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For the love of music, The Hag, Willie refuse to slow down

Jeffrey Remz  |  March 27, 2015

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are senior citizens by anyone's stretch of the imagination. Nelson is hitting 82 next month and the Hag is 77.

But don't think these guys are slowing down any time soon. Of course, anyone who has followed Willie's career knows that. He seems to be putting out more music than anyone, and I do mean anyone.

Last year, for example, Nelson released "Band of Brothers" in June and "December Day," an album with sister Bobbie, in December. That follows two original albums in 2013.

These are not a bunch of repackaged, previously released albums designed to squeeze every last greenback out of Nelson's catalogue. Instead, Nelson keeps it fresh and puts out quality music.

Haggard, unfortunately, has not been so active. His last disc of original material was "Working in Tennessee" in 2011.

Nelson has maintained an extremely heavy touring schedule year after year as well. Hag still tours, albeit less so.

But now comes the excellent news that Nelson and Haggard are combining forces again. "Django and Jimmie" will be the new disc from the two coming out at a date to be determined on Legacy. Nelson announced the album on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at South by Southwest festival last week.

The title is a reference to Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers. Reinhardt was a major influence on Nelson, while once upon a time, Haggard released a Rodgers tribute disc.

Appropriate for the two of them, the first single is "It's All Going to Pot," which will be out April 20. Nelson sang some of it to Kimmel with a lot of double entendres.

"It's all going to pot, whether we like it or not. As far as I can tell the world's gone to hell, and we're sure gonna miss it a lot. All of the whiskey in Lynchburg, TN just couldn't hit the spot. I've got $100 bill you can keep them pills friend 'cause it's all going to pot."

Well, on second thought, one senses it was not happenstance. Wink, wink, nod, nod.

While we have no idea how the music will be, it's great to hear that the two are teaming up again. They released "Pancho & Lefty" in 1983 with the title track written by Townes Van Zandt. They put out a 1987 disc called "Seashores of Old Mexico" and released a third album together with the late Ray Price, "Last of the Breed," in 2007. The three tour behind that album.

In this day and age where folks like Nelson and Haggard are typically long-time golden mouldies and put out to pasture, they forge on despite no hope of commercial airplay. One presumes they're doing it for the chance to record together and hopefully tour together. Maybe they're just doing it for the love of making music.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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