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Hear Pearl Jam’s ‘Just Breathe’ Covered by Country Legend Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Willie Nelson has always been known as a gifted interpreter of other people’s songs, but lately, he seems to be taking his fondness for surprising cover choices up a notch; recently he made headlines with his version of Coldplay‘s ‘The Scientist,’ now comes word that Willie has covered Pearl Jam‘s ‘Just Breathe’ for his upcoming album ‘Heroes.’

As with most latter-day Willie tracks, his version of ‘Just Breathe’ is spare — the recording is led by a gently loping acoustic guitar, soft harmonica, and Nelson’s weathered vocals, with a handful of simple instrumental flourishes filling in the rest of the arrangement. Adding a touch of poignancy to the song’s lyrical themes of personal reflection and unconditional love, Nelson is joined by his son Lukas, who took a break from his band Promise of the Real to work with his famous father. ‘Breathe’ was the second single off PJ’s 2009 album, ‘Backspacer.’

A 14-cut hodgepodge of classic country covers and new tunes with a variety of well-known guests, ‘Heroes’ finds Nelson working heavily with Lukas, who appears on all but three tracks, as well as Merle Haggard, Billy Joe Shaver, Kris Kristofferson, and Snoop Dogg, who appears on the self-explanatory ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.’ The album won’t be in stores until May 15, but you can hear Willie and Lukas’ take on ‘Just Breathe’ at Rolling Stone, where they’re offering an exclusive stream.

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