Willie & Merle: Good Harmony, Impeccable Timing

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Coming together to do their last album project, fans of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard couldn’t wait to see the developments. At a time when the debate amongst fans of the genre as to whether the songs coming across the airwaves rang true with “legitimate” country music, the two seasoned veterans of the craft stayed true to their course. Sales of their release went out on the traditional format as well as electronically: something that a Willie and Merle project had never done before. And when the dust settled, “Django & Jimmie” had done what it set out to do; it created a comfort level for traditionalists in the industry that the fans still remained, and the true singers could still produce.

“Django & Jimmie” was the sixth and, as it turns out, final release by this duo of country fame. Named in tribute to musicians Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers, it was announced by Nelson at the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) as well as on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” with its first single “It’s All Going to Pot” released on April 20, 2015 (“420 day” for those in the know). The tracks featured a couple of classics (which were anything but standard) and some Nelson and Haggard humor that only served to charm existing fans and win over the hearts of new admirers. The video for “It’s All Going to Pot” is a shining example of their longevity, views, and relatability to fans.

Written by country singer/songwriter, Jamey Johnson, together with Buddy Cannon and Larry Shell, the recording featured a cameo by Johnson. Coupled with its release on April 20 (4/20) came the behind-the-scenes music video release, including great scenes of these country heroes that carried on into the “outlaw” country concept, still relevant to today’s issues. The song, and its message, rang true for many listeners and continues to attract devotees to their style and sound today, despite the loss of Haggard in 2016. Their music together, in particular, this last project, has always been and remains a high water mark in the industry and fan collections.

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