Willie Nelson Honored with Gershwin Prize in Washington DC (Nov. 18, 2015)

November 29th, 2015

11-18-2015 Library Of Congress Gershwin Honors Willie Nelson-106
photo: Janis Tillerson

PBS to Broadcast All-Star Concert on Jan. 15

November 29, 2015 – The Library of Congress is celebrating Willie Nelson’s 60-year career and his selection as the 2015 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in Washington, D.C., with a series of events, culminating in a star-studded concert tonight.

The two-day celebration began with a presentation and special display on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 in the Library’s historic Thomas Jefferson Building with a group of the nation’s lawmakers, who recognized Nelson for his contributions to popular music. “Everywhere you look in this magnificent building there are symbols of knowledge, creativity and invention so it is fitting at this time to honor one of the world’s most creative and inventive people, this year’s award recipient, Willie Nelson,” said Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao.

“It is truly a privilege to have Willie Nelson with us in our nation’s capital and to be able to recognize him for the immense contributions he’s made to the culture of America through music,” said U.S. House of Representatives Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress Gregg Harper.

“It is a great honor to be receiving the Gershwin award,” said Nelson to the group of well-wishers. “I have been a fan of Ira and George Gershwin’s music since I was a little guy and in appreciation for the award—and also I wanted to make some great music—I’ve just recorded a complete Gershwin album. It’s called Summertime.”

In honor of the legendary songwriting team, the Gershwin Prize recognizes a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding, entertaining and informing audiences, and inspiring new generations. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King and Billy Joel.

President Jimmy Carter said in a letter that Nelson’s music has “enriched the lives of people far and wide for decades” and that he is truly worthy of this “prestigious and well-deserved award.”

Steeped in the roots of country music, Nelson’s songs have a universal appeal and embrace the rich musical language of the American experience. A diverse group of the world’s pre-eminent performers is paying homage to Nelson’s musical genius— showcasing some his most memorable songs—tonight at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

The concert will feature performances by Edie Brickell, Leon Bridges, Rosanne Cash, Ana Gabriel, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Cyndi Lauper, Raul Malo of The Mavericks, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Paul Simon, Neil Young and Buckwheat Zydeco. Nelson will also perform some of his favorite tunes. The master of ceremonies for the evening festivities will be actor Don Johnson.

“I could not have wished for a more complete source of inspiration in life, and in music, than my father,” said the country music icon’s son Lukas Nelson, also a singer, songwriter and guitarist. “I count myself as one of the luckiest people alive to have been born to such a noble, loving, and gifted human being.”

During the evening’s event, Nelson will be presented with the prize by the Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao, U. S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin, U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, U.S. House of Representatives Chairman of the Committee on House Administration Candice S. Miller and U.S. House of Representatives Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress Gregg Harper.

The concert will air on PBS stations nationwide at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 (check local listings). The program also will be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world. “Willie Nelson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize” is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C., and Bounce, a division of AEG. The executive producers of the program are Dalton Delan, David Mao, Michael Strunsky and Mark Rothbaum.

Major funding for “Willie Nelson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Additional funding is provided by The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Fund and The Leonore S. Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board. Air transportation is generously provided by United Airlines. Additional funding for the Gershwin Prize events is provided by the Library of Congress James Madison Council.

Nelson is considered one of the top country singers of all time. His six-decade career has produced more than 200 albums and has earned him numerous awards and accolades as a musician, author, actor and activist. As a songwriter and performer, this iconic Texan became the voice of the heartland with such hits as “Crazy” and “Funny How Time Slips Away,” but he has continually pushed musical boundaries. He diversified his repertory and turned pop standards such as “Blue Skies” and “Mona Lisa” into country hits and such pop tunes as “Always on My Mind” and “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” into crossover favorites.

In June, Nelson released a new collaboration with Merle Haggard, “Django and Jimmie,” that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Album chart and in the Top 10 (No. 7) on the Billboard 200 Bestselling Albums chart. In the last five years alone he has delivered nine other new releases, one of which received a Grammy nomination; released a New York Times best-seller; appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine; headlined Farm Aid—an event he co-founded in 1985—and received his 5th-degree black belt in Gongkwon Yusul.

In 2013, Nelson released “Let’s Face The Music and Dance,” an album of pop-country repertoire classics performed with patented ease by Nelson and Family—his long-time touring and recording ensemble—and “To All The Girls …,” which features 18 duets with music’s top female singers. In 2014, he released “Band of Brothers,” a 14-track studio album of new recordings that debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Album chart and at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart.

About Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson was born to Ira and Myrle Nelson in 1933 in Abbott, Texas. As early as age 7, Nelson started writing songs and playing the guitar, performing at church revivals and in local dance halls. After high school, Nelson joined the Air Force. He spent two years at Baylor University, but dropped out to pursue a career in music.In 1960, he moved to Nashville and Faron Young recorded Nelson’s song “Hello Walls,” which became a No. 1 hit on the country charts in 1961. Singer Patsy Cline recorded his song, “Crazy,” shortly afterward. It became a huge hit and a country-music standard. In the early ‘70s, Nelson became a key figure in “outlaw country” and charted his own career path. His reputation and success grew. He scored more than 60 Top-40 country hits over five decades. He has appeared in more than 30 films and TV shows and co-authored several books, including the recently released autobiography, “It’s a Long Story: My Life.”

Nelson has won seven Grammy Awards and received the Grammy Living Legend Award in 1990. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001. His album “Red Headed Stranger” was inducted into the Library’s National Recording Registry in 2009.

About the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors living musical artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.In making the selection for the prize, the Librarian of Congress consulted leading members of the music and entertainment communities, as well as curators from the Library’s Music Division, its American Folklife Center and its Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

The Gershwin name is used in connection with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song courtesy of the families of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. GERSHWIN® is a registered trademark of Gershwin Enterprises.
Source: Library of Congress

Lily Meola debut album out now! (with Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Kris Kristofferson)

November 29th, 2015


The long anticipated debut album by the talented Lily Meola  is available, and she is offering a Pre-sale ($12.00 instead of $15.00) from now until the album goes on sale on December 18th.  

She invited some music heavyweights who are her fans to sing with her on the album.  Order yours today and she will autograph the cd.


Track List:
1. Bad Weather
2. Sinking Soon
3. They Say
4. Dream A Little Dream Of Me
5. Don’t Change
6. Bobby McGee (duet with Kris Kristofferson)
7. Easy Love
8. L.A. (featuring Willie Nelson on guitar)
9. Bad Boy
10. Movie In My Mind (duet with Lukas Nelson and featuring Willie Nelson on guitar)
11. Sound of Your Memory (duet with Lukas Nelson)
12. Will You Remember Mine (duet with Willie Nelson)

Produced by Eric Helmkamp


photo:  Janis Tillerson



November 29th, 2015

photo thanks to Anne Willis

Willie Nelson Guitar Pick of the Day (thank you Guthrie Thomas)

November 29th, 2015


Thanks so much to Guthrie Thomas for sharing photos of Willie Nelson guitar picks.


And check out his music:


Guthrie tells tells the story:

And the story goes something like this:

Interstate “420” was to be 2 new U.S. Interstates that were never constructed, one in Georgia, the second in Louisiana. It had nothing to do with Cannabis Sativa, or Pot. The onset of this term, Interstate 420, as being associated with pot was originated at a San Rafael, California High School in 1971 by a group of students who all smoked pot and met to do so at 4:20pm on the foundation steps of a statue of Louis Pasteur, the chemist and microbiologist who was the first to introduce his discoveries of vaccination, microbial fermentation and, pasteurization. The amazing band, The Grateful Dead, soon was using the term, Interstate 420, as a reference to smoking pot and getting high. The term then circumvented the entire world and is now understood by millions to mean, basically, having a fine time smoking weed…

Now to Willie’s Guitar Pick as seen here. This pick does not say, Interstate 420, it says, “WillieState 420″…for obvious reasons…This guitar pick will be one of the rarest of all of Willie’s custom guitar picks as we only made 50 of them and Dr. Budrock is the only one, other than a few I have, and I am absolutely certain Willie will receive however many he might like from Dr. Budrock. If you should by chance get one of these picks, I would certainly hold onto it, as we also made the exact pick that says Interstate 420…Excellent Idea Dr. Budrock..!

November 29th, 2015

Willie Nelson at the Fox Theatre, Tucson

photo: Mary Francis Andrews

Keith Richards talks about Willie Nelson

November 29th, 2015


Graeme Thomson
from 2005 interview with Keith Richards

KR: Hello Graeme

GT: Hello Keith. How are you?

KR: What are you doing up this time of night, old boy?

 GT: I’m writing my book on Willie Nelson.

KR: Yeah, that does take a lot of midnight oil!

GT: Hell, yeah, it takes a long time. What are you up to?

KR: I just got into Portland out of Seattle.. on the road, you know.

GT: How’s it all going?

KR: Yeah, going very well, man. I mean, brilliantly. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

GT: In context of Willie, I’ve been thinking a lot about what …

KR: Yeah, you must be well embroiled in it by now!

GT:……I’m up to my neck in it, but it’s brilliant. I’ve been thinking a lot about what keeps people on the road. In your case what is it that keeps you out there?

KR: I dunno. You could ask Willie that one!

GT: I know. I have.

KR: One could say that it becomes like an addiction or… there’s loads of people out there who want to see what you do and you feel like doing it. It’s a simple as that. It’s probably somewhere between the two: white line fever.

GT: With him it seems to have just become his life almost…

KR: [Sings] On the Road Again…

GT: It’s his manifesto, isn’t it?

KR: He’s an amazing guy, Willie. I’ve never hung with Willie except when we’ve been working together, but Willie always makes a little space to hang. He’s an amazing guy. He’s your All American. He’s what I would call an American patriot, but not in the flag waving sense or that shallow sort of…. he loves the soil, man, he loves the… land itself, and he’s the right guy to put the case. I mean, he’s a real old regular American. There’s very few of them, really, at least that stand up and say so. Willie is just that way. He couldn’t be any different any other way I don’t think. Times that I’ve known him, I always have a great time with him. We’re guitar pickers and song writers and shit so we can just kinda kick shit around, you know. But as a man he’s a bit of a mystery, actually.

GT: I get the sense he’s pretty unknowable really.

KR: So you’ve got that feeling too, right?

GT: Totally, yeah.

KR: I don’t think he really knows all of himself, he’s just dedicated to his idea and after all, on top of that a brilliant musician and a songwriter par excellence – that’s your actual French, you know?

GT: Ha! When did you first become aware of him? His harmonica player Mickey Raphael told me that the Stones offered him a support slot in the 70s and he turned it down. Do you remember that?

KR: Well, I do believe so, it is very hard to recall that kind of thing. Maybe it was because he had a previous engagement, a lot of the times you want to work with people on the road and you find that they’re doing Australia while you’re trying to get a gig together in LA. It’s all that ships in the night passing away. But, em, Willie sort of cracked into my perception, I started to hear these songs first…. ‘Funny How Time Slips Away’, and ‘Crazy’, and I started to see this name Nelson. When they were 45s it was easier to check out who wrote what. I knew nothing about his character, I just heard these very interesting songs coming out of this guy called Nelson.

Finally, when he burst through the bubble and actually became Willie Nelson in fact rather than just being a Nashville songwriter and whatever it was he was doing – I know what he was doing, actually, but I’m not going to tell! – but Willie sort of creeps up on you. Every time you heard a really interesting song, half the time you’d find Willie Nelson’s name attached to it. And then when he became a performer, because he’s such a recluse in a way. He’s the most unlikely star.

I’ve worked with him…. I think the first time I worked with him he asked me to come up to that casino somewhere in Connecticut, where the Indians are running the joint. About time they got their money back – Willie agreed with me I think. I was amazed at that country thing – there’s Willie, he finishes the show and then he spends like an hour or more and he just signs about every autograph in the audience, you know that country tradition of ‘you’re one of the folks.’ When you’re up there on the stage you’re that, but then afterwards you’ve got to mix, and I was amazed that that was still going on. And Willie, that great patience that he has, that sort of stoic…. meanwhile he’s going, ‘Where’s the joint,’ you know? I always judged Willie shows when I’ve worked with him by how many guys he’s got rolling behind him in the bus: ‘This is a three Frisbee show, pal!’

GT:  He smokes an unbelievable amount of dope, doesn’t he?

KR: Oh, absolutely – and always good stuff. Believe me, I’m a connoisseur. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I work with him a lot! No, I’m attracted to the man just as a character and a player. His knowledge of the music… those beautiful mixtures he has between blues and country and mariachi, that Tex-Mex bit, that tradition of a beautiful cross section of music.

GT: How do you rate him as a guitar player?

KR: Oh, he’s incredible man. Absolutely. He’s unique, can you get any better? I mean nobody else could play like that. I mean, look at the state of the guitar for Chrissakes! He’s punched holes through it, scraped it away, and it still sounds better than ever. It’s that weird mixture of stuff, and he doesn’t mind going off on a flight somewhere in the middle of a song. Just taking it and seeing where he ends up. He’s got a beautiful bravado. I admire that.

GT: Has he ever let you play that guitar?

KR: Oh, I’ve had a bash at it. I say, ‘I can’t play it, it’s got a hole in it Willie!’ Where’s there’s a Willie there’s a way.

GT: I’m surprised you’ve never done… because he’s done so many albums and duets and stuff, have you never discussed doing anything on record together as a piece?

KR: We kind of talk about it and look at each other and say, ‘Yeah, when and where?’ and then it becomes: Oh, later. It’s sort of in the air, I’d love to, but his schedule is…most of the difficult things about working with guys you really admire and would like to get together with is since everybody’s busy, they’re always on the other side of the planet when you’re doing things. It’s finding the time and stuff, and Willie’s a busy man. He has to save all those small farms.

GT: Last time I spoke to him he said he was making six albums – at the same time!

KR: Yeah, he’s been incredibly productive in the last few years, he’s really working hard, man. But then I don’t think he couldn’t. If he wasn’t working I can imagine him fading away.

GT: Do you know his band very well, have you met those guys?

KR: Yeah, the guys around him and everything, I always have a great time when I see Willie. I’m always waiting for the ‘I’m doing a TV show, do you want to come by?’ I say, ‘How many Frisbees involved, man?’ The last time, I met Merle Haggard via Willie. I’d never met Merle before, which was interesting. It ends up with Merle working with us in a few weeks time in Texas. I’m sitting rehearsing with Willie on the West coast somewhere, I think it was Parsons thing or whatever, and sitting there on the drum riser, and there’s this guy with a baseball cap on – the right way around – and a grey beard and he’s picking like a maniac, and he’s sitting next to me and suddenly I said, ‘Your name’s not Merle?’ Yup! Jesus Christ, what a way to meet.

Willie brings people together, that’s the other thing that I think is important to stress. Willie is a great magnet. All kinds of different music. He can pull people together that probably very rarely that somebody else could. They’d be staying in their own lanes, so to speak. But Willie can pull together like Norah Jones…. a diverse amount of people from every spectrum of music you can think of, Jesus Christ there’s enough spectrums to think!

I always admire him because…. when I work with him he’s doing these TV shows. And he’s on stage with absolutely everybody. All day. He’s got to rehearse with them and then he’s got to do the show. Me, I come there and I just do my bit with him, ‘You wanna join in on this?’ I can pick and choose. But I watch the man work, Graeme, and it’s amazing the heart and diplomacy of the man. He should be President, I think! We’d be a lot better off, or at least the Americans would. Possibly we would. But his dedication to what he does, amazing energy. A lot of guys say: how do we [the Stones] do it? How does Willie do it? I mean I’m watching him up there with 24 acts and he’s singing with every one of them. And he’s got it all together, very very smooth, beautiful, no sweat. He has that amazing effect on people, a sort of calmness, but there’s a certain ….under there there’s a hint of real danger if it blows up.

GT: Those eyes…those black eyes he’s got.

KR: Yeah, yeah, he’s one of your great Westerners. A real love for the soil of the land and a feel for it, more than waving stars and stripes and all that crap. A real concern for where it all comes from and what you live on, and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s really honest. Which is hard to find in this day and age and this world we live in.

GT: Pretty much unique, I’d say.

KR: How does he strike you, once you’ve taken this gig on? Same way?

GT: Pretty much the same way, yeah. I think….

KR: Oh, he’s a great singer man, Such a wry delivery. I mean, everybody has got a great voice, it’s just a matter of what to do with it. I mean, I get a lot of that flak too, you know. The Grizzle, and all that crap. Willie and I have been pretty well grizzled and we kind of find ourselves in a weird way – which is really amazing coming from where we come from, totally different places – I feel at home with Willie.

GT: Did you listen to that reggae album he made?

KR: Yes I did, yes, cos I live in Jamaica I know most of the cats that are on the session. I thought it was a very bold move, and then I found out that Johnny Cash has been living in Jamaica for years, and round the corner from me. But when you go to live in Jamaica you don’t advertise, I found out without me knowing it that Johnny Cash had been my neighbour, virtually, at 20 minutes away, for like 20 years, but probably never there at the same time because when you go to Jamaica you don’t want to be seen by white people! It’s one of those things.

GT: How much time do you spend there?

KR: As much as I can. I haven’t been there for about a year now, mainly because we’ve been making records and doing this. But as soon as these hurricanes stop I’m going to the bolt hole.

GT: Well listen, that’s fantastic.

KR: Ok, Graeme. All right.

GT: Can I use this as a little introduction to the book? Is that cool?

KR: You can use it in any way you like. Yes. And give my regards to Willie, all right?

GT: I shall, and thanks for your time Keith. Take care.

KR: Pleasure, Graeme. Later man

Willie Nelson, “Ain’t Necessarily So”

November 29th, 2015

This song is on Willie Nelson’s ‘Revolution of Time’ cd collection. It is a great set of music, if anyone asks you for a recommendation of WN music. I love this music.

Nelson: Revolutions of Time


Willie Nelson – Revolutions of Time – The Journey 1975-1993 [1995, Box Set]

More so than most country artistsWillie Nelson is difficult to thoroughly investigate without delving into his individual releases, which often revolve around either musical or lyrical concepts. So give Columbia credit for assembling such a cohesive, provocative collection, one that covers every aspect of his glorious career and that amply showcases his distinctive singing, songwriting, and gut-string work.

Disc 1 (entitled Pilgrimage), worth the price of admission alone, focuses on his remarkable 1970s and early-1980s work: the Red Headed Stranger cuts, the Lefty Frizzell tributes, the Starduststandards, searing live cuts, the Electric Horseman cowboy odes andHoneysuckle Rose gems, and the best of Always on My Mind.

Disc 2 (Sojourns) pairs Nelson with an impressive array of partners: Haggard, Price, Miller, Pierce, Charles, Young (both Neil and Faron), Santana, Possum, Dylan, Cash, Snow, Jennings, Julio, Dolly, Kristofferson.

Disc 3 (Exodus) collects the mid-1980s and early-1990s stuff, and while it contains moments of brilliance, it doesn’t match up to the first two discs. All in all, a marvelous 60-song collection filled with an astonishing number of spine-chilling moments.

Disc1 – Pilgrimage

1. Time Of The Preacher
2. Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
3. If You’ve Got The Money I’ve Got The Time
4. Uncloudy Day
5. Always Late (With Your Kisses)
6. Georgia On My Mind
7. Blue Skies
8. Whiskey River
9. Stay A Little Longer
10. Mr. Record Man
11. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)
12. Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
13. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
14. It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way
15. On The Road Again
16. Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
17. Mona Lisa
18. Always On My Mind
19. Last Thing I Needed The First Thing This Morning
20. The Party’s Over

Disc2 – Sojourns

1. Summertime with Leon Russell
2. Faded Love with Ray Price
3. Night Life with Ray Price
4. Pancho And Lefty with Merle Haggard
5. Old Friends with Roger Miller & Ray Price
6. In The Jailhouse Now with Webb Pierce
7. Everything’s Beautiful (In It’s Own Way) with Dolly Parton
8. Take It To The Limit with Waylon Jennings
9. To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before with Julio Iglesias
10. How Do You Feel About Foolin’ Around with Kris Kristofferson
11. Seven Spanish Angels with Ray Charles
12. Hello Walls with Faron Young
13. I’m Movin’ On
14. Highwayman with Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson & Johnny Cash
15. Slow Movin’ Outlaw with Lacy J. Dalton
16. Are There Any More Real Cowboys with Neil Young
17. They All Went To Mexico with Carlos Santana
18. Half A Man with George Jones
19. Texas On A Saturday Night with Mel Tillis
20. Heartland with Bob Dylan

Disc3 – Exodus

1. Nobody Slides, My Friend
2. Little Old Fashioned Karma
3. Harbor Lights
4. Without A Song
5. Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues
6. City Of New Orleans
7. Who’ll Buy My Memories?
8. Write Your Own Songs
9. Forgiving You Was Easy
10. Me And Paul
11. When I Dream
12. My Own Peculiar Way
13. Living In The Promiseland
14. There Is No Easy Way (But There Is A Way)
15. Ole Buttermilk Sky
16. A Horse Called Music
17. Nothing I Can Do About It Now
18. Is The Better Part Over
19. Ain’t Necessarily So
20. Still Is Still Moving To Me

November 29th, 2015


Willie Nelson, “Angels Sing”

November 29th, 2015



Angels Sing starring Harry Connick, Jr., Willie Nelson and Connie Britton available in stores December 2. (CNW Group/Entertainment One)

Angels Sing starring Harry Connick, Jr., Willie Nelson and Connie Britton available on DVD now.   Also, the HallMark channel includes this movie in their holiday lineup.  Check your listings, if you get cable.

November 28th, 2015


Perfect gifts from the Raelyn Nelson Band: Music, Guitar String Bracelets, Tee Shirts, posters and more

November 28th, 2015



The Raelyn Nelson Band has a website full of great gift ideas for everyone.  Like these cool shirts.  You won’t, of course, look this cute in them, but who could.  But you will look good in it.

It is the season.  Visit their website for information on their music, posters, tee shirts, guitar string bracelets and more.

The Guitar String Bracelets are very popular


Also, if you are looking for a great, unique, hand-made gift for someone special (including yourself), check out Raelynn’s beautiful, cool Guitar String Bracelets.  They are conversation pieces.  When I wear mine everyone loves them.


Visit the band’s website for their tour schedule, too.

Posters and albums make great gifts for any music lover.



Check out their new video here:


Willie Nelson and Rosanne Cash like Bernie and Hillary

November 28th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Rosanne Cash are like most of us liberal progressive types: We think either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton are a better choice for President than any of the Republican contenders.

“I’m still watching the show.” — Willie Nelson

“I’d love to see a woman president before I die. I like Bernie, too. It’s hard.” — Rosanne Cash

November 28th, 2015


Photo:  David Clement

Willie Nelson “Sold Out” (Winstar World Casino) (Nov. 27, 2015)

November 28th, 2015

sold out


Thanks to Budrock for taking and sending this photo of the poster from Winstar last night.

This day in Willie Nelson history: Grandy Ole’ Opry Debut (Nov. 28, 1954)

November 28th, 2015

On November 28, 1964, Willie Nelson made his Grand Ole Opry debut, as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly Saturday night country music radio program broadcast live on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the oldest continuous radio program in the United States, having been broadcast on WSM since November 28, 1925. It is also televised and promotes live performances both in Nashville and on the road.


The Grand Ole Opry started out as the WSM Barn Dance in the new fifth floor radio station studio of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company. The featured performer on the first show was Uncle Jimmy Thompson, a fiddler who was then 77 years old. The announcer was program director George D. Hay, known on the air as “The Solemn Old Judge.” He was only 30 at the time and was not a judge, but was an enterprising pioneer who launched the Barn Dance as a spin-off of his National Barn Dance program at WLS Radio in Chicago, Illinois. Some of the bands regularly featured on the show during its early days included the Possum Hunters, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, the Crook Brothers and the Gully Jumpers. They arrived in this order. However, Judge Hay liked the Fruit Jar Drinkers and asked them to appear last on each show because he wanted to always close each segment with “red hot fiddle playing.” They were the second band accepted on the “Barn Dance.” And, when the Opry began having square dancers on the show, the Fruit Jar Drinkers always played for them.

In 1926, Uncle Dave Macon, a Tennessee banjo player who had recorded several songs and toured the vaudeville circuit, became its first real star. The name Grand Ole Opry came about in December, 1927. The Barn Dance followed NBC Radio Network’s Music Appreciation Hour, which consisted of classical music and selections from grand opera. Their final piece that night featured a musical interpretation of an onrushing railroad locomotive. In response to this Judge Hay quipped, “Friends, the program which just came to a close was devoted to the classics. Doctor Damrosch told us that there is no place in the classics for realism. However, from here on out for the next three hours, we will present nothing but realism. It will be down to earth for the ‘earthy’.” He then introduced the man he dubbed the Harmonica Wizard — DeFord Bailey who played his classic train song “The Pan American Blues”. After Bailey’s performance Hay commented, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry.’” The name stuck and has been used for the program since then.

As audiences to the live show increased, National Life & Accident Insurance’s radio venue became too small to accommodate the hordes of fans. They built a larger studio, but it was still not large enough. The Opry then moved into then-suburban Hillsboro Theatre (now the Belcourt), then to the Dixie Tabernacle in East Nashville and then to the War Memorial Auditorium, a downtown venue adjacent to the State Capitol. A twenty-five cent admission began to be charged, in part an effort to curb the large crowds, but to no avail. In 1943, the Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium.

On October 2, 1954, a teenage Elvis Presley made his first (and only) performance there. Although the public reacted politely to his revolutionary brand of rockabilly music, after the show he was told by one of the organizers that he ought to return to Memphis to resume his truck-driving career, prompting him to swear never to return. Ironically, years later Garth Brooks commented in a television interview that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry was that he got to play on the same stage Elvis had.

The Ryman was home to the Opry until 1974, when the show moved to the 4,400-seat Grand Ole Opry House, located several miles to the east of downtown Nashville on a former farm in the Pennington Bend of the Cumberland River. An adjacent theme park, called Opryland USA, preceded the new Opry House by two years. Due to sagging attendance, the park was shuttered and demolished after the 1997 season by the Opry’s current owner, Gaylord Entertainment Company. The theme park was replaced by the Opry Mills Mall. An adjacent hotel, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, is the largest non-gambling hotel in North America and is the site of dozens of conventions annually.

Still, the Opry continues, with hundreds of thousands of fans traveling from around the world to Nashville to see the music and comedy on the Opry in person.