Ninety-two-year-old Lyndel Rhodes cannot stop smiling. Who wouldn’t after hearing Willie Nelson sing your song?
The Lexington, Tennessee resident was simply “overcome with excitement” when she heard this recording. How did she get her song recorded by the Country Music Hall of Famer?
Her song, famous producer Buddy Cannon, made this happen (can someone say “golden child”?).
“She couldn’t believe it,” Cannon told PEOPLE. “My mom is a very bashful, very shy person, but she was excited to no end. She never thought someone would sing something she wrote.”
Rhodes wrote “Little House on the Hill” while driving home from Nashville after visiting her son. The song is all about coming home. More specifically, returning to her home where she’s lived for the past 60 years.
“It’s a very personal song, so she was thrilled to hear it done right,” said Cannon. “She couldn’t stop smiling and her feet wouldn’t stop wiggling!”
Fortunately, Cannon caught on camera the moment his mom heard the recording for the first time. The video has since racked up more than 368,000 views on YouTube.
“What are you listening to?” Cannon asks in the video.
”’Little House on the Hill!’” she replies.
“Whose song is that?” he asks.
“You wrote it?,” he asks.
“Yeah, tried to.”
“Well, who’s singing it?” he asks.
“Mr. Willie,” Rhodes says, rocking back and forth in her chair.
“Willie who?” he asks, although he already knows the answer.
“Mr. Willie Nelson!”
She gets a big smirk on her face and begins chiming in through out the song, even harmonizing at points.
Cannon said the house is a very important part of the family. Once he heard the song, he knew the meaning and understood the sentiment.
“She saw me and my sisters grow up there and graduate,” he said “My stepfather passed away in that house. It holds a lot of memories.”
Roughly a month or two ago, Cannon made a simple demo of the song with his vocals and guitar playing and emailed the recording to Nelson.
“He responded in 15 minutes saying he loved the song,” said Cannon. “He was like, ‘Let’s record it!’”
Just a few weeks after that, they recorded Nelson singing the song.
“Then I made a trip to her house (it really is little) and played it for her,” he said. “It was such a thrill for her to hear a song she wrote.”
“To get to see my mom’s face as she heard it was unbelievable,” he added.
Lyndel Rhodes listening to Willie Nelson sing a song she wrote
Willie Nelson the peace-maker
Nelson seems to be someone who’s not divisive but rather brings people together.
For example, he recently avoided endorsing either presidential candidate, saying Hillary Clinton is “fine, a great gal,” and that Trump is “a brother hustler, I wish him well.” It’s not common to see a star be a peace-maker like that.
Singing a song that a 92-year-old woman wrote is also uncommon. Nelson is just an uncommon kind of guy.