In celebration of Willie Nelson’s 88th birthday, acclaimed musician Nathaniel Rateliff is releasing a rendition of the track “It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way,” originally recorded as a duet with Waylon Jennings. The single, which is Rateliff’s first ever duet with Nelson, marks the latest installment of The Marigold Singles Series, an ongoing project to raise money for Rateliff’s foundation, The Marigold Project, supporting community and nonprofit organizations working for economic and social justice.
“I really appreciated Nathaniel doing this song out of my catalog and it was a pleasure to sing with him,” notes Nelson. “Nathaniel and his band have been great friends and supporters of Farm Aid ever since we got to know each other six years ago.”
“Whether it has been watching Willie lead Farm Aid’s efforts to help the real farmers of America, fight for the sensible legalization of cannabis or take my money on the poker table, getting to know him has been a blessing. ‘It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way’ is a powerful song and it meant a lot to get to sing it with Willie. Having Mickey [Raphael] play so beautifully on it was icing on the cake,” adds Rateliff.
“It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way” is available for purchase now as a limited edition 7” with an official digital release coming this May. The 7” also includes the previously released track “Willie’s Birthday Song,” which features Bobbie Nelson, Mickey Raphael, Lukas and Micah Nelson, Nikki Lane, members of The Night Sweats and more. Fans can purchase the 7” exclusively at shop.nathanielrateliff.com.
Proceeds from this installment support Farm Aid, whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land, and StrongHearts Native Helpline, which confronts issues of domestic violence in the Native American community
“Farm Aid is honored to be a beneficiary of this song to celebrate Farm Aid’s founder, Willie Nelson,” says executive director Carolyn Mugar. “We’re grateful that Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and their foundation, The Marigold Project, are part of the Farm Aid family. The work they do to support so many communities and advance racial and social justice is critical, especially in these times.”
“StrongHearts is a culturally-appropriate, anonymous, confidential service dedicated to serving Native American survivors of domestic violence and concerned family members and friends. We are honored to be chosen as a beneficiary of this special project,” furthers executive director Lori Jump.
Rateliff established The Marigold Project in 2017. In 2018, The Marigold Project hosted a day of workshops focused on gun violence prevention and in 2019 the foundation hosted a summit in Denver concentrated on community and coalition building. Attendees learned from activists and advocates across the country with decades of experience in community building for positive and lasting change. In addition, the foundation launched The Marigold Singles series to raise money for community and nonprofit organizations. The first installment of the series was released in 2019, which featured Rateliff and John Prine performing Prine’s “Sam Stone” as well as a cover of Prine’s “Summer’s End” with Courtney Marie Andrews. Future releases of The Marigold Singles will feature notable musicians and collaborators and the beneficiaries will be chosen by the artists’ common beliefs and the subject matter of the songs.
Last year, The Marigold Project also released a community cookbook, Meet Me At The Table, featuring a compilation of musicians’ original recipes alongside profiles of food justice organizations. Meet Me At The Table included original recipes from Rateliff, Prine, Fantastic Negrito, Grace Potter, Jack Johnson, Jon Batiste, Tarriona “Tank” Ball, Valerie June and many more. The cookbook’s goal was to acknowledge the history of food in America and shine a spotlight on the incredible work being done all across the country that values all people and the planet.
The foundation offers grants to organizations working on income inequality, voter registration, food access, gun violence prevention and indigenous rights, among other issues. Grant recipients include Mauna Kea/Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Missouri Rural Crisis Center and Southerners on New Ground.