For the first time in almost three years, Willie Nelson will release a collection of all-new material. God's Problem Child, out April 28th, the day before the Country Music Hall of Famer turns 84 years old, includes seven songs co-penned by Nelson and his longtime collaborator and producer, Buddy Cannon. Closing the album is "He Won't Ever Be Gone," written by Gary Nicholson as a tribute to the country legend's longtime friend and frequent singing partner, Merle Haggard.
The LP's title cut, co-written by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, includes vocals by both writers as well as Leon Russell, marking one of the musician's final recordings before his death last November. In addition to recording together, Russell was the first person to affix his signature to "Trigger," Nelson's ubiquitous guitar.
The album's opening cut, "Little House on the Hill," was written by Lyndel Rhodes, Buddy Cannon's 92-year-old mother. When video featuring Rhodes hearing Nelson sing her song for the first time hit the Internet last fall, it immediately went viral and has since racked up nearly one million views. Watch the video below.
Last month, Nelson shared the lyrics of another of the album's tracks, the politically motivated "Delete and Fast Forward," quoting a portion of the song's chorus during a conversation with Rolling Stone: "Delete and fast-forward, my friend/ The elections are over and nobody wins/ But don't worry too much, you'll go crazy again/ Delete and fast forward, my friend." He also jokes that the idea for a tune called "Still Not Dead" came from the fact that he is still not dead.
"I got up two or three times in the last couple of years and read the paper where I'd passed away," he says. "So I just wanted to let 'em know that's a lot of horseshit."
The release of God's Problem Child, which will be available on CD, 12" vinyl LP and digitally, will be accompanied by the opportunity to packages that will include music, t-shirts and more, available via www.pledgemusic.com/willienelson.
The 11-time Grammy winner is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin. The Grammys air live February 12th on CBS.
God's Problem Child track listing and songwriter credits:
1. "Little House on the Hill" (Lyndel Rhodes)
2. "Old Timer" (Donnie Fritz/Lenny LeBlanc)
3. "True Love" (Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon)
4. "Delete and Fast Forward" (Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon)
5. "A Woman's Love (Mike Reid/Sam Hunter)
6. "Your Memory Has a Mind Of Its Own" (Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon)
7. "Butterfly" (Sonny Throckmorton/Mark Sherrill)
8. "Still Not Dead" (Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon)
9. "God's Problem Child" (Jamey Johnson/Tony Joe White)
10. "It Gets Easier" (Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon)
11. "Lady Luck" (Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon)
12. "I Made a Mistake" (Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon)
13. "He Won't Ever Be Gone" (Gary Nicholson)
Pre-order page with sample of title track:
Willie's original albums have been good even at this later stage of his career. I'm looking forward to this one.