Willie Nelson can seldom do wrong in our book. Today, he released his cover of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe,” which is featured on his May 15 album, “Heroes” (listen here, via Rolling Stone). We already heard his interpretation of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” on a Chipotle commercial during the Super Bowl.
At 78, Nelson seems to be entering into a new stage of his career where there’s another layer of reinvention going on. Although an absolutely wonderful songwriter (he did write “Crazy,” afterall), he’s also always been a strong interpreter of material, including, of course, his legendary standards album, “Stardust.”
On “Heroes,” the first album under Nelson’s new deal with Sony Legacy, he blends covers with originals, as well as revisits some of his past material, including “A Horse Called Music” with Merle Haggard. Fellow pot-lover Snoop Dogg joins him on “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” also featuring Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson.
His take on “Just Breathe,” which originally appeared on PJ’s 2009 “Backspacer,” keeps the steady calm of the original with some lovely harmonica added. His son, Lukas, also provides some nice harmonies. (As we reported yesterday, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder has postponed his April solo tour due to nerve damage).
Would Pearl Jam approve? What do you think?
“Heroes” track listing
1. ‘A Horse Called Music’
2. ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’
3. ‘That’s All There Is to This Song’
4. ‘No Place To Fly’
5. ‘Every Time He Drinks, He Thinks of Her’
6. ‘Come on Up to The House’
8. ‘My Window Faces the South’
9. ‘The Sound of Your Memory’
10. ‘Cold War With You’
11. ‘Just Breathe’