What’s new with Willie Nelson? A cannabis cookbook, new music and high-profile collaboration

Willie Nelson, holding Trigger, smiles for the camera
Willie Nelson Photo: Pamela Springsteen

As is our wont, it’s time to check in on what everyone’s favorite Texan, Willie Nelson, is up to lately.

He’s kept up a brisk pace as 2024 has unfolded. We last checked in with the Red-Headed Stranger back in March, so let’s dig into what the now 91-year-old icon has cooking.

Recipes with a twist

Later this year, on Nov. 12 to be exact, Nelson will cross another first off his list: cookbook author. Along with his wife, Annie, David Ritz, Mia Tangredi and Chef Andrea Drummer, Nelson lends his name and his appetites to Willie and Annie Nelson’s Cannabis Cookbook: Mouthwatering Recipes and the High-Flying Stories Behind Them. According to press materials, the 265-page tome is “drawn from meals enjoyed on nationwide tours, at their ranch, at home and in their favorite cities,” and will feature a chapter focused on cannabis-infused ingredients, including, per press materials, “cannabutter, finishing oil, simple syrups, sugars, salts and tinctures.”

A visit to The Border

Per the diligent Willie historians at Texas Monthly, The Border, which was released last month, checks in as Nelson’s 152nd overall album. The 10-song collection features four new Nelson/Cannon tracks (“Once Upon a Yesterday,” “What If I’m Out of My Mind,” “Kiss Me When You’re Through” and “How Much Does It Cost”), alongside covers of works by other singer-songwriters, including Larry Cordle, Erin Enderlin, Rodney Crowell, Will Jennings, Shawn Camp, Monty Holmes and Mike Reid. Nelson’s hitting the road from June through September as part of his Outlaw Music Festival, during which he might showcase some fresh tunes.

Expanding his 90th birthday

Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90 Live at the Hollywood Bowl is the document of the sprawling, star-studded affair — Nelson’s salutary shindig was spread over two days, April 29 and 30, 2023 — and the digital edition recently expanded to a gobsmacking 54 tracks. Running more than three hours in total, it’s a feast of Nelson classics and deep cuts, performed by an adoring parade of friends, family and famous acolytes. Another version of the event is out now on a two-LP set, titled Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90 Live at the Hollywood Bowl Volume II.

A new duet partner for a classic song

For his new duets album, Stampede, gay singer-songwriter Orville Peck enlisted Nelson for a collaboration on Ned Sublette’s classic “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other.”

“I think that the fact that Willie stands next to the entire LGBTQIA+ community by doing this song just shows what an amazing person he is, what a legend he is,” Peck told GLAAD.org in April. “It’s a win for all of us because that’s true allyship. Someone who’s completely unafraid to be right there next to us, there’s no vagueness involved.”

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.