Over the years, Willie Nelson has liked to do "anything that makes record companies nervous. Nervous is a good sign." We'll see how he feels now that he's sitting in the owner's chair of his own label

Over the years, Willie Nelson has liked to do "anything that makes record companies nervous. Nervous is a good sign." We'll see how he feels now that he's sitting in the owner's chair of his own label.

Nelson is launching Pedernales Records with the June 15 release of the as-yet-untitled debut album by 40 Points, a quartet that features his sons Lukas (vocals, guitar) and Micah (drums). His partners in the company included veteran music producer James Stroud and Nelson's longtime manager, Mark Rothbaum.

"I just think it's a good idea," Nelson, who's formally announcing the label on Friday (March 16) at the South By Southwest Music & Media Conference in Austin, Texas, tells Billboard.com. "I have a whole lot of material I've recorded over the last 25 years in my studio in Texas, and it's just laying there. Also, there's other artists I think could use a good record label. Everything just seems so right about it."

Nelson says his own stash of material includes performances with Wynton Marsalis and others earlier this year at a Lincoln Center benefit in New York as well as unreleased sessions with Les Paul, Grady Martin and Jackie King. "It makes a lot of sense to have your own label if you have that much material," notes Nelson, who plans to record solely for Pedernales after his current deal with Lost Highway expires.

Pedernales Records will be headquartered outside Austin, on the banks of the Pedernales River. Nelson also owns the Pedernales Country Club and founded Pedernales Studios, which is now owned by his nephew Freddy Fletcher.

As previously reported, Nelson's next project -- "Last of the Breed," a two-disc collaboration with old friends Merle Haggard and Ray Price -- comes out March 20. The trio is currently on tour, backed by Asleep at the Wheel, and will play two nights in Austin following the label announcement.

Nelson also recently recorded a song called "What a Difference a Day Makes" to benefit radio personality Don Imus' Cattle Ranch For Kids With Cancer and co-wrote "Right to Dream" for the film "Tennessee" with Mariah Carey. "She's a sweetheart," Nelson says, "and she can really, really sing. It was no more left field than working with Julio Iglesias."

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