Originally written by Billy Joe, John Anderson first released the song in March of 1981 as the lead single to his John Anderson 2 album. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart later that year.
Of the influence Billy Joe had on her own music, Miranda told Rolling Stone that she used to perform this exact song all across the Lone Star state when she was first getting her start in small honky tonks and bars:
“Billy Joe’s words have inspired countless artists for decades…myself included.
I was singing his songs in honky-tonks all across our home state of Texas by the time I could drive. ‘I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal’ was always one of my favorites to perform.
I was honored when they asked me to record it for this project and join so many of my heroes to celebrate his incredible legacy.”
While Billy passed away in 2020 and is no longer here to get to hear all these new renditions himself, he once said that the lyrics of good music will last forever, and that has clearly aged well when it comes to his great and timeless music:
“When you write songs, and you write good songs, people will always remember you. Words will always outlive us.
And if your name is attached to those words, you’re gonna live forever.”
Amen to that, Billy.
His friend and fellow Texan who’s featured on the tracklist, the legend himself Willie Nelson, remembers Billy Joe fondly, saying:
“He was just real; there wasn’t one phony drop of blood in him.”
The new album was co-produced by Charlie Sexton and Freddy Fletcher, and features an incredible cast of artists including Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Nathaniel Rateliff, Ryan Bingham and Nikki Lane, Steve Earle, Edie Brickell, Rodney Crowell, Margo Price, Allison Russell, and Amanda Shires.
Set to drop on November 11th, they previously released the lead single, “Live Forever,” featuring Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams.
And I know we’ve only heard two songs so far, but this one is already my favorite… you simply can’t beat Miranda’s Texas twang on a classic track like this: