compositions on the album, Willie pays musical tribute to a variety of pop and country songwriters and performers, interpreting songs penned by Toby Keith (“Don’t Let The Old Man In”), Billy Joe Shaver (“We Are The Cowboys”) and Pete Graves (“Just Bummin’ Around” – a song recorded by Jimmy Dean, Dean Martin, and others).

Closing ‘First Rose Of Spring’ is Charles Aznavour’s “Hier encore,” a 1964 chanson which became an American country classic (and Roy Clark’s biggest hit) as “Yesterday When I Was Young” (English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer) in 1969 and, over the years, became a beloved standard performed by a multitude of stars including Bing Crosby, Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield, Mel Tormé, Jack Jones, Lena Horne, Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, Julio Iglesias, Johnny Mathis, Elton John and many more. A bittersweet reflection on mortality and life’s transient (and transcendent) beauty, “Yesterday When I Was Young.”

Pre-order “First Rose Of Spring” here.

Hear the elegantly poignant title song below:

The first time that he saw her
He knew everything had changed
Overnight love started blooming
Like the first rose of spring

Auburn hair like a sunrise
Sweetest smile he’d ever seen
Butterflies, they danced around her
Like the first rose of spring

Summertime would’ve never started
And wintertime would never end
She colored his life, opened his eyes
To things he’d never dream
Without the first rose of spring

Gave him children like a garden
They gave ‘em all the love they’d need
To grow up strong, she made a home
And every year he’d bring her
The first rose of spring

The last time he saw her
He knew everything had changed
He said goodbye and let the tears fall like rain
On the first rose of spring

First Rose Of Spring will be available on CD, vinyl and digital formats as well as part of exclusive merch bundles on Willie’s web store. The album’s title track and the “First Rose Of Spring” music video are being released today.

Pre-order album and hear “First Rose Of Spring” here:

Watch the video for “First Rose Of Spring” here:

An atmospheric soulful showcase of beautifully-written songs and poignant performances, First Rose Of Spring is the artist’s first new release since winning the 2020 Best Country Solo Performance Grammy Award–Willie’s 10th overall, not including his Grammy Legend and Lifetime Achievement Awards–for “Ride Me Back Home,” the title track from his 2019 Legacy Recordings release. The previous year, My Way, Willie’s musical homage to Frank Sinatra took home the Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

Premiering 11 new Willie Nelson studio performances and featuring original artwork created by Willie’s son Micah, First Rose Of Spring finds Willie working again with longtime friend and producer Buddy Cannon and debuts two new songs co-written by the pair: “Blue Star” and “Love Just Laughed.”

An intimate journey through life and love as seen through Willie’s unique perspective,
First Rose Of Spring finds the artist deep in every moment, sharing profound insights and experiences through songs he’s written and songs he loves to sing.
One of the key tracks on First Rose Of Spring is Willie’s heartfelt interpretation of “Our Song,” a new composition by contemporary country music hitmaker Chris Stapleton. Willie Nelson & Family will appear as special guests on Chris Stapleton’s “All-American Roadshow” on two big dates this year: Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on March 14 and “A Concert for Kentucky” at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky on April 25.

Willie Nelson – First Rose Of Spring
1. First Rose Of Spring (Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin & Mark Beeson)
2. Blue Star (Willie Nelson & Buddy Cannon)
3. I’ll Break Out Again Tonight (Sanger “Whitey” Shafer & Doodle Owens)
4. Don’t Let The Old Man In (Toby Keith)
5. Just Bummin’ Around (Pete Graves)
6. Our Song (Chris Stapleton)
7. We Are The Cowboys (Billy Joe Shaver)
8. Stealing Home (Marla Cannon-Goodman, Casey Beathard & Don Sampson)
9. I’m The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised (Wayne Kemp, Bobby Borchers & Mack Vickery)
10. Love Just Laughed (Willie Nelson & Buddy Cannon)
11. Yesterday When I Was Young (Hier Encore) (Charles Aznavour & Herbert Kretzmer)