Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release First Rose Of Spring–Willie Nelson’s 70th solo studio album (and 14th for the label)–on Friday, April 24 (right before Willie’s 87th birthday on April 29).
First Rose Of Spring will be available on CD, vinyl and digital formats as well as part of exclusive merch bundles on Willie’s web store. The album’s title track and the “First Rose Of Spring” music video are being released today.
An atmospheric soulful showcase of beautifully-written songs and poignant performances, First Rose Of Spring is the artist’s first new release since winning the 2020 Best Country Solo Performance Grammy Award–Willie’s 10th overall, not including his Grammy Legend and Lifetime Achievement Awards–for “Ride Me Back Home,” the title track from his 2019 Legacy Recordings release. The previous year, My Way, Willie’s musical homage to Frank Sinatra took home the Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
Premiering 11 new Willie Nelson studio performances and featuring original artwork created by Willie’s son Micah, First Rose Of Spring finds Willie working again with longtime friend and producer Buddy Cannon and debuts two new songs co-written by the pair: “Blue Star” and “Love Just Laughed.”
Alongside his new compositions on the album, Willie pays musical tribute to a variety of pop and country songwriters and performers, interpreting songs penned by Toby Keith (“Don’t Let The Old Man In”), Billy Joe Shaver (“We Are The Cowboys”) and Pete Graves (“Just Bummin’ Around” – a song recorded by Jimmy Dean, Dean Martin and others).
An intimate journey through life and love as seen through Willie’s unique perspective, First Rose Of Spring finds the artist deep in every moment, sharing profound insights and experiences through songs he’s written and songs he loves to sing. Among the younger songwriters celebrated on First Rose Of Spring are the composing teams Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin & Mark Beeson (“First Rose Of Spring”) and Marla Cannon-Goodman, Casey Beathard & Don Sampson (“Stealing Home”).
One of the key tracks on First Rose Of Spring is Willie’s heartfelt interpretation of “Our Song,” a new composition by contemporary country music hitmaker Chris Stapleton. Willie Nelson & Family will appear as special guests on Chris Stapleton’s “All-American Roadshow” on two big dates this year: Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on March 14 and “A Concert for Kentucky” at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky on April 25.
Closing First Rose Of Spring is Willie’s sublime performance of Charles Aznavour’s “Hier encore,” a 1964 chanson which became an American country classic (and Roy Clark’s biggest hit) as “Yesterday When I Was Young” (English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer) in 1969 and, over the years, became a beloved standard performed by a multitude of stars including Bing Crosby, Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield, Mel Tormé, Jack Jones, Lena Horne, Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, Julio Iglesias, Johnny Mathis, Elton John and many more. A bittersweet reflection on mortality and life’s transient (and transcendent) beauty, “Yesterday When I Was Young” conveys universal thoughts and emotions. On First Rose Of Spring, Willie Nelson shares those feelings through music and makes every song his own.