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Billy Strings & Willie Nelson’s “California Sober” Is Our Track of the Week

Billy Strings & Willie Nelson’s “California Sober” Is Our Track of the Week

Willie Nelson Joins Billy Strings for "California Sober": Stream

Track of the Week delves into the contemporary songs we simply can’t get out of our heads. Discover these tracks and extra on our Spotify Prime Songs playlist, and for our favourite new songs from rising artists, try our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, bluegrass behemoth Billy Strings recruits Willie Nelson for the stoner-friendly “California Sober.”

Nation artists have lengthy written in regards to the trappings of alcohol. For each heartland ode to chilly beer and Southern Consolation, there’s a counter providing that implies alcohol is a serious contributor to feeling disconnected, remoted, lovelorn, and insecure.

Weed, alternatively, has an identical sophisticated previous with nation music, however within the final twenty years, the cultural tide has begun to shift in the direction of extra specific endorsements within the style. In comes bluegrass extraordinaire Billy Strings to the fold, who has recruited longtime hashish advocate Willie Nelson for a brand new music about kicking the laborious stuff and, effectively, rising up. To say you’re “California Sober” means you’re refraining from each substance — alcohol, cocaine, capsules, and many others. — apart from pot. It’s a standard transfer for folk who’re recovering from extra intense addictions, who acknowledge the hazard of alcohol and more durable medication, however flip to weed for its medicinal and stress-relieving properties.

Although the music’s central thought and cheery, upbeat tone counsel that “California Sober” is solely a joke, each Strings and Nelson are unapologetically earnest about it. “The outdated crew don’t get collectively a lot lately,” displays Nelson on his second verse, concluding that “some went straight and a few went straight to jail” and are actually “busy posting vids and simply attempting to boost their youngsters/ As an alternative of elevating holy hell and posting bail.”

For the 89 year-old Willie Nelson, it’s completely comprehensible that he’s not out together with his outdated buddies getting blasted and making errors — however for Billy Strings, it’s a extra fraught sacrifice. As he lays out his reasoning for shedding the booze, he ultimately lands on the revealing closing verse: “I used to be California Sober ’til I assumed the world was over/ Now I’m sitting on the roadside as soon as once more/ And when that wagon passes by, I don’t even bat an eye fixed/ As a result of the satan on my shoulder all the time wins.” It’s assumedly a reference to the bleakness of the pandemic, and what number of people turned again to their vices within the wake of world paranoia and anguish.

Regardless that Strings feels the knotty affect of a satan on his shoulder, his flip with Willie Nelson feels refreshing and heat. Their comforting harmonies are laced with sweetness, and as all the time with Billy Strings, the banjo, lap metal, and guitar work is unmatched. It’s a beautiful return to Strings’ typical buoyant nation fare, and even approaching the age of 90, Willie Nelson is as charming as ever.

With only one music, Strings and Nelson appear to deliver the perfect out in one another — and if “California Sober” is any indication, there’ll be a lot extra smoke periods in retailer for the 2, satan or none. For extra stoner-friendly jams, try our latest checklist of the 50 Greatest Weed Albums of All Time.

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— Paolo Ragusa
Affiliate Editor

Get Willie Nelson Tickets right here

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