Willie Nelson Is Remarkably Busy During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Willie Nelson says the coronavirus is the worst time he can recall in his 87 years, but he's not moping. While the legend would jump at the chance to (safely) play for fans, he knows that chance likely won't come soon.
Last weekend's annual Fourth of July picnic (done virtually this year) is as close as he'll get. Speaking to NPR, Nelson — whose 70th solo album First Rose of Spring dropped on July 3 — pined for the road.
"I don't want a big crowd because I don't want people coming and see me and then getting sick," he shares. "It's just a bad — really the worst time that I can ever remember. I know it'll pass. Everything does. But in the meantime, you got to be tough to get through this kind of stuff."
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A separate interview with Today's Jenna Bush Hager sheds light on how Nelson is getting through this. The singer smiles when saying he's having no fun and makes clear that he means it. But his sons Lucas and Micah have done more than just keep him company. The group are working on several albums, including a Roger Miller project and another album of Frank Sinatra songs. The Sinatra album would be a follow-up to Nelson's My Way, released in 2018.
Along with his wife, the country icon has been hiding out and staying safe since the pandemic began earlier this year. First Rose of Spring is (as the Variety review points out) another album focused on death and mortality. Among the 11 songs is a take on Toby Keith's "Don't Let the Old Man In" and Johnny Paycheck's "I'm the Only Hell My Mama Only Raised." The title track was co-written by Randy Houser and it inspired the album.
"As soon as I heard it, I said we've got to cut it," Nelson tells NPR. "It's a true story. The writer's grandparents — every year, he would bring her the first rose of spring. I think it's a beautiful love story."
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