Beast Exclusive: Willie Nelson Confronts Mortality in New ‘Old Timer’ Video
In his brand-new music video—exclusively premiering at The Daily Beast—the outlaw country icon ruminates on life and death and what it means to be an “Old Timer.”
On April 29, Willie Nelson turns 84 years old and, as his newest album shows, he wants everyone to know: He ain’t dead yet.
Mortality haunts nearly every corner of God’s Problem Child—due out the day before his birthday—especially on the first single “Old Timer,” an inspired ballad co-written by Nelson’s long-time friend Donnie Fritts.
“You’ve been down every highway / Burned your share of bridges / You found forgiveness / You think that you’re still a young bull rider / Till you look in the mirror and see an old timer,” the reedy-voiced legend croons.
That mournful but humorous look at advanced age pervades Problem Child, and is visualized in a brand-new music video for “Old Timer,” filmed at Nelson’s Pedernales studio and at his famed Luck Texas Ranch.
Between shots of him performing the track in his studio (during the album’s sessions), viewers see sepia-toned footage of Nelson wistfully ruminating upon his own personal artifacts lining the walls of his custom saloon—his many album covers, portraits, and photographs with friends long past gone (likely including Leon Russell, who makes one of his final vocal appearances on the title track).
Aside from the defiant “Still Not Dead” and “He Won’t Ever Be Gone”—a tribute to the late Merle Haggard—its perhaps “Old Timer” that most concisely encapsulates the album’s theme. “You had your run and it’s been a good one / Seems like the world is passing you by / Old father time, he just keeps on tickin’ / You’ve still got a lot of life and a song to sing.”
Willie Nelson may be getting old, and his friends may be dying one by one, but goddamnit he’s gonna find the beauty and humor in it all.
RAELYN NELSON BAND
McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, March 31
The depths of Willie Nelson’s gene pool don’t stop at Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real. Granddaughter Raelyn is quickly making a name for herself as one of country’s brightest up-and-coming female artists in her own right. But not a solo artist — the cover of her band’s self-titled 2014 EP is an obvious homage to the Ramones’ debut album. That punky spirit carries right over into the songs, which establish Nelson as a lover and a fighter to be reckoned with. More impressive still is last year’s “Daddy’s Grave,” a touching tribute to her late father, Willie’s son Billy, who killed himself in 1991. She’s now working on a new album in Nashville, and while fellow Texans Kacey Musgraves, Sunny Sweeney, and Bri Bagwell all make good reference points for her sound, it may not be much longer until such comparisons are even necessary.
Watch Country music icon Clint Black tell me a funny story about the first time he met our mutual friend, the great Willie Nelson. In this clip, Clint even does a little impression of Willie for me. Tune in tomorrow night at 8pm ET/7pm CT on AXS TV for the full interview.
Willie Nelson‘s wife, Annie, is piggybacking on the singer’s marijuana advocacy with the announcement of her own business, Annie’s Edibles. As a branch of the singer’s cannabis company, Willie’s Reserve, Annie’s Edibles makes its debut with artisan chocolates the first product.
Currently available at select dispensaries in Washington state, the hand-crafted chocolates are made from natural techniques, with the chocolate itself made from “consciously sourced ingredients” and low-heat processes that sustain the product’s raw qualities, according to a press release. Whole-plant extraction maintains the richness of the cannabis plant, with the chocolates containing a dose of 5mg of THC.
“I make my infused chocolates for people who want to enjoy gourmet cannabis chocolate in a controllable way. It’s important that my chocolates are suitable for those with diet restrictions – whether someone is vegan, has Celiac Disease or gluten allergies, requires a low or balanced sweetener diet or if they have a low tolerance to cannabis they can still enjoy the benefits of my infused chocolates,” Annie says of her products. She also utilizes a “Zero Crap Policy” that allows the chocolates to be vegan, gluten-free, environmentally-conscious and 100 percent raw.
Willie’s Reserve was launched by the legendary country singer in 2016 that features a line of cannabis products garnered from responsible growers. The products are available in Colorado, Washington and Nevada. Nelson recently made a surprise appearance at the 2017 SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, after canceling several shows due to illness. He’s also set to take the stage at a Merle Haggard tribute concert in Nashville on April 6.