Michael McDonald and Willie Nelson Cover “Dreams of the San Joaquin” for Charity: Stream

Proceeds from the single, which also features Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, benefit RAICES and the United Farm Workers of America

Michael mcDonald Willie Nelson los lobos david hidalgo dreams of the san joaquin bandcamp benefit single charity raices
Michael McDonald (photo by Philip Cosores) and Willie Nelson (photo via ACL/PBS)

    It’s Bandcamp Friday again, which means dozens of artists are releasing new tracks as the platform waives 100% of its revenue shares. To coincide with the monthly event, Michael McDonald and Willie Nelson have teamed with Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo for a charity cover of “Dreams of the San Joaquin”.

    Originally written by Randy Sharp and Jack Wesley Routh, “Dreams of the San Joaquin” was made famous by renditions from Kenny Rogers and Linda Ronstadt. It tells the story of field workers in the California’s San Joaquin Valley during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl eras. Fittingly, proceeds from McDonald and Nelson’s new cover will go to benefit RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) and the United Farm Workers of America.

    In a press statement, McDonald explained why supporting these causes is more important than ever during the pandemic:

    “The migrant farm worker is as responsible if not more for maintaining our country’s position as one of the largest agricultural economies in the world. The labor that falls squarely on their shoulders allows farmers to bring produce to our stores and food to our tables as reasonably priced as possible. COVID has ravaged this quadrant of the American workforce disproportionately. RAICES and United Farm Workers Union are working hard to bring vaccine awareness and financial help to provide distribution to this demographic so hard hit by COVID-19.”


    McDonald’s familiar buttery baritone opens “Dreams of the San Joaquin” over the trio of collaborators’ plaintive guitar playing. Nelson adds his own vocals on the second voice, before McDonald joins in for a true duet. Take a listen below, and download the digital track via Bandcamp.

    The cover will hit streaming services on May 14th, while a music video directed by Nelson’s son, Micah Nelson, will be released in the near future.


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