Update (3/23): Willie Nelson has delayed the release of his upcoming album First Rose of Spring until July 3rd.
Willie Nelson will turn 87 on April 29th — on April 24th, he’ll release his 70th album. Titled First Rose of Spring, the record features two new songs written by Nelson with producer Buddy Cannon, and Nelson’s interpretations of tracks penned by Toby Keith, Chris Stapleton, and his longtime friend and contemporary Billy Joe Shaver. The country legend, whose last album was Ride Me Back Home, tackles Keith’s “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” Stapleton’s “Our Song,” and Shaver’s “We Are the Cowboys.”
Ahead of the release, Nelson shares the title track today. It’s a mournful ballad but shot through with unfailing hope, written by Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin, and Mark Beeson.
Elsewhere on the album, he interprets Roy Clark’s signature song “Yesterday When I Was Young” and Pete Graves’ “Just Bummin’ Around.”
Nelson, who weathered the death of his longtime drummer and best friend Paul English last week, will play with Stapleton on his All-American Road Show on March 14th in Arlington, Texas, and on April 25th at “A Concert for Kentucky” in Lexington, Kentucky. Nelson will headline the Luck Reunion at his ranch outside of Austin during South by Southwest on March 19th.
Willie Nelson’s First Rose of Spring track list:
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)