Back in February, the the Grand Ole Opry put on a spectacular tribute show in honor of the late, great comedian Leslie Jordan, Reportin’ For Duty: A Tribute To Leslie Jordan.
It was a star-studded affair, with performances by some of the most talented musicians you could find, including Billy Strings, Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde, Jelly Roll, Lainey Wilson, Brittney Spencer, Lainey Wilson and many more.
Leslie sadly passed away at the age of 67 in October of last year, and he was most famously known for his acting roles in shows like Will & Grace, Hearts Afire, The Cool Kids, Call Me Kat, and American Horror Story.
Videos from that evening have slowly made their way over to Youtube, one of the very best performances of the night came from Lukas Nelson and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who teamed up for an absolutely stunning rendition of the Pearl Jam classic “Just Breathe.”
“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’ve always loved this song so much, and Lukas has a beautiful rendition with his father Willie Nelson, but hearing him sing it with the original songwriter in Eddie Vedder is beyond cool.
And of course, seeing two incredibly talented musicians sing with just their acoustic guitars and some strings backing them is the perfect way to deliver a song with such meaningful lyrics at a very special event for the beloved Leslie Jordan.
I need a studio version of this now about like I need oxygen in my lungs…
It’s truly spectacular, do yourself a favor and check it out:
Willie And Lukas Nelson’s Duet Of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” Is One Of The Greatest Covers Of All-Time
Lukas and his father, the legenedary Willie Nelson, teamed up for a gorgeous cover of “Just Breathe” on Willie’s 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.
And I think Eddie would agree based on those statements alone 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: