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Willie Nelson’s ‘Road’ Headed to Outer Space?

Jeff Gentner, Getty Images

Willie Nelson‘s evergreen ‘On the Road Again‘ could soon be traveling to new heights. The tune is being considered as one of the songs to be used to wake up U.S. astronauts on their latest mission, the STS-133, which launches in November. NASA is launching a contest for fans to pick the two songs that will wake the astronauts up during their November journey from a short list of 40 tracks that includes Willie, as well as tunes from Alan Jackson and Aaron Tippin.

Willie’s ‘On the Road Again,’ Aaron’s ‘Big Boy Toys,’ and Alan Jackson’s ‘Where I Come From,’ are all in the running as potential alarm clocks, along with songs by the Rolling Stones, Louis Armstrong, the Foo Fighters, and the Beatles. Fans can now vote on their favorites at NME reports that RUSH‘s ‘Countdown‘ is currently in the lead with 28.5 percent of the vote (as of Friday, August 27).

In other Willie news, the icon has teamed with pop star Jason Mraz to record a Roy Orbison tune that has never been heard by the public before. Jason tells Billboard that the two recorded ‘The Way Is Love,’ last November, a song that was demoed six months before Roy’s death in 1988. “He recorded it just on a hand-held dictaphone,” says the singer, “and his wife Barbara Orbison sent us a copy. No one’s ever recorded it or released it, so we’re gonna give it a shot.”

No word on a release date for the CD that contains the new Jason/Willie collaboration just yet, but Jason plans to test-drive some of the new material on October 2 in Milwaukee at Willie’s annual Farm Aid concert, and the two just may preview the new song for the crowd.

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