by: Carrie Horton
Two of country music’s biggest icons are teaming up (again) for a brand new album. Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson are set to release a brand new collaborative effort, Django and Jimmie, which will be their fourth studio record together.
Nelson visited Jimmy Kimmel Live as part of a series of events with South by Southwest (SXSW) last Friday (March 21), and it was there that — in between jokes about one of his favorite pastimes (Hint: it involves smoke and some illegal activity) — the Red Headed Stranger announced his latest album with Haggard.
While there’s no news of the album’s release date, Nelson did tell host Jimmy Kimmel that the first single will be released on April 20. It’s a date that matches up with that favorite pastime of Nelson’s, not to mention key lyrics from new track.
“It’s all going to pot, whether we like it or not,” Nelson sings in the interview clip. “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, Tenn. 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, we know what at least one of the new songs is about, and while details related to the theme of the rest of the album haven’t yet been revealed, fans of Haggard and Nelson will know what the title means. French guitar player Django Reinhardt is a longtime muse of Nelson, with the country singer citing Reinhardt as an inspiration for the tone of his famous guitar, Trigger, and covering his song “Nuages” many times during his decades-long career. As for the “Jimmie” part ofDjango and Jimmie, it likely refers to Haggard’s love of country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers, whom he paid homage to with a 1969 tribute album, Same Train, A Different Time.
Haggard has also expressed excitement about the album recently, noting that it follows he and Nelson’s 1983 release Pancho & Lefty, their 1987 collaboration, Seashores of Old Mexico and their 2007 album, Last of the Breed, which was also in partnership with Ray Price.
“It’s really good; I think it’s the best one we’ve done,” says Haggard of the new record. “We didn’t really do any swing, per se, we just did straight-ahead songs that we felt good about.”