June and Johnny Cash, Farm Aid

November 21st, 2014

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/farmaid/15837708242/” title=”#tbt Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash performing at Farm Aid! by Farm Aid, on Flickr”><img src=”https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7546/15837708242_15fe5d6dd4.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”#tbt Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash performing at Farm Aid!”></a>

John and June Cash
Farm Aid


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Willie Nelson & Family at the House of Blues, Houston (11/19/14)

November 21st, 2014



by:  Craig Hlavat

Seeing the legendary Willie Nelson live is like visiting the Alamo, eating something fried and bad for you at the State Fair in Dallas, taking in a Friday night high school football game, staring at God’s dusty creations in West Texas, gazing up at the San Jacinto Monument on a sweltering afternoon, or getting a bag full of Whataburger at 2 a.m. These are timeless Texas traditions that everyone should do at least once, or multiple times if they are lucky.

Willie Nelson played Houston’s House of Blues on Tuesday night, and he brought fellow aging Texas gunslinger Billy Joe Shaver with him as opening support.

Shaver is currently touring behind a new album, “Long in the Tooth,” which sounds nothing but. Houston’s favorite upright bassist Nick Gaitan was on the lead rumble for Shaver, as he has been for a few year now. Shaver looked great in front Willie’s large Texas flag backdrop. Who else but these two artists could have a Texas flag as big as a house as their stage backdrop? ZZ Top? George Strait? Beyonce? OK, that might be a stretch.

I’ve broken down the Willie Nelson show experience in alphabet form before, if you need a bit more enlightenment.

I’ve said plenty of times in the past — at the Houston Chronicle and at other outlets — that Willie is a finite resource, a resource which you should partake in at least once a year while you are still both breathing the same air. Last night was just one of many nights that have affirmed that. The 81-year-old country monolith became a fifth degree black belt this past year in the Austin area, which makes him easily one of the most dangerous octogenarians in Texas.

Tuesday night’s show was marked by Willie charming licks from his sidekick guitar Trigger, a boisterous crowd, and the faint hint of greenery in the air. (Spoiler alert: Nelson opened the show with “Whiskey River,” like he has done since before most of us were born. There no was no immediate tally on how much whiskey was actually consumed at the show at press time.)

Three songs into the show I made it to the back bar where someone’s grandmother breathed in the air deeply as a concertgoer nearby puffed away on something still illegal in Texas (for now).

“Oh, that takes me back! It’s not even skunk weed!” she exclaimed about a good foot below me as she tried to buy me a shot, a beer, and another drink after that. It’s a school night, ma’am.

At the merch table, Willie’s people were selling an array of shirts, bandanas, vinyl, compact discs, and even a stuffed, Muppet-like Willie doll, one of which is currently staring at me as I type this.

Willie hit all the hallmarks last night, including “Still Is Still Moving to Me”, “Beer for My Horses”, “Good Hearted Woman”, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground”, “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind”. When you watch Willie onstage, backed by his usual cohorts, you have to take a few minutes to drink it all in. Watch the strings on Trigger vibrate, see Paul English set the tempo, and smile at the delicate way Mickey Raphael coaxes sound from his harmonica.

Lately he has made a point of closing shows with a run of spirituals to send us off into the night with the Lord in our hearts. “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “I Saw the Light” turned the House of Blues into a gospel revival, though hearing a few thousand slurring voices singing about the sweet by and by probably brings about a mighty tsk from the man upstairs. “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” is easily a modern hymn of Willie’s own design, praising the natural relaxant.

One last thought: My Christmas wish is for Houston fans to shut up during concerts. I know, it’s a rote request but at Willie shows it somehow burns a bit more. Even during songs like “Always On My Mind” I could hear conversations about horrible bosses, jerk neighbors, and the current whereabouts of ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends.

That’s Pat (Miss Tex) enjoying the show!

See more photos:



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Ruth and Ashley, Scooterville (House of Blues)

November 21st, 2014

photo: Jay Dryden

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Listen to “Laws of Nature” from Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson album on Sirius/SM radio

November 21st, 2014


Listen today!
Hear the World Premiere of the song “Laws Of Nature” from the new Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie album “December Day” today at 5 pm ET on SiriusXM Willie’s Roadhouse, Ch. 59. The first release in the new “Willie’s Stash” series, “December Day” is available 12/2 from Legacy Recordings.


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Willie Nelson & Family at Gruene Hall (Nov. 16, 2014)

November 21st, 2014

by: Lorne Chann

Willie Nelson at Gruene Hall may be classified by many as a religious experience in Texas.

On a chilly Sunday night, the 136-year-old dancehall welcomed the 81-year-old bandleader as he stepped through the “Willie Door,” the side entrance at Gruene Hall specifically created for Nelson.

Nelson sang a tune for Waylon and a few for Hank Williams as he worked through a 24-song, 70-minute set for a sold-out crowd of 800, who paid $105 per ticket to cross one off their bucket lists.

The biggest numbers from his catalogue were all there, entering on “Whiskey River,” captivating the audience on “Always on my Mind,” and generating a true feel of a revival on Hank’s “I Saw the Light.”

And like any experience that feels like an all-time moment, hundreds were left huddled at the front of the stage wanting more. The show ended without an encore, with many chanting for one more song even after roadies unplugged the microphones.

Nelson might be the most prolific octogenarian around, after releasing the No.1 country album “Band of Brothers” in June. His Gruene show was one of four he’ll play in the area in a five-week span, outpacing most local club acts. Nelson also played two nights at Floore’s Country Store last month and is coming to the Majestic Theatre next Sunday..

There’s still the workmanlike quality to Nelson and his famous guitar Trigger, as he appeared at 8:30 p.m. on the dot and played straight through with short breaks for two instrumental interludes.

“Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” “Crazy,” “On The Road Again,” and “Always On My Mind,” got the requisite biggest responses, and clear crowd pleasers were covers of “Georgia on my Mind,” Waylon Jennings’ “Good Hearted Woman,” Toby Keith’s “Beer for my Horses,” and a trio of Hank Williams numbers, “Jambalaya On The Bayou,” “Hey, Good Lookin,'” and “Move it on Over.”

Nelson brought opener Billy Joe Shaver on stage for “Georgia on a Fast Train,” as the 75-year-old Shaver had a great contribution to the memorable night with his 55-minute opening set.

Shaver also played “Georgia on a Fast Train,” along with “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal,” “Hard to be an Outlaw,” and a slew of rabble-rousing honky-tonk tunes. One moment from the Shaver set came when he announced between songs that a red Ford Expedition was blocking the entrance for Willie’s bus.

It was a reminder that a legend was about to pause his theatre tour to play the old dancehall one more time, and the Willie Door is always open for him, even if a car’s parked in his spot.



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Another Score at Bart’s Record Shop, in Boulder: Willie Nelson albums!

November 20th, 2014



My favorite independent record store, Bart’s Record Shop, at the Folsom Market, in Boulder, never lets me down!  Look at the beautiful albums I got today.

Check them out on facebook:

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November 20th, 2014


Thanks, Phil Weisman, for sending this great billboard shot. I love it.

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Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, Dottie West, “City of New Orleans” (Farm Aid, 1985)

November 19th, 2014


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November 19th, 2014


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November 19th, 2014


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Raelynn Nelson featured in Rolling Stone Country Magazine

November 19th, 2014


by:  Marissa R. Moss

Raelyn, growing up in a family so synonymous with country music, was there a point where you wanted to rebel?

Nelson: No. It’s just always been around, and that’s just what was and what is. I love it. Old country just feeds my soul.

Raelyn, do you have conversations with Willie about how to survive in the industry here?

Nelson: He doesn’t not like Nashville, but he got out of here because it wouldn’t let him do what he wanted to do and let him be him. So that’s what he told me when we were sitting around on the bus. He said, “Keep doing this. Keep going, keep putting your music out yourself.” He’s kind of against people taking his money for his songs, you know?

If you could score a major-label deal, would you want it?

Nelson: I don’t really aspire to get a label deal — my grandpa said, “Don’t give away your music, just put it out on your own,” so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not saying never. But now, it’s not the one thing on my mind.

Well, speaking of other people’s songs, what did you listen to growing up?

Nelson: Papa Willie, Loretta, and Patsy [Cline] and Waylon [Jennings].

photo: Butch Worrell


Country’s New Generation
by:  Marissa R. Moss

Tuesday evening at storied Nashville club , Exit/In Rolling Stone Country will present it’s inaugural showcase, as three must-hear acts on the fall installment of our  Artists You Need to Know feature — Margo and the Pricetags, Cale Tyson and Raelyn Nelson Band, led by Willie Nelson’s ukulele-wielding granddaughter — take the stage for a night of traditional country with a capital T.
We assembled Price, Tyson and Nelson, along with Nelson’s bandmate Jonathan Bright, in a West Nashville coffee shop for a roundtable discussion about the good, the bad and the ugly that come with playing music that’s unmistakably country but not exactly the breed currently played on the radio — Price and Tyson are much more about lap steel than pop beats, more salty tears and less shiny trucks. And though her band flirts with a distinctly garage sound, “Papa Willie” exposed Nelson early to the genre’s most vital founding fathers, embedding it not only in her blood but her brain.

But just because their music may touch more on Tammy Wynette than Tim McGraw, it doesn’t mean this trio is always content with being plagued by words like “throwback,” “vintage” or “whiskey-soaked,” either. Though their music can be called traditional, they certainly have no designs on simply recreating the past. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bid on a Willie Nelson Autographed Martin Guitar

November 19th, 2014




Bid now to take home this Martin SWDGT guitar signed by American Legend Willie Nelson and played on his bus at Farm Aid 2014 in Raleigh, NC.

This Martin SWDGT was created in accordance with Martin’s responsible guitar building practices. The Martin SWDGT from the Sustainable Wood Series features a solid Sitka spruce top, certified solid cherry wood back and sides, mahogany neck, and a certified katalox bridge and fingerboard. The neck has a low profile shape and an adjustable truss rod. Appointments include pearl dot inlays and a natural satin finish for enhanced tone.

Includes a deluxe Martin hardshell case and a photo of Willie playing the guitar on his bus at Farm Aid.

Donated By: Martin Guitars and Willie Nelson

Auction ends:  November 25, 2014

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Willie Nelson, “Slow Down Old World”

November 19th, 2014




Format: LP

Country: UK


Year: 1984

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Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson, talk about music and new album, “December Day”

November 19th, 2014


“December Day”, the new album by Willie Nelson & Bobbie Nelson, is set to be released next month, and the two of them talked about growing up together, with music.


Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie
December Day
(Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1)

1. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (Irving Berlin)
2. Permanently Lonely (Willie Nelson)
3. What’ll I Do (Irving Berlin)
4. Summer of Roses / December Day (Willie Nelson)
5. Nuages (Django Reinhardt)
6. Mona Lisa (Ray Evans & Jay Livingston)
7. I Don’t Know Where I Am Today (Willie Nelson)
8. Amnesia (Willie Nelson)
9. Who’ll Buy My Memories (Willie Nelson)
10. The Anniversary Song (Al Jolson & Saul Chaplin)
11. Laws of Nature (Willie Nelson)
12. Walkin’ (Willie Nelson)
13. Always (Irving Berlin)
14. I Let My Mind Wander (Willie Nelson)
15. Is the Better Part Over (Willie Nelson)
16. My Own Peculiar Way (Willie Nelson)

17. Sad Songs and Waltzes (Willie Nelson)

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Willie Nelson & Family @ Texas A&M (11/17/14)

November 18th, 2014

photo:  Dave McDermand

by:  Rob Clark

It was a fitting entrance for a no-frills legend on Monday night. Willie Nelson sauntered out onto the simple stage setup at Rudder Auditorium, offered a quick wave and started playing.

The concert, presented by MSC OPAS, was a workmanlike affair — light on banter, heavy on the hits, starting (as always) with Johnny Bush’s Whiskey River.

He was clad in all black, but switched early on from a cowboy hat to his trademark bandana. Then every few songs, he’d switch that bandana out and toss the used one into the front of the crowd, like a blue-collar version of Elvis Presley’s old parade of souvenir scarves.

Nelson’s guitar playing — one of his more underrated strengths — was strong and vibrant in Still Is Still Moving to Me and Funny How Time Slips Away. Each time the focus turned to his longtime instrument Trigger, it was fascinating to watch him work. His sister Bobbie — known of course as Sister Bobbie — was near perfection on piano, from the well-known tracks to plunking her way through straight-out-of-a-saloon solos.

As he has demonstrated so many times over the years, Nelson loves digging into other artists’ music. He offered his take on Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through the Night, Tom T. Hall’s Shoeshine Man and Hank Williams’ Hey Good Lookin’ and Jambalaya (On the Bayou).

Some of Nelson’s own tracks seemed to take on new life. Me and Paul, with its stories of intoxicated encounters, cracked up a good portion of the crowd. Nelson’s delivery made the song seem fresh, as if it centered around current Willie-on-the-bus adventures.

The pacing was curious as always. “Curious” is not meant as a dig — it’s just interesting to see how Nelson finds his way through a song. He would plow past the melody, or let it pass him by completely. Just one of those things that makes him Willie.

More than one longtime fan warned me beforehand that Nelson “talks more than he sings” now in concert. There’s truth to that, but Nelson is far from alone in that distinction. Anyone who has seen Mick Jagger perform in the past decade knows he basically barks — there’s no real singing there — but is still a wonder to see in person. Not all artists are as fortunate as James Taylor and Don Williams, who are blessed to sound remarkably similar as they did 40 years ago.

So yes, each line of Whiskey River trailed off at the end with a downward spoken note rather than the vocal flourish we know from hearing it on the radio for so many years. But Nelson’s voice frequently broke through that pattern, providing especially thrilling moments during Crazy, Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground, Always on My Mind and the show-closing gospel medley.

Another preshow warning: With as many hits as Nelson has, some will get overlooked. I made the mistake of declaring earlier in the day that Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain was my only must-hear track of the night. Naturally, that meant that we did not hear it Monday night. Though I was surprised at the song’s omission, it didn’t matter a lick.

This wasn’t about a roster of hits to mark off, or adding to anyone’s “best show ever” list. It didn’t matter how strong his voice was compared to his heyday, and it didn’t matter what direction and speed he chose to take during each song.

It was a chance to appreciate a true music legend. The crowd’s standing ovation at the show’s conclusion was less about the preceding 90 minutes and more about celebrating Nelson the man, and recognizing the role his music has played in many of our lives. It was well-deserved applause.

And then Nelson was gone, off to hit the road for a Tuesday night concert, part of a six-shows-in-seven-days stretch. Just another work week for an 81-year-old icon.

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