Listen: Willie Nelson Previews New Album ‘The Border’ with Title Track

March 14, 2024
Listen: Willie Nelson Previews New Album ‘The Border’ with Title Track

Photo Credit: Pamela Springsteen

Willie Nelson continues an unbelievable headline streak today with the official announcement of The Border, his 75th solo album of new material. Set to release on May 31 via Legacy Recordings, this latest offering marks Nelson’s 152nd album after 2023’s Bluegrass and maintains the artist’s career-long focus on spotlighting the finest songwriters in country, while also including a slew of new originals. To preview his forthcoming project, Nelson has dropped the album’s title track, “The Border,” written by Rodney Crowell and Allen Shamblin.

“The Border” is a provocative, terse account of the inner life of a border guard, wracked by grief for the things he’s seen on the line. The gritty, anxious lyrical content of the song, originally recorded by Crowell for his 2019 album Texas, is given new force with a high-pressure atmosphere, cultivated between Nelson’s gloaming, driving strum and dark and raspy drawl. With this rousing cover, Nelson taps into a consuming urgency that runs through the rest of the 10-track song cycle.

Nelson’s latest album is produced by longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon and features an ensemble of guitarists Bobby Terry and James Mitchell, keyboardist Jim “Moose” Brown, percussionist Fred Eltringham, bassist Barry Bales and Family member Mickey Raphael on harmonica. Alongside “The Border” and four more covers, including Crowell and Will Jennings’ “Many a Long and Lonesome Highway,” The Border also features four new compositions co-written by Nelson and Cannon, titled “Once Upon a Yesterday,” “What If I’m Out of My Mind,” “Kiss Me When You’re Through” and “How Much Does it Cost.” These songs are wrapped up in a photo of the Big Bend border area–a scenic and stark backdrop that bears down on the album’s content.

Shotgun Willie will take this new material on the road this year with his annual Outlaw Music Festival tour, which reached new heights of anticipation this year with the news that Bob Dylan will join the tour for all 25 engagements this summer. Beyond the unprecedented pairing between the two Americana giants, the tour will also feature revolving support from Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, John Mellencamp, Billy Strings, Brittney Spencer, Celisse and Southern Avenue. This run will kick off on June 21 from Alpharetta, Ga. and will keep the group in the wind until a finale on Sept. 17 in Buffalo, N.Y.

Nelson’s next live appearance will be his highly-anticipated 2024 Luck Reunion, which will draw more than 40 stars to the artist’s storied Luck Ranch in Spicewood, Texas on March 14. Tyler Childers, John Oates, Old Crow Medicine Show and Dawes & Lucius will join the legend to lead the 12th annual staging of the event, alongside acts like Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country, Durand Jones, Lukas Nelson, Particle Kid, The Polyphonic Spree, Red Clay Strays and many more. This jaw-dropping celebration will stream live on

The Border is available to pre-save and pre-order now. For more information on Nelson’s upcoming project and stacked 2024 performance schedule, visit

Read on for the album’s full tracklist.

Willie Nelson – The Border
1. The Border
2. Once Upon a Yesterday
3. What If I’m Out of My Mind
4. When I Wrote This Song for You
5. Kiss Me When You’re Through
6. Many a Long and Lonesome Highway
7. Hank’s Guitar
8. Made in Texas
9. Nobody Knows Me Like You
10. How Much Does It Cost