In 1986, country icon Willie Nelson released “Living in the Promiseland” as the first single off his album The Promiseleand – which was actually Nelson’s last No. 1 album on the Country Albums chart.
The song became another hit for Nelson, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, where it spent an entire week atop and an overall twenty remarkable weeks.
The Story Behind The Song
Written by country singer David Lynn Jones, “Living In The Promiseland” is a heartfelt ballad that promisingly pictures America as a safe place to retreat for foreign nationals searching for freedom. Jones wrote the song at the time when the population of Florida doubled due to the arrival of immigrants from Cuba amidst the economic crisis in their own country.
While the patriotic ballad is not about America being awesome or stunning, it’s actually about “America the Dream, and it’s whatever you make it. A lot of people come here thinkin’ it’s one thing and find something else,” Jones said.
In 1988, Jones recorded his own version of “Living In The Promiseland” as the B-side to his collaboration with Waylon Jennings, titled “High Ridin’ Heroes.”
Fast forward to many years later, Willie Nelson was honored with the Gershwin Award during the 2015 Library of Congress. He then chose to perform this song as his political response to disputes over immigration policy amidst the Syrian refugee plight.
Nelson said he decided to perform the song as it’s the most fitting one that Americans could do for this period in the country. “Many years ago, I recorded this song, and I felt like this might be a good time to kind of try to bring it back,” he said.
Anyway, you can listen to “Living in the Promiseland” by Willie Nelson in the video below. It is indeed one of the most patriotic tunes among Willie Nelson songs.