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Nathaniel Rateliff Debuts New Song to Celebrate Willie Nelson's Birthday

Nathaniel Rateliff Debuts New Song to Celebrate Willie Nelson's Birthday

Today, acclaimed musician Nathaniel Rateliff shares "Willie's Birthday Song," the latest installment of The Marigold Singles and a tribute to Willie Nelson. The Marigold Singles is an ongoing project to raise money for The Marigold Project, Rateliff's foundation supporting community and nonprofit organizations working for economic and social justice.

Listen below!

Due to delays in vinyl production and Rateliff wanting the song out prior to Willie's birthday, the track is being released through digital platforms today. Rateliff finished the song on March 12 when he arrived home in Denver after postponing his And It's Still Alright tour. Following social distancing guidelines, Rateliff assembled a talented group of family and friends for the song, which features Willie's sister Bobbi Nelson on piano, his famed harmonica player Mickey Raphael, The Night Sweats members Patrick Meese, Mark Shusterman and Jeff Dazey, Jonathan Tyler, Matt Pynn, as well as background vocals by Willie's sons Lukas and Micah, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Nikki Lane and Courtney Marie Andrews. Additionally, all the featured musicians filmed their performances to be included in a Rett Rogers directed video, which will be released on Willie's birthday, April 29.

On Monday, Rateliff premiered the song live with Mickey Raphael as part of Willie's 4/20 celebration livestream, "Come & Toke It."

"Willie's Birthday Song" will appear on the B-side of a limited edition 7" that will be released this summer exclusively at The forthcoming 7" release will also include a duet by Rateliff and Willie as the A-side, which will at that time be available digitally. Proceeds from this installment will support Farm Aid whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land and StrongHearts Native Helpline, which confronts issues of domestic violence in the Native American community.

"Farm Aid is honored to be a beneficiary of this song to celebrate Farm Aid's founder, Willie Nelson. We're grateful that Nathaniel Rateliff and his foundation, The Marigold Project, are part of the Farm Aid family. The work they do to support so many communities and advance racial and social justice is critical, especially in these times" said Farm Aid's executive director Carolyn Mugar.

StrongHearts is a culturally appropriate, anonymous, confidential service dedicated to serving Native American survivors of domestic violence and concerned family members and friends. "We are honored to be chosen as a beneficiary of this special project," said StrongHearts Director Lori Jump.

The band initially met Willie through their work with Farm Aid and over the years developed a friendship, connecting on the agricultural benefits of sustainable family farming. Last year, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats released a special edition cannabis collection under Willie's Reserve. As part of this collaboration, the band hoped to bring attention to the positive impact's legalization has had on local economies and opportunities in agriculture. Further product information can be found here:

In December 2019, the first Marigold Single series debuted featuring Rateliff and John Prine performing Prine's "Sam Stone" as well as a cover of Prine's "Summer's End" with Courtney Marie Andrews. Future releases of The Marigold Singles will feature more collaborations and the beneficiaries will be chosen by the artists common beliefs and the subject matter for the songs. All Marigold Singles are released on 7" vinyl and digitally.

Rateliff established The Marigold Project in 2017. In 2018, The Marigold Project hosted a day of workshops and a rally focused on gun violence prevention, and in December the foundation hosted a summit in Denver concentrated on community and coalition building. Attendees learned from activists and advocates across the country with decades of experience in community building for positive and lasting change.

The foundation also offers grants to organizations working on income inequality, voter registration, food access, gun violence prevention and indigenous rights, among many others. Grant recipients include Mauna Kea/Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, Volunteers of America's Veterans Homeless Services, Denver Urban Gardens, American Agriculture Movement and Texas Gun Sense.

photo credit: Rett Rogers

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