“I had been on tour, and, the next thing you know, I hit the wall,” Willie Nelson tells Rolling Stone. “It turns out it’s a pretty good song.”
“The Wall,” which appears on Nelson’s forthcoming album, Band of Brothers, is a sort of mea culpa for the country icon. He apologizes for getting burnt out, lashing out at his friends and loved ones and “taking things” to deal with the pangs of road life, as a plaintive harmonica wails in the background. It’s honest and soul bearing, and, in the end, he proclaims, “the wall came down.”
The video for “The Wall,” which Rolling Stone is premiering here, collects facts from throughout Nelson’s career that illustrate all he has accomplished in his 81 years. His first song was published in 1949, and he performed live for the first time three years later. He has appeared in more than 30 movies and TV shows. Most recently, as highlighted in the video, Nelson was deemed a fifth-degree black belt – as featured in Rolling Stone’s Everything Index.
Band of Brothers contains 14 songs total, nine of which are Nelson originals, making it the singer-songwriter’s first sizable batch of new songs since his 1996 album, Spirit. “I got on kind of a writing kick,” Nelson said in a statement. “It’s good to be writing again.”
The album also features Nelson singing songs by Vince Gill (“Whenever You Come Around”), Billy Joe Shaver (“The Git Go,” a duet with Jamey Johnson) and a track called “Songwriter,” about Nelson’s occupation, by Gordie Sampson and Bill Anderson. Band of Brothers, which was helmed by frequent Nelson producer Buddy Cannon, hits stores on June 17th.