Willie Nelson sings about his own mortality

Willie Nelson performs at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St Louis, Missour
Willie Nelson performs at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St Louis, Missour

Willie Nelson is now in the habit of releasing a new album just before his birthday and today, three days ahead of his 85th year, he is on the roster with a fresh collection of tracks, under the title Last Man Standing.

Last year, Willie’s solo album God’s Problem Child was released a day before his 84th birthday and it quickly topped the Billboard country albums’ chart in the States.

Last Man Standing continues on Willie’s recurring theme of mortality with the little Texan contemplating friends and country music buddies, like Merle Haggard and George Jones, he’s lost and wondering who will go next. The album comes with a video showing him recording in the studio with his band members, who include sons Lukas and Micah.

The album reunites Willie with long-time collaborator Buddy Cannon, who co-wrote seven of the 13 tracks on last year’s project. This time, they share the credits on all 11 for the album, which Cannon once again produced. Cannon also produced last year’s Willie and the Boys, a collection of songs Nelson recorded with sons Lukas and Micah.

Willie’s health over recent months have caused concern for family and fans, leading him to cancel all concerts in February. Approaching 85, the punishing schedule of concert and recording work has undoubtedly taken its toll. However, his management confirm he’s recovered enough to resume touring and they expect a busy spring and summer season, the highlight of which will be Willie’s annual ‘Fourth of July Picnic’ in Austin, a huge crowd-puller in the Texas “country music capital”.

The track list for the new album is: Last Man Standing, Don’t Tell Noah, Bad Breath, Me and You, Something You Get Through, Ready to Roar, Heaven Is Closed, I Ain’t Got Nothin’, She Made My Day, I’ll Try to Do Better Next Time and Very Far to Crawl.

Whither Willie’s future, his classics will always resonate - Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, The Party’s Over, On the Road Again, Good Hearted Woman, and City of New Orleans.