Earlier this week, the great Willie Nelson celebrated his 86th birthday and took the opportunity to premiere a new music video for the title track off his forthcoming studio album, Ride Me Back Home, which has a street date of June 21 and can be pre-ordered here.
In keeping tradition with how Willie’s released new music over the past few years and albums, the video is a straightforward treatment of the song that showcases Nelson in the studio, singing along to the song as it plays. It’s quite elegant:
Some insight on the title track, via the official news release:
The title track “Ride Me Back Home” is Willie’s sublime rendering of a song co-written by Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Sonny Throckmorton expressing a love for horses and their spirituality. “Sonny lives right by Willie’s Luck studio,” longtime friend/producer/musical compadre Buddy Cannon pointed out. “He said he wrote that song because he was over there and saw Willie’s horses. I don’t even know if Willie knows that or not.” The horses to which Cannon refers are a group of more than 60 that Willie has adopted over the years, rescuing them from the slaughterhouse and giving them a home on his “Luck” ranch.
Ride Me Back Home will feature new original songs and some fun covers, a few of which might raise eyebrows upon discovery:
Alongside his new compositions on the album and the title track (which Throckmorton co-wrote with his daughter Debby, Joe Manual & Lucinda Hinton), Willie pays musical tribute to a variety of pop and country songwriters and performers, covering Billy Joel (“Just the Way You Are”), Mac Davis (“It’s Hard to Be Humble” with Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson) and a pair of songs by the late American country/folk artist Guy Clark (“Immigrant Eyes” and “My Favorite Picture of You,” the title song from Clark’s 2014 Grammy-winning Best Folk Album).
Filling out Ride Me Back Home are Willie’s soulful interpretation of Buzz Rabin’s classic country composition “Maybe I Should Have Been Listening,” his take on Skip Denenberg & Dan “Bee” Spears’ “Nobody’s Listening” (before his death in 2011, bassist Spears had played with Willie for more than forty years)and the artist’s 2019 return to “Stay Away From Lonely Places,” an outlaw country deep cut Willie first wrote and recorded for his 1972 album The Words Don’t Fit The Picture. “I’m the biggest Willie Nelson fan there is, and I thought I knew every song that he ever did. But I had never heard that song. It sounded totally new to me,” said Buddy Cannon, who lobbied to get Willie to revisit the track. “He’s a born troubadour. It’s the greatness: That early genius that was him and his songs is still there.”
This will be Nelson’s first album since the release of My Way, his record of Frank Sinatra covers, which came out in Fall 2018.
Ride Me Back Home‘s track listing:
01. “Ride Me Back Home”
02. “Come On Time”
03. “My Favorite Picture of You”
04. “Seven Year Itch”
05. “Immigrant Eyes”
06. “Stay Away From Lonely Places”
07. “Just The Way You Are”
08. “One More Song To Write”
09. “Nobody’s Listening”
10. “It’s Hard To Be Humble” (with Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson)
11. “Maybe I Should’ve Been Listening”