Willie Nelson Helps Cody Johnson Add a New Spin to 'Sad Songs and Waltzes'

Cody Johnson and Willie Nelson teamed up for a brand-new duet of "Sad Songs and Waltzes," a selection from the latter's seminal Shotgun Willie album.

Nelson provides a verse and a brief guitar solo for a slightly modernized yet past-honoring take on a song Johnson learned while watching a classic episode of Austin City Limits.

"You could tell that it was pretty early on in his leaving of Nashville, because his hair wasn't very long," Johnson told the Wrangler Network. "Willie said, 'Well, I went up to Nashville and I had a pile of songs, and I sang 'em all for the record man, and the record man told me, sad songs and waltzes aren't selling this year, son.'"

Johnson related to Nelson's tongue-in-cheek memories of feeling like a fish out of water in Music City.

"The way I am, the music I create, the way that I look and the cowboy that I am hasn't been a trend in Nashville for a long time," Johnson told Wrangler.

Nelson agreed to add Johnson to a career-spanning list of collaborators which already included Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Lee Ann Womack.

"Willie was very gracious to do it, and I got to have a very candid conversation with him, and it was one that meant a lot to me," Johnson added.

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CoJo must be getting used to working with his Texas and Oklahoma heroes, between this and the version of "Dear Rodeo" he recorded with Reba McEntire.

The Nelson team-up teases Johnson's forthcoming double album, his first since 2019's Ain't Nothin' To It (Warner Music Nashville).

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Willie Nelson Helps Cody Johnson Add a New Spin to 'Sad Songs and Waltzes'