Willie Nelson announces ‘First Rose of Spring’

Nelson’s 70th studio album drops April 24th

Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release Willie Nelson’s 70th studio album, First Rose Of Spring, on Friday, April 24th. The album is his 14th overall with the label and drops five days before Nelson’s 87th birthday on April 29th.

First Rose Of Spring will be available on CD, vinyl and digital formats as well as part of exclusive merch bundles at Nelson’s web store. The album’s title track and the “First Rose Of Spring” music video are available now.

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 – Nelson’s tenth 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, Nelson’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 Nelson’s son Micah, First Rose Of Spring finds the Red Headed Stranger 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, Nelson 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 Nelson’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 Nelson’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 14th and “A Concert for Kentucky” at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky on April 25th.

Closing First Rose Of Spring is Nelson’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.

In February 2012, Willie Nelson entered into an historic new record deal with Legacy Recordings, marking a label homecoming for Nelson, who, from 1975-1993, had cut a phenomenal string of top-selling singles and albums for Columbia Records, beginning with 1975’s seminal smash Red Headed Stranger. New titles by the artist under the Legacy imprint include newly recorded songs and performances as well as archival releases, personally curated by the artist, drawn from all phases of his career including his recordings for RCA Records and others. Since signing with Legacy, Willie Nelson has sold more than one million albums for the label.

CD | LP

1. First Rose Of Spring (Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin & Mark Beeson)
2. Blue Star (Willie Nelson & Buddy Cannon)
3. I’ll Break Out Again Tonight (Sanger “Whitey” Shafer & Doodle Owens)
4. Don’t Let The Old Man In (Toby Keith)
5. Just Bummin’ Around (Pete Graves)
6. Our Song (Chris Stapleton)
7. We Are The Cowboys (Billy Joe Shaver)
8. Stealing Home (Marla Cannon-Goodman, Casey Beathard & Don Sampson)
9. I’m The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised (Wayne Kemp, Bobby Borchers & Mack Vickery)
10. Love Just Laughed (Willie Nelson & Buddy Cannon)
11. Yesterday When I Was Young (Hier Encore) (Charles Aznavour & Herbert Kretzmer)

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.