Legendary country icon Willie Nelson has a new disc, and it's set to break out of the gate on May 15 on Legacy Recordings. Heroes has already created a “buzz” online thanks in part to the recent unveiling of a statue of Nelson in Austin, Texas. The event took place on April 20, also known as 4/20. Nelson has been arrested for possession of marijuana, and has advocated for its legislation. The event organizers apparently didn’t clue in to the significance of the date. However, once they realized it, they scheduled the statue’s unveiling to coincide with the 4:20 p.m. light up as a nod to Nelson’s pastime. After the speeches, Nelson performed a song from Heroes called “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”
LISTEN: “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” Nelson and featuring Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson.
Nelson has been performing the new song in concert since last summer. It was intended to be the title track of the new album but, as Nelson describes in this video, he later decided on a more conservative approach with Heroes:
Other notable guest artists on the album include Merle Haggard, Billy Joe Shaver, Sheryl Crow, Ray Price and Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah. The project was produced by Buddy Cannon. This is Nelson’s first release with Legacy, which is the catalogue division of Sony Music Entertainment. The deal was announced in February. Nelson will be involved in future archival projects with Legacy that will highlight his musical career and bring to light previously unreleased material.
“I'm really happy to be back home with Sony Music,” said Nelson in the press release. “We have been partners for many years; all the way back to Pamper Music and Tree Music. We share a great history, and I'm looking forward to many more years together.”
“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” is one of three new Nelson compositions on the album. There are cover songs included as well, spanning several generations. The newer ones include a rendition of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” that Nelson originally sang in a stop-motion Chipotle commercial about sustainable agriculture.
As well, Nelson performs “Just Breathe” from Pearl Jam’s 2009 disc Backspacer.
There are more traditional cover songs included on the album: “My Window Faces the South” from the ’30s, and from the ’40s there are “My Home in San Antone” and “Cold War With You.”
- “A Horse Called Music,” featuring Merle Haggard and Lukas Nelson
- “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” with Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson
- “That’s All There is to This Song”
- “No Place to Fly” with Lukas Nelson
- “Every Time he Drinks he Thinks of Her,” with Lukas Nelson
- “Come On Up to the House,” with Lukas Nelson and Sheryl Crow
- “Hero,” featuring Billy Joe Shaver and Jamey Johnson
- “My Window Faces the South,” with Lukas Nelson
- “The Sound of Your Memory,” with Lukas Nelson
- “Cold War With You,” featuring Lukas Nelson and Ray Price
- “Just Breathe,” with Lukas Nelson
- “My Home in San Antone,” with Lukas Nelson
- “Come on Back Jesus,” featuring Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson
- “The Scientist”
on May 18, 2012