Only Willie Nelson could cover a song and make it sound close to better than the original. That’s what the country legend did with his version of “Just Breathe,” which is included on his 2012 album, Heroes.
“Just Breathe” is a song by the American rock band, Pearl Jam. It was released in 2009, as the second single from the band’s ninth studio album, Backspacer. The song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Rock chart and No. 6 on the Billboard Alternative chart, making it the band’s highest-charting follow-up single since 1998.
Not only that, “Just Breathe” has been featured in several movies and TV shows too, including One Tree Hill, Life as we Know It, The Night Shift, Grey’s Anatomy, and so much more.
This thoughtful track was triggered by a song from Eddie Vedder’s Into the Wild soundtrack. When Vedder heard about Nelson taking on one of his songs, he expressed his excitement by comparing the experience to “smoking a great joint without all the coughing or the smoke.” He added that he was very honored and even referred to Nelson’s cover as the “best contribution to music so far.”
Willie Nelson’s Son Joined Him In “Just Breathe”
As an added bonus, Nelson’s version of “Just Breathe” featured the guest vocals of his son, Lukas Nelson. Lukas is one of Nelson’s seven children he has fathered throughout his life and is currently following his father’s star-studded footsteps. He is the frontman for the American rock band Promise of the Real. The band formed back in 2008 and has been traveling the world on tour together ever since.
And from the sound of it, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. “Just Breathe” is one evidence of that. With guitar picking, a touch of harmonica, Willie Nelson’s southern voice signature, and his son’s country twang, the father and son have definitely remade this classic ballad into a country song.
In case you miss it, the Nelsons performed side-by-side during the Farm Aid concert in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 2013. Equipped with acoustic guitars, the duo delivered an out of this world duet. And when their performance came to an end, Nelson and his son engage in an emotional embrace. Farm Aid said the performance is “one of our most-watched Farm Aid concert videos.”
And as if that wasn’t enough for a treat, the Nelsons also released a beautiful music video for “Just Breathe.” Well, consider yourself warned, the clip is kind of a tearjerker. But the two clearly had some serious father-son bonding time while filming it. See it for yourself below.