Granted, it’s an absolutely stunning song in and of itself, and the Pearl Jam version is top-notch, but there’s just something about the country element the Nelson’s bring to the table here that I can’t get enough of.
Willie included their version on his 2012 Heroes album at the suggestion of Lukas, and on an old episode of Willie’s Roadhouse, frontman Eddie Vedder likened their rendition to:
“Smoking a great joint without all the coughing or the smoke.”
A great comparison when it comes to Nelson covers, indeed.
Eddie also told Willie what an unbelievable honor it was to have him sing that song, even going so far is to call it his own:
“Best contribution to music so far.”
Damn… talk about some high praise from one legend to another. I think it’s safe to say that Lukas and Willie more than did the song justice.
“Just Breathe” was originally released in 2009 as the second single from Pearl Jam’s ninth studio album, Backspacer.
A solo write by frontman Eddie Vedder, it peaked at #6 on the U.S. Billboard Alternative chart, which makes it the band’s highest-charting follow-up single since “Wishlist” in 1998.
I think Eddie would agree based on his previous statement that you simply can’t beat the delivery of Willie and Lukas, and the fact that they’re singing it together just kicks everything up a notch.
And for the “country” version, they also brought in some heavy harmonica, which only adds to the depth of the song, and honestly, I’d venture to even call this one of the greatest covers of all-time, period.
Call it a hot take if you want, but it’s really just the truth… please do yourself a massive favor and add it to your playlist: