First Rose of Spring

First Rose of Spring

Since he made his debut in 1962, very rarely has a year gone by without the release of at least one Wille Nelson record. On his 70th solo LP, the 87-year-old singer-songwriter continues to reflect without showing any signs of slowing down. Bolstered by two new originals he wrote with longtime friend and producer Buddy Cannon (“Blue Star,” “Love Just Laughed”), First Rose of Spring is a powerful comment on the passage of time that would feel like a valediction were it coming from anybody else. The title track tells the story of a husband and wife, of “a love affair from the beginning to the end,” Nelson tells Apple Music. “It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time.” On “Stealing Home,” he sings from the perspective of a kid overwhelmed by memories as they help pack up their family home. Elsewhere, he galvanizes the Chris Stapleton-penned “Our Song” and adds gravitas to Toby Keith’s Clint Eastwood-inspired ballad “Don’t Let the Old Man In”—and even takes a crack at the orchestral lament “Yesterday When I Was Young,” made famous in the US by Roy Clark in 1969 but originally written and released as “Hier encore” by French icon Charles Aznavour five years earlier. “There's a lot of good songs that we still have that will be on the next album or the next one,” Nelson says. “Over the years, we've built quite a backlog. Whether you record them today, tomorrow, last year, it don't matter—a good song will always be a good song.”

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