Two different collaborations are sending Willie Nelson vibes out into the world this week.
The first, and most significant, is the announcement of Neil Young's new album "The Monsanto Years," with lyrics themed around the controversial agribusiness giant. He recorded the album with Promise of the Real, a band featuring Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah.
Monsanto has been a frequent target of Young's, who has been active in agricultural advocacy since his Farm Aid concert series with Nelson and John Mellencamp began in 1985. On April 16, Young played a surprise show in San Luis Obispo and performed a number of songs – "Seeds," "Rock Starbucks" – that sound like likely candidates for the record.
The album is slated for release June 16, with Young and Promise of the Real kicking off a tour on July 5 (no L.A. dates are scheduled yet).
Meanwhile, the elder Nelson has a collaborative album of his own planned, this one with fellow outlaw country legend Merle Haggard. "Django and Jimmie" is, of course, not their first album of duets, but it's nevertheless slated to be a lighthearted and self-aware collaboration between two inestimable veteran singers and songwriters.
The first single, announced just in time for the 4/20 occasion, is "It's All Going to Pot," which came with a charming video of the two goofing off in the studio and sharing some of Nelson's favorite herbal remedy.
It's one of several other Nelson projects currently in the, shall we say, pipeline. Nelson has an autobiography "It's A Long Story: My Life" due out May 5, but for superfans in Washington state and Colorado, his marijuana firm Willie's Reserve is already proving to be just as enticing.