Releasing a new album for his birthday is becoming an annual tradition for Willie Nelson, who announced Friday morning that his next LP, Last Man Standing, will arrive April 27th, just days before he turns 85.
Nelson’s 2017 solo album God’s Problem Child dropped one day before his 84th birthday on April 28th and quickly topped the Billboard Country Albums chart. Last Man Standing continues that collection’s theme of mortality, with the spritely title track’s cheeky opening line, “I don’t want to be the last man standing. Oh wait a minute, maybe I do.” Yet again, Nelson finds himself contemplating the friends he’s lost and wondering who will go next, with the sepia-toned video for “Last Man Standing” showing him recording in the studio with his band members.
Last Man Standing reunites the Red Headed Stranger with his longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon. While the pair co-wrote seven of the 13 tracks on God’s Problem Child, they share the credits on all 11 for this album, which Cannon once again produced. Cannon also manned the controls on last fall’s Willie and the Boys, a collection of songs Nelson recorded with his sons Lukas and Micah.
Concerns over Nelson’s health, which he expertly satirized on the God’s Problem Child track “Still Not Dead,” have reemerged this winter as he was forced to cancel all of his February concerts due to a bout with the flu. He’s scheduled to return to the stage next month, including a headlining set at the 2018 Luck Reunion, held at his ranch outside Austin, Texas, during South By Southwest.
The full track list for Willie Nelson’s Last Man Standing:
1. “Last Man Standing”
2. “Don’t Tell Noah”
3. “Bad Breath”
4. “Me and You”
5. “Something You Get Through”
6. “Ready to Roar”
7. “Heaven Is Closed”
8. “I Ain’t Got Nothin'”
9. “She Made My Day”
10. “I’ll Try to Do Better Next Time”
11. “Very Far to Crawl”