Single Review: Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “It’s all Going to Pot”

Willie Nelson Merle Haggard It's all Going to Pot

“It’s all Going to Pot”
Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard

Written by Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson, and Larry Shell

Let’s answer all of the burning questions right away.

1. Do these two legends still sound great?  Yes.

2. Is it a real duet where they alternate verses and play off of each other?  Yes.

3. Does that title mean what I think it means?  Yes.

Nelson and Haggard are in fine form, and “It’s all Going to Pot” is subtle enough that a casual listener can read it as two older men lamenting on the state of the world today.  It’s a nice wink-and-nod to Haggard’s own legacy.  When you hear “Okie from Muskogee” described as a call to arms for traditional American life, you can be assured that whoever is making that claim completely missed the tongue that Haggard had firmly planted in his cheek with that one!

There’s nothing earth-shatteringly brilliant here.  If it wasn’t for the way that this particular song could garner the free press to compensate radio ignoring it completely, it’s doubtful it would be anything more than album filler.

But it’s entertaining enough, and it’s Willie and Merle.  That’ll do for now.

Grade: B


  1. By chance one evening, I happened to watch Willie’s interview with Kimmel and it was all pot this and bong that. My little brother asked who the old man on TV was. My mother hesitantly responded that it was Willie Nelson, a country singer. I find it sad that a casual observer, like my mother, would know more about Willie Nelson, pot activist than Willie Nelson, one of the greatest vocalists of our time.

    The song, on itself, has a great vibe to it. I like it a lot, and I am someone who doesn’t usually like weed songs due to my stance on the issue.

  2. Legends who can’t get arrested on country radio anymore, and yet we are stuck with all the bro-country garbage?! Not to use a clichéd phrase, but there oughta be a law!

  3. I dunno why, but part of me feels like this would have appealed to me more had it been a Willie solo song (obviously, with alternate lyrics in a few places). Maybe it’s because I know Haggard himself has been pretty clear that he quit using marijuana quite a long time ago and insists it wasn’t good for him and doesn’t believe it’s good for anyone else. Maybe it’s just because I feel like it’s more of a novelty song and I want more substance from a collaboration between living legends.

    Still, I’m looking forward to the album!

  4. Now, always and forever will these guys be more hardcore, more bada** and of course waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more country than Sam Hunt.

  5. I thought it was great. Nothing earth-shattering, but very solid and a lot of fun. I like Jamey Johnson on the background vocals, too.

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