"Me and Merle got a new album coming out called Django and Jimmie and the title track is about Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers," said Willie Nelson. "Both of those guys were very influential in both of our careers."
According to Merle Haggard, there's "new songs, a couple of classics and Willie sang like he was a teenager."
For Django and Jimmie, Willie Nelson's sixth studio album release for Legacy since 2012, the legendary singer-songwriter joined forces with longtime friend and collaborator Merle Haggard to reignite the musical chemistry that made the pair's Pancho & Lefty a honky-tonk blockbuster and America's #1 Country Album following its release in January 1983.
Driven by a title track penned by Townes Van Zandt (and arguably the songwriter's most familiar song), the critically-acclaimed top-selling Pancho & Lefty solidified the reputations of both Willie and Merle as among the most formidable and influential artists in outlaw country music while topping the Billboard Country charts for seven non-consecutive weeks between April and October 1983.
The success of Pancho & Lefty opened the doors for a number of successful follow-up projects including 1987's Seashores Of Old Mexico album, 2007's double album Last Of The Breed with Ray Price, and the Merle Haggard-penned "A Horse Called Music" (the lead track on 2012's Heroes, Willie Nelson's first album for Legacy).
Helmed by Nelson's longtime producer, collaborator and friend Buddy Cannon, Django and Jimmie premieres 14 brand-new studio recordings including: "Django and Jimmie," a dual tribute to jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers, country music's mythic "Singing Brakeman"; the reflective and meditative "Live This Long"; "Missing Ol' Johnny Cash," an homage to country music's original Man in Black featuring guest vocals from Bobby Bare; a sublime interpretation of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"; and the future outlaw country classic "Unfair Weather Friend," written by rising songsmiths Marla Cannon-Goodman (Buddy Cannon's daughter) and Ward Davis.
A legendary country music producer and songwriter in his own right, Buddy helped pen five of the album's tracks, including "It's All Going To Pot" (a rollicking anthem for the emerging 21st century cannabis culture) and four cowrites with Willie: "Alice In Hulaland," "It's Only Money," "Where Dreams Come To Die," and "Driving The Herd."
Among the 14 essential recordings on Django and Jimmie, Nelson and Haggard each pay musical tribute to the other through heartfelt solo performances: Willie singing Merle's "Somewhere Between" and Merle covering Willie's "Family Bible."
Willie sums up the duo's new collaboration simply saying, "It's good music, I got a good feeling about it."
1. Django and Jimmie – written by Jimmy Melton and Jeff Prince
2. It’s All Going To Pot – written by Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson and Larry Shell
3. Unfair Weather Friend - written by Marla Cannon-Goodman and Ward Davis
4. Missing Ol’ Johnny Cash - written by Merle Haggard
5. Live This Long – written by Shawn Camp and Marv Green
6. Alice In Hulaland - written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
7. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright - written by Bob Dylan
8. Family Bible – written by Walter M. Breeland, Paul F. Buskirk, and Claude Gray
9. It’s Only Money - written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
10. Swinging Doors - written by Merle Haggard
11. Where Dreams Come To Die - written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
12. Somewhere Between – written by Merle Haggard
13. Driving The Herd - written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
14. The Only Man Wilder Than Me - written by Merle Haggard
In related news, Willie Nelson's new memoir It's a Long Story (with David Ritz) arrives on May 5.
Nelson grew up in the depths of the Great Depression. He was born in 1933 and raised by his grandparents in the small farm town of Abbott, Texas, population just 300. He began singing in dance halls and honky-tonks at the age of 13 to escape the brutal work of picking cotton in the fields of Texas.
But Nelson was destined for greatness despite the struggles he faced along the way. More than a half-century ago, Nelson found his voice and a devout audience, and firmly established himself as a songwriter. He went on to write some of the most popular and enduring songs of all time, including "On the Road Again," "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," "Crazy," "Night Life," and "Funny How Time Slips Away," and to record classics like "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Bring Me Sunshine," and "Always on My Mind."
On the verge of turning 82, Nelson leaves no stone unturned as he shares his full story. From his drive to write music and poetry to the women in his life; from his collaborations to his monumental tax troubles and how he logistically and spiritually prevailed, to the founding of Farm Aid and his recollections of the artists who played and how they raised the consciousness of the entire world-every unforgettable moment is recounted.
Here, you'll read about the candid history of Nashville in the '60s, where he failed to fit the mold of the established Nashville Sound, and about his reinvention in the '70s, when he moved back to Texas and found a way to forge a musical bond between the hippies and the rednecks, marking the birth of progressive country music. Nelson also delves into his history with alcohol and tobacco abuse, leading to his five-decade-long use of marijuana and his advocacy for its benefits-from meditation to medicine.
The book includes Nelson's never-before-told stories behind the making of his most successful records: Yesterday's Wine, Phases and Stages, Shotgun Willie, and Stardust. He also shares memorable portraits of his close friends and collaborators Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Price, and Waylon Jennings. He tells road stories about crisscrossing the world with the Highwaymen-Nelson, Jennings, Cash and Kristofferson-as they enriched the world with their powerful brew of American roots music.
Nelson is an American singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. He spends his time between Austin, Texas, and Maui, Hawaii.
David Ritz is the only four-time winner of the Gleason Music Book Award. He won the 2013 ASCAP Timothy White award for outstanding musical biography for his book with Buddy Guy. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife.
The audiobook version with the Introduction read by Willie Nelson will be available from Hachette Audio on May 5.
IT'S A LONG STORY
By Willie Nelson
with David Ritz
Little, Brown and Company
May 5, 2015
Hardcover | $30.00