In 2002, Willie Nelson released his fiftieth studio album called The Great Divide, which actually contains several duets and musical collaborations with some of the most notable artists in the music industry – such as Kid Rock, Bonnie Raitt, Brian McKnight, and so much more. Meanwhile, Nelson teamed up with fellow Texan country singer Lee Ann Womack for the album’s lead-off single, “Mendocino County Line.”
The powerful duet became Nelson’s highest-charting single since 1990, reaching No. 22 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. In addition to that, the duo took home the Best Country Collaboration with Vocals during the 45th Grammy Awards, where they also teamed for a live performance.
Meaning Behind The Song
Written by Matt Serletic and Bernie Taupin, “Mendocino County Line” tells the story of a faded love that burns out somewhere near California. Now, all the couple left were memories and photographs to remind them of a time they used to make each other happy.
“We used to be so happy once upon a time. But the sun sank west of the Mendocino county line,” the song goes, with Nelson and Womack’s voices imbuing each line with the kind of epic feeling and emotional integrity of every heartache. “Mendocino County Line” absolutely stood out among all the songs by Willie Nelson found on The Great Divide.
While Nelson recorded innumerable duets throughout the years, his offbeat phrasing often intimidated singers – but it wasn’t the case for Womack, who noted that she listened to the country icon for so many years, so she knew what to expect. Indeed, she came prepared!
Lee Ann Womack, Willie Nelson