Willie Nelson Covers Coldplay

Sep 2, 2011 12:19pm

Willie Nelson has always been a friend to family farmers. Remember Farm Aid?

Now the country icon once again raises his voice for the family farm in a new animated short film critical of factory farming – this time covering Coldplay’s haunting classic “The Scientist.”

The two-minute stop-motion film, called “Back to the Start,” depicts a farmer’s journey as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the error of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film, by London-based director Johnny Kelly, and the soundtrack by Nelson were commissioned by fast food burrito giant Chipotle, whose tag line is “food with integrity.”

The film touts the company’s commitment to sustainability while raising money for the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, “which provides funding to support sustainable agriculture, family farming, and culinary education,” according a press release from the burrito chain.

“We produced this film to help illustrate the choices people face in deciding what to eat, and hope that it will encourage people to choose food that is raised with respect for the land, the animals, and the farmers that produce it,” Steve Ells, founder and co-CEO of Chipotle, said in the statement.

Starting this month, “Back to the Start” will appear before feature films on nearly 5,700 movie screens nationwide. It can also be viewed online at Chipotle.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/chipotle.

Nelson’s version of  “The Scientist” can be purchased on iTunes for 99 cents — 60 cents of which will go toward Chipotle’s foundation.

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Willie Nelson, both as a musician and for his extraordinary efforts to support family farming,” Els said of working with Nelson, one of the original founders of Farm Aid 26 years ago, along with John Mellencamp and Neil Young.

Meanwhile, Nelson’s cover could become a new classic, in the same the way Johnny Cash’s version of Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt” has.

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