Writing about Willie Nelson at the end of 2017, we noted that he’s having “one of the most amazing late-career resurgences American popular music has ever seen.” Here’s the next chapter: “Last Man Standing,” with 11 new songs written by Willie and his longtime producer Buddy Cannon, is due out on April 27, two days before Willie’s 85th birthday.
It’s Willie’s 11th album for Sony’s Legacy Recordings label, dating back to 2012’s “Heroes.” It follows last fall’s “Willie and the Boys,” a look back at classic country tunes with his sons Lukas and Micah.
The album’s title track is featured in a video released Friday, showing Nelson recording the tune at his studio in Spicewood with several backing musicians (including his ever-present sidekick Mickey Raphael on harmonica). As with several songs on last year’s acclaimed “God’s Problem Child” album, Willie’s in a reflective mood here, lamenting the loss of old friends but adding a little dark, wry humor. “I don’t wanna be the last man standing,” he sings, before reconsidering: “But wait a minute, maybe I do.”
Nelson recently canceled a string of winter shows to recover from the flu, but he’s scheduled to be on the road again (he just can’t wait to get on the road again) later this month in the Southeast before winding his way back to Texas to headline his Luck Reunion mini-festival during South by Southwest at his ranch outside Austin. That’s a semi-private show with a limited number of tickets given away to the public. His next regular ticketed concerts in the area are April 20-21 at Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels.