NEW YORK, June 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Django and Jimmie (Legacy Recordings), the new album collaboration from legendary American artists Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, is emerging a crossover sensation, entering the Billboard Country Albums chart at #1 while going Top 10 (#7) on the Billboard 200 Bestselling Albums chart.
Willie and Merle, two of the original architects of American outlaw country music, last shared a #1 Country album together with the release of their classic Pancho & Lefty in January 1983.
Willie Nelson's last #1 Country album was 2014's Band of Brothers, his fourth release for Legacy. Django and Jimmie is Willie's fourth Legacy release to go Top 5 Country and third to break into the Top 10 of the Billboard 200.
"The chart-topping success of Django and Jimmie is another milestone in the remarkable journeys of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard," said Adam Block, President, Legacy Recordings. "Their latest achievement is a testimony to the ongoing vitality of their careers, the timeless quality of their music, and, most importantly, the enduring bond of their friendship."
Helmed by Nelson's longtime producer Buddy Cannon, Django and Jimmiefinds Willie joining forces with friend and collaborator Merle Haggard for 14 brand-new studio recordings including "Django and Jimmie," a dual tribute to jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers, "Missing Ol' Johnny Cash," an homage to country music's original Man in Black featuring guest vocals from Bobby Bare; the future outlaw country classic "Unfair Weather Friend," written by rising songsmiths Marla Cannon-Goodman (Buddy Cannon's daughter) and Ward Davis, and "It's All Going to Pot" (a rollicking anthem for the emerging 21st century cannabis culture).
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard's new outlaw country masterpiece has been garnering rave reviews alongside its burgeoning popular success.
According to NPR, "...nearly any track on Django and Jimmie will likely lift the spirits of even the gloomiest listener," while American Songwriter noted that "...it's still a joy to hear the two of them trade vocals on a thoroughly enjoyable set of 14 songs."
Rolling Stone called out the album's single, "It's All Going To Pot," as "...two masters nailing the right song at the right time."
Yahoo! summed up Django and Jimmie as "...remarkable..." while the Los Angeles Times observed that while "...both men are widely regarded as two of the greatest living country songwriters, whose music has shaped the sound of the genre for six decades.... it's the spirit of their voices that registers."
"Veracity makes Django and Jimmie a marvel," wrote Paste, "mixing novelty, pathos and classics. What emerges is a core sample of what made these men...endure for half a century.... Just hearing them make the music they want is plenty."
"Me and Merle got a new album called Django and Jimmieand the title track is about Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers," said Willie Nelson prior to the record release on June 2. "Both of those guys were very influential in both of our careers."
Merle Haggard added that there's "new songs, a couple of classics and Willie sang like he was a teenager."
Willie summed up the duo's new collaboration simply saying, "It's good music, I got a good feeling about it."
The release of Django and Jimmie on Legacy Recordings coincides with the recent publication of "It's A Long Story: My Life," the definitive autobiography of Willie Nelson. Coauthored with David Ritz, "It's A Long Story" is "the unvarnished, complete story of Willie Nelson's life, told in his distinct voice and leaving no moment or experience unturned, from Texas and Nashville to Hawaii and his legendary bus."
The book is the second autobiography written by Nelson, following his 1988 publication "Willie: An Autobiography." In October 2013, Little, Brown and Company announced the new book for 2015.
For Django and Jimmie, Willie Nelson's sixth studio album release for Legacy since inking an historic deal with the label in 2012, the legendary singer-songwriter joined forces with longtime friend and collaborator Merle Haggard to reignite the musical chemistry that made the pair's Pancho & Lefty a honky-tonk blockbuster and America's #1 Country Album following its release in January 1983. Pancho & Lefty solidified the reputations of both Willie and Merle as among the most formidable and influential artists in outlaw country music while topping the Billboard Country charts for seven non-consecutive weeks between April and October 1983.
The success of Pancho & Lefty opened the doors for a number of successful follow-up projects including 1987's Seashores Of Old Mexico album, 2007's double album Last Of The Breed with Ray Price, the Merle Haggard-penned "A Horse Called Music" (the lead track on 2012's Heroes, Willie Nelson's first album for Legacy) and a show-stopping duet of Merle's classic "Okie From Muskogee" performed at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in 2014.
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
Django and Jimmie
Django and Jimmie -- written by Jimmy Melton and Jeff Prince
It's All Going To Pot -- written by Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson and Larry Shell
Unfair Weather Friend -- written by Marla Cannon-Goodman and Ward Davis
Missing Ol' Johnny Cash -- written by Merle Haggard
Live This Long -- written by Shawn Camp and Marv Green
Alice In Hulaland -- written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright -- written by Bob Dylan
Family Bible -- written by Walter M. Breeland, Paul F. Buskirk, and Claude Gray
It's Only Money -- written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
Swinging Doors -- written by Merle Haggard
Where Dreams Come To Die -- written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
Somewhere Between -- written by Merle Haggard
Driving The Herd -- written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
The Only Man Wilder Than Me -- written by Merle Haggard
About Willie Nelson
In February 2012, Willie Nelson entered into an historic new record deal with Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, 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 will 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.
Nelson's album releases for Legacy Recordings have included:
Heroes (2012), a collection of pop-country songs performed by Willie with an all-star roster of guest artists including Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver, Sheryl Crow, and Jamey Johnson as well as Willie's sons, Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson;
Let's Face The Music And Dance (2013), a collection of new studio performances by Willie Nelson and Family;
To All The Girls... (2013), a collection of newly recorded duets with contemporary pop-country women singers including Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, Loretta Lynn, Wynonna Judd, Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Tina Rose, Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Secret Sisters, Brandi Carlile, Lily Meola, Shelby Lynne, Melonie Cannon and Paula Nelson;
Band of Brothers (2014), featuring the artist's first batch of freshly penned original songs in nearly two decades
December Day: Willie's Stash, Vol. 1 (2014), the first installment of the Willie's Stash archival recordings series, the album features Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie performing intimate new recordings of songs that informed their musical heritage.