Beyoncé Surprises Fans With Unexpected Willie Nelson Collab

(Left Photo) Beyoncé/Instagram (Right Photo) David Redfern/Redferns via Getty Images

Willie Nelson makes multiple appearances on Beyoncé’s latest country album, Cowboy Carter, but in a surprising twist for fans, he doesn’t lend his voice as a singer.

Instead, the 90-year-old country legend serves as a narrator, offering voiceovers inspired by his days as a Texas DJ.

Before making a name for himself as a top songwriter and artist in Nashville, Nelson’s roots in country music began as a disc jockey in Texas.

On Beyoncé’s highly anticipated Cowboy Carter album, his presence notably shines on a track titled “Smoke Hour.” Given Nelson’s well-known affinity for marijuana, fans had speculated that the song might be a duet celebrating the pleasures of cannabis.

FEBRUARY 13: Country singer/songwriter Willie Nelson performs onstage on February 13, 1979. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Willie Nelson performs onstage on February 13, 1979. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

“Smoke Hour” Collaboration Revealed

Contrary to expectations, “Smoke Hour” isn’t a duet about cannabis; rather, it’s a fictional radio program on the small-town Texas station KNTRY featured in Cowboy Carter. Nelson takes on the role of DJ, introducing other tracks on the album within the narrative of the show.

“Welcome to the Smoke Hour on KNTRY Radio Texas,” Nelson begins. “You know my name, no need to know yours. Now, for this next tune, I want you all to sit back, inhale, and go to that good place your mind likes to wander off to. And if you don’t wanna go, go find yourself a jukebox. Thank you.”

Nelson makes another appearance on “Smoke Hour II,” lending his voice once more:

“You’re tuned into KNTRY Radio Texas, home of the real deal. If there’s one thing you can take away from my set today, let it be this: Sometimes you don’t know what you like until someone you trust turns you on to some real good sh*t. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m here.”

Within Nelson’s second interlude, there’s a message urging listeners to see beyond conventions. This message resonates with another theme of the album: breaking free from traditional boundaries.

Billboard describes Beyoncé’s releases as “incredibly dense, multilayered bodies of work that draw from decades of musical history across genres.”

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Beyoncé’s Musical Experimentation

Cowboy Carter defies easy categorization, particularly in terms of genre, showcasing Beyoncé’s willingness to experiment and explore new artistic territory.

“I did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive,” Beyoncé wrote in an Instagram post on March 19, offering insights into the album’s creative process.

“It feels good to see how music can unite so many people around the world, while also amplifying the voices of some of the people who have dedicated so much of their lives educating on our musical history.”


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The collaboration between Beyoncé and Willie Nelson was certainly unexpected, but it turned out to be a treat for fans nonetheless!

Listen to the song that started it all below — the debut single from Cowboy Carter, “Texas Hold ‘Em.”

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