Willie Nelson, George Clinton Light Up Hempilation 2 Album

Country singer, funk maven among artists contributing tracks to pro-pot project.

If the list of contributors to Hempilation 2: freetheweed is any indication, pro-marijuana activists are an eclectic bunch.

Diverse artists such as country legend Willie Nelson, funkster-supreme George Clinton, proto-punk Wayne Kramer and singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt are among those who have given voice to Hempilation 2. The benefit album (Nov. 3) will donate its proceeds to NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws).

Although Hempilation 2 is sure to encourage stony grins in smoke-filled rooms, Nelson said he contributed his "Me and Paul," a country shuffle about a musician's life on the road, to the all-star compilation for political reasons.

"They needed a song ... and I suggested 'Me and Paul,' because that sort-of hints around what they're talking about," the 65-year-old country-pop legend said. "I think the fact that anyone who has anything to do with cannabis is labeled a criminal ... that's what I'm against, and I think it's totally wrong and NORML does too, so we agree on that" (Interview excerpt).

"Criminalizing weed, and hemp in general, is probably one of the most ludicrous things society has ever done," singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt added.

The first Hempilation disc featured songs from jam bands such as the Black Crowes and Blues Traveler, along with weed-wielding rappers Cypress Hill and punk-funkers Sublime, and raised more than $90,000 for NORML, an organization dedicated to education and political advocacy on marijuana issues.

In addition to songs with subtle references to the subject of marijuana, Hempilation 2 includes such tracks as the sinewy, Middle Eastern-flavored "Sidemousin' the Bong," from former Minutemen Mike Watt and George Hurley, accompanied by bong-inhalation noises and violin.

R. Keith Stroup, executive director and founder of NORML, explained his organization's position on the project in a statement released by Capricorn, the record label behind the hemp-happy disc.

"Musicians have a real impact on our culture, and this project provides an effective way for those groups who oppose marijuana-prohibition to move the country in that direction," Stroup said. "We look forward to a wonderfully diverse new group of artists to lend their voices and talents on the upcoming Hempilation 2, reflecting the diversity of the tens of millions of people who support our cause."

Singing in a near falsetto, Chesnutt collaborated with producer and longtime pal Scott Stuckey on the short, drum-looped boogie of "Weed to the Rescue."

"We used to have this saying together: 'Weed to the rescue!' It was loosely based on the cheese TV-commercial that goes, 'Cheese to the rescue,' " Chesnutt said. "For some reason we always had this saying, which we thought was quite funny. It was commentary on certain situations. If we saw some guy on TV and thought he was stoned, we'd go, 'Weed to the rescue.' "

Despite contributing a humorous song to the compilation, Chesnutt shares Nelson's political concerns about the criminalization of marijuana. "It's insanity. It ruins people's lives," he said. "[Criminalizing marijuana] hurts society a lot more than a bunch of stoners running around."

The complete track-listing for the Hempilation 2 album: Everything, "Free To Choose"; George Clinton, "U.S. Customs Coast Guard Dope Dog"; Vic Chesnutt, "Weed to the Rescue"; Mike Watt, "Sidemousin' the Bong"; Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, "Don't Bogart Me"; From Good Homes, "Long-Haired Country Boy"; Willie Nelson, "Me and Paul"; Dar Williams, "Play the Greed"; Spearhead, "Joker"; Fun Lovin' Criminals, "Smoke 'Em"; Long Beach Dub All-Stars w/ Barrington Levy, "Under Me Sensi"; Big Sugar, "Let Me Roll It"; Jimmie's Chicken Shack, "High"; Gov't Mule, "30 Days in the Hole"; Letters To Cleo, "Let's Get High"; Wayne Kramer, "If You're A Viper"; Freddy Jones Band, "Light Up Or Leave Me Alone"; The Rainmakers w/Brewer & Shipley, "One Toke Over The Line"; Blue Mountain, "Mary Jane"; and Hank Flamingo, "The Dope Smokin' Song."