Under everything, just another human being, I don't wanna hurt, there's so much in this world to make me bleed
May 11, 2012 6:32 PM   Subscribe

Willie Nelson covering Pearl Jam's Just Breathe for his upcoming covers/collaboration album Heroes.

Album also includes:

The Scientist (Coldplay) - Warning! Chipoltle commercial (previously)
Roll Me Up - (with Snoop, Kris Kristopherson and Jamey Johnston)
Come On Up to the House (Tom Waits cover f/Sheryl Crow)
posted by holdkris99 (33 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Jesus fuck don't do that! The way you led it made me fear the worst for good ol' Willie. Thank god he's still kickin it.
posted by symbioid at 6:33 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yeah, me too. Jesus.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:35 PM on May 11, 2012

Well I guess its good that I didn't lead with the last line of the song "Hold me til I die
Meet you on the other side..." Sorry about that symbiod. We played this song (the original) at our wedding a few months ago, just in the background in a mix of other songs, but when it came on I just watched my wife as she moved around the room oblivious to my stares. And man it was the only time that I got real emotional at the wedding. She kind of razzed me a little because I never "teared-up" despite it being a pretty emotional ceremony for a lot of reasons. But I did tear up some with the song on as she moved so gracefully through the room. Luckily this Willie version wasn't out at the time or I may have completely lost it and my cover would be blown. Anyway, I will get out of my thread now.
posted by holdkris99 at 6:42 PM on May 11, 2012 [26 favorites]

I am super glad that Willie Nelson is still alive.
posted by chrchr at 6:48 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hmm. Willie needs to find a Rick Reuben... someone who'll put him and a guitar in front of a mic, that's it. Willie Nelson, despite everything he's ever done ever, is not a steel-guitar and fiddle and piano and electric bass kind of singer. He is the gentle cowboy, the wise soul at the campfire with a beat-up six-string that's seen more of life than half the hands in the firelight. Yet everyone persists in overproducing him. Jonny Cash didn't need a choir, and Willie Nelson doesn't need a steel guitar or piano.

That said, he stole The Scientist right away from Coldplay, didn't he? They can never have that song back now.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:48 PM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

Rick Reuben

Rubin, dude, with an i. Rick Reuben is, I imagine, the sandwich king of a unknown metropolis.
posted by jonmc at 6:59 PM on May 11, 2012 [9 favorites]

I would love to eat a Rick Reuben. I imagine Rick is a real fat German guy who uses a big ice cream scoop to portion out sauerkraut for his sandwiches.
posted by sanka at 7:01 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Saw him on Tuesday. He killed it. Can still play guitar.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:08 PM on May 11, 2012

Next time start with "NAO" (not an obituary) to override any subsequent obit-style language.
posted by swift at 7:22 PM on May 11, 2012

Willie Nelson needs to do some straight-up Will Oldham covers. I'm thinking either Old Jerusalem or Ohio Riverboat Song.

Either that, or Tom Waits' Whistle Down the Wind.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:23 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm also glad that he's not dead. This has been a rough couple of weeks.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:23 PM on May 11, 2012

I too thought Willie was a goner. It'll be a sad day round these parts, for sure.

If you've never been to the (sort of) recently Williefied Carl's Corner, Tx, then you owe it to yourself. Lots of overpriced but cheap Willie trinkets for purchase, plus a full-on museum staffed by a knowledgeable friend of the man himself - and it's free.
posted by item at 7:24 PM on May 11, 2012

The line that kills me in that song is:
"Oh I'm a lucky man, to count on both hands
the ones I love,..
Some folks just have one,
yeah, others, they've got none"

Makes me think of my wife and kids and friends.
I saw a while ago that he was doing this cover, and I too wish it was like those Cash/Rubin style.
posted by ShawnString at 7:30 PM on May 11, 2012

I dig Willie Nelson. His music, his voice, his presence - each has an element of honesty, humility and genuineness that is rare to find in much of anything. With the Scientist this translated. Roll me up, while fun, also translated. Even the Tom Waits song translated. Each of these songs he made his own. I could feel him. I could feel his words. They were what covers were meant to be - interpretations that have been made their own, and in doing so they are better, they are an homage to the originals as well as a piece of the singer, and a gift to the listener. They remind me of Johnny Cash's versions of Hurt and One. Both of those songs have originals that are fantastic, but Cash nails a different tone and makes each piece he owns...

And then there is Just Breathe...
He sang it wonderfully, but... perhaps it was the song and the artist that originally sang it - and I find this odd because I would have thought I would have said the same thing about the Tom Waits song, but Eddie Vedder sang it on par or better than Willie Nelson. And as such, there is nothing new imparted in the interpretation - for me at least. And feeling that way made me sad.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:51 PM on May 11, 2012

[slightly edited the above-the-fold lead-in so it doesn't sound like an obit introduction]
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:56 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

The thing about Willie Nelson is that he can't be immitated. Along with Roy Orbison, and ..., well not that many others.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:00 PM on May 11, 2012

I saw him earlier this year. He forgot a lot of the lyrics, his rhythm was off, and he was confused much of the time. I had seen him before, when he was more capable, and I wish I had not seen him this last time. I love the work that he has done. I hope he does more studio work in the future.

He needs to give up the road, though. I understand that he wrote the definitive song about being on the road. It's just not fair to himself, or his fans, to pursue it. Everyone deserves a retirement. It's not shameful. He is unparalleled as a songwriter, and I believe he has more in him. He needs to just use his time right.
posted by Quonab at 8:16 PM on May 11, 2012

Fucking national treasure, right here. Sadly, he won't really be recognized as such by the general population until after he's gone, much like Orbison, or Woody Guthrie. But if the world worked correctly, Willie would hold the kind of popular esteem Madonna holds. But man, that voice, it's like a cat's purr, or butter melting into a fresh out of the oven biscuit...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:30 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Willie Nelson is a national treasure.
posted by Sailormom at 8:37 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Or you know what ^ Slarty Bartfast said.
posted by Sailormom at 8:40 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Slightly disappointed that this project didn't include "'Heroes'". But this song is indeed very nice.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:02 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

But if the world worked correctly, Willie would hold the kind of popular esteem Madonna holds. But man, that voice, it's like a cat's purr, or butter melting into a fresh out of the oven biscuit...

Everyone I know thinks more highly of Willie than Madonna - though both are held in high regard. There's room in the pantheon for both.

When people ask me if I like country music, I ask "Willie Nelson country, or Garth Brooks country ?"

Garth Brooks country sucks ass.

Willie sets my soul on fire.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:11 PM on May 11, 2012

Man you scared me.
Glad he's okay.
I agree with Slap*Happy that he needs some stripped-down love from a producer; more Willie and less shit going on behind him. Check out Lanois' treatment of him on Teatro and I've always liked the underrated "standards" collection Moonlight Becomes You.
Just set him in a nice warm room with that flawless voice and nylon-stringed, beat-up guitar that's held together with a fucking bungee-cord or whatever, and press record.
posted by chococat at 9:14 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

I've heard Pearl Jam's recording of this song countless times on the radio stations we play at the office, and I've never really listened to the lyrics. For whatever reason my brain always just switches to kind of tuning out the lyrics when Ed starts singing, and just rolls along with the peaceful flow of the tune, which sounded familiar the very first time I heard it. I'll agree that this particular production isn't really in Willie's wheelhouse, but he does a solid job of it and if nothing else it gave me the opportunity to appreciate the lyrics, which are really beautiful. Good on Willie, and good on Pearl Jam. I guess I never really gave the song a fair shake until I heard Willie sing it.
posted by Balonious Assault at 9:22 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow, what a great cover of one of the best songs Pearl Jam has done. It's the song that really grabbed me off the bat from PJ's last release. I'm so happy to have heard this version. (I'm even more happy to hear that people are actually covering PJ songs. That's an important step in the progression of a band, or something.)
posted by hippybear at 2:30 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

The background of my childhood, my most precious memories of my father cooking and whistling along, is filled with the music of Willie Nelson (and show tunes, but primarily Willie). His cover of City of New Orleans gives me shivers every single time I listen to it.

I've tried several times over the years to see him whenever he has been in the Pittsburgh area, but I've never been able to make it happen. I'm sorry to hear that he isn't the performer he used to be, so perhaps it was for the best that I have not been able to see him live. But I'll be forever grateful for his gentle voice and gentle soul.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:07 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't miss if you haven't heard it, Tin Hat Trio featuring Willie Nelson covering "Willow Weep For Me".
posted by Catblack at 8:30 AM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

Autotuned to hell. Robo-Willie sounds awful.
posted by emelenjr at 8:57 AM on May 12, 2012

When I was little my parents raised us on a steady musical diet with Willie often featured as the main course. We usually got sides of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Kristofferson, and Seger, too. Dessert was usually something like Dwight Yoakam.

In short, my parents are awesome. They've seen Willie a billion times. Took them to Farm Aid two years ago and it was just about the best day I've ever had with them. If Willie ran for President, despite his age and moderate frailty, I'd support the shit out of that.
posted by youandiandaflame at 10:34 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

We usually got sides of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils

I loves me some Ozark Mountain Daredevils. It's a shame that the one song they're best known for is so non-representative of what they actually do.

Hrm. I smell an FPP in the making.
posted by hippybear at 10:45 AM on May 12, 2012

Not for nothing, but I think Nelson's "Rubin moment" was actually with Daniel Lanois on 1998's "Teatro". If you're not familiar, you really should seek it out. It's a tremendous album.
posted by uberchet at 3:07 PM on May 15, 2012

Listening to an interview & convo on Sirius - Willie asked the author for permission to use this song in Willie's new movie. :-)
posted by tilde at 2:38 PM on May 28, 2012

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