Willie Nelson dropped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last week to chat about his new album, Ride Me Back Home, revealing an abiding love of horses in the process.
In between riffs on what it’s like to live on Nelson’s bus, his part in the ongoing Outlaw Music Festival Tour and his new cannabis company Willie’s Reserve — he made sure to appoint himself Chief Tester, jokes the 86 year old — Nelson revealed why he decided to dedicate his latest release “to the horses.”
“Me and some more folks — Habitat for Horses — rescued a bunch of horses that were scheduled to be slaughtered,” Nelson explained. “I already had maybe 15 or so of my own, and then I bought 50 of these horses. So then, I’ve got a few horses.”
After admitting that he does actually pick favorites with his songs (including “Ride Me Back Home” and a cover of Guy Clark’s “My Favorite Picture of You,” which he lovingly presented later in the show), Nelson also told Fallon why his concerts are so legendary after all this time. Basically, it’s because he never knows what he’s going to play until it happens.
“I kind of go with the crowd,” Nelson admits. “I know there’s a few songs they’ve come to hear that I will do before the night’s over — ‘On the Road Again,’ for instance, and ‘Always On My Mind’ — but other than that I just kind of let it happen.”
Nelson’s Ride Me Back Home is out now, and he’ll be headlining a rotating cast of stars like Bonnie Raitt, The Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and more on the Outlaw Music Festival Tour all summer.