In honor of Willie Nelson‘s 90th birthday on Saturday, Billy Strings has released a new single, “California Sober”, featuring Willie himself. The new track, an ode to aging gracefully and partying responsibly, marks Billy’s first release since signing on with Reprise Records.

In addition to Willie Nelson and Billy Strings’ eponymous band (Alex Hargreaves on fiddle, Billy Failing on banjo, Jarrod Walker on Mandolin, and Royal Masat on upright bass), the track features contributions from Mickey Raphael on harmonica, Shannon Forest on snare, and Doug Jerrigan on pedal steel.

The instantly lovable track—written by Billy Strings (William Apostol), Aaron Allen, and Jon Weisberger—arrived on Friday alongside a behind-the-scenes music video. Staged to appear like it takes place on Willie Nelson’s smokey tour bus, the video cuts between footage of Billy Nelson, Willie Strings, and the gang recording the tune and B-roll of their fun—but not too fun—studio antics.

Related: Willie Nelson Welcomes Billy Strings During Outlaw Fest In Connecticut [Photos/Videos]

As they work through tongue-in-cheek lyrics about keeping “the hard stuff and whiskey from my head” and how the old crew is “busy posting vids and just trying to raise their kids instead of raising holy hell and posting bail,” Billy and the rest of the talented instrumentalists each take a few bars to strut their stuff. Nelson may not have actually been in the room with Strings and the band for the video shoot, but the mile-wide grin and cheeky “Pick it, Willie” he sports during Billy’s first solo still manages to convey his towering presence on the final product.

Related: Willie Nelson To Reveal Stories Behind 160 Songs In New Book, ‘Energy Follows Thought’

Of course, “California Sober” isn’t quite sober-sober. Willie twists one up before long, and Billy takes the baton, sparks it, and rattles off a few more bars of bluegrass heat on his six-string while he puffs away.

As Billy Strings said of the new track in a post on Instagram, “I’m so honored to have made this song with Willie Nelson. We’re gearing up to celebrate this living legend’s 90th birthday this weekend in L.A. and he’s still out here kicking ass. What an absolute treasure and inspiration to us all. I can’t really find the right words to describe how much this means to me.. Like most of us, I grew up exposed to Willie’s music.. a little boy hearing my dad sing ‘blue eyes crying in the rain’ at the request of grandpa Bill sitting there with a cold beer in one hand and one of his lil’ pinner joints in the other with a big smile through the whiskers on his red face. I wish grandpa was still alive. We’d be kicking up a fuss!! Willie’s music has helped shape so many of our lives, even if we don’t know it. It’s there. It’s woven into the fabric of our nation. I feel almost patriotic when I think of Willie Nelson. I will cherish this song for the rest of my life. I love you all.”

California Sober may not work for everybody, but for Billy Strings and Willie Nelson, it’s the only way to get by. As the two pot-loving Williams croon on the song’s chorus, “I can’t stay out and party like I did back in the day, so I’m California sober, as they say.”

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Click below to read along with the lyrics while you watch the new video for “California Sober” by Billy Strings featuring Willie Nelson. To stream the track on the platform of your choice, click here.

Billy Strings ft. Willie Nelson – “California Sober” – Lyrics

Well, I used to like to ramble with my good-time friends and neighbors
Now I find I’d rather lie awake in bed
And I don’t get to acting mean when I keep my buzzes clean
And keep the hard stuff and the whiskey from my head

Well, I guess that’s just the trouble when you’re always seeing double
And the lines are getting twice as hard to see
I’ve had years I don’t recall but I’m told I had a ball
At least somebody did who looked a lot like me

So I’m California sober as they say
Lately I can find no other way
I can’t stay out and party like I did back in the day
So I’m California sober as they say

I learned out in the hills they have pills to get their thrills
And they love their liquor down in New Orleans
Maybe for a New York minute sugarcane will fit the bill
But in no time flat you’re out of what you need

The old crew don’t get together anymore these days much ever
After some went straight and some went straight to jail
Now they’re busy posting vids and just trying to raise their kids
Instead of raising holy hell and posting bail

Well, I’m California sober as they say
Lately I can find no other way
I can’t stay out and party like I did back in the day
So I’m California sober as they say

I was California sober till I thought the world was over
Now I’m sitting on the roadside once again
And when that wagon passes by, I don’t even bat an eye
Because the devil on my shoulder always wins
When that ol’ wagon passes by, I don’t even bat an eye
Because the devil on my shoulder always wins

View Lyrics

Billy Strings, Willie Nelson – “California Sober” (Official Video)

Billy Strings, Willie Nelson – “California Sober”

This weekend, Billy Strings will take part in a star-studded 90th birthday celebration for Willie Nelson at Hollywood Bowl. The two-night event, set to take place on Saturday and Sunday, April 28th and 29th, is also due to feature appearances by BeckBobby WeirChris StapletonDave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Edie Brickell, Gary Clark Jr., Jack Johnson, Kris Kristofferson, Lukas Nelson, Margo Price, Neil Young, Nathaniel Rateliff, Norah Jones, Particle Kid, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Cash, Stephen Stills, Snoop Dogg, Sturgill Simpson, Warren Haynes, Ziggy Marley, and more. For more information on the Willie Nelson birthday blowout at Hollywood Bowl, head here.

Click below for a full list of confirmed 2023 Billy Strings tour dates. For ticketing information, head here.

Billy Strings 2023 Tour Dates

April 29—Los Angeles, CA—Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90 at the Hollywood Bowl (SOLD OUT)
April 30—Los Angeles, CA—Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90 at the Hollywood Bowl (SOLD OUT)
May 11—Morrison, CO—Red Rocks Amphitheatre (SOLD OUT)
May 12—Morrison, CO—Red Rocks Amphitheatre (SOLD OUT)
May 13—Denver, CO—Mission Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
May 17—Phoenix, AZ—Arizona Financial Theatre (SOLD OUT)
May 19—Los Angeles, CA—Greek Theatre (SOLD OUT)
May 20—San Diego, CA—Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre (SOLD OUT)
May 21—San Diego, CA—Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
May 24—Las Vegas, NV—Brooklyn Bowl (SOLD OUT)
May 26—Napa, CA—BottleRock Napa Valley
June 2—Austin, TX—Moody Center
June 3—Austin, TX—Moody Center
June 7—Tulsa, OK—BOK Center
June 9—St. Louis, MO—Chaifetz Arena
June 10—Indianapolis, IN—TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park (SOLD OUT)
June 11—Indianapolis, IN—TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park (SOLD OUT)
June 13—Cleveland, OH—Jacobs Pavilion (SOLD OUT)
June 14—Cleveland, OH—Jacobs Pavilion (SOLD OUT)
June 16—Clarkston, MI—Pine Knob Music Theatre (SOLD OUT)
June 17—Chicago, IL—Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island (SOLD OUT)
July 13—Cary, NC—Koka Booth Amphitheatre
July 14—Cary, NC—Koka Booth Amphitheatre
July 15—Cary, NC—Koka Booth Amphitheatre (SOLD OUT)
July 19—Norfolk, VA—Chartway Arena
July 21—Bridgeport, CT—Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater
July 22—Essex Junction, VT—Midway Lawn at Champlain Valley Expo (SOLD OUT)
July 23—Essex Junction, VT—Midway Lawn at Champlain Valley Expo (SOLD OUT)
July 25—Boston, MA—Leader Bank Pavilion
July 26—Boston, MA—Leader Bank Pavilion
July 28—Portland, ME—Thompson’s Point (SOLD OUT)
July 29—Portland, ME—Thompson’s Point (SOLD OUT)
July 30—Newport, RI—Newport Folk Festival (SOLD OUT)
August 7—Frankfurt, Germany—Batschkapp
August 8—Berlin, Germany—Huxleys
August 9—Hamburg, Germany—Grobe Freiheit 36
August 24—Knoxville, TN—Knoxville Civic Coliseum (SOLD OUT)
August 25—Huntsville, AL—The Orion Amphitheater
August 26—Louisville, KY—The Orion Amphitheater
September 14—Huntsville, AL—Bourbon & Beyond
September 22-23—Buena Vista, CO—venue announcing soon
September 27—Nampa, ID—Ford Idaho Center Arena
September 29—Portland, OR—Moda Center
September 30—Portland, OR—Moda Center
October 1—Seattle, WA—WAMU Theater
October 4—Sacramento, CA—Golden 1 Center
October 6—Stanford, CA—Frost Amphitheater
October 7—Stanford, CA— Frost Amphitheater
October 8—Stateline, NV—Tahoe Event Center
October 10—West Valley City, UT—Maverik Center
October 13—Independence, MO—Cable Dahmer Arena
October 14—Independence, MO— Cable Dahmer Arena
October 31—Grand Rapids, MI—Van Andel Arena
November 6—Amsterdam, Netherlands—Paradiso
November 7—Amsterdam, Netherlands—Paradiso
November 8—Antwerp, Belgium—De Roma
November 10—Cologne, Germany—Carlswerk Victoria
November 11—Luxembourg, Luxembourg—den Atelier
November 12—Munich, Germany—Neue Theaterfabrik
November 14—Paris, France—La Cigale
November 15—London, U.K.—Roundhouse
November 17—Manchester, U.K.—Manchester Academy
November 18—Glasgow, U.K.—O2 Academy Glasgow
November 19—Birmingham, U.K.—O2 Academy
December 6—Greensboro, NC—Greensboro Coliseum
December 8—Baltimore, MD—CFG Bank Arena
December 9—Baltimore, MD— CFG Bank Arena
December 12—Pittsburgh, PA—Petersen Events Center
December 13—Pittsburgh, PA— Petersen Events Center
December 15—Wilkes-Barre, PA—Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
December 16—Syracuse, NY—Oncenter War Memorial
December 29—New Orleans, LA—Uno Lakefront Arena
December 30—New Orleans, LA—Uno Lakefront Arena
December 31—New Orleans, LA—Uno Lakefront Arena

View Tour Dates