Willie Nelson #FarmAid2017

September 22nd, 2017



Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds #FarmAid2017

September 22nd, 2017

Jamey Johnson #FarmAid2017

September 22nd, 2017

Thanks, Janis Tillerson, for more great photos from Farm Aid 2017, including these from Jamey Johnson’s set.

Willie Nelson talks about recording with his sons on, “Willie and the Boys”

September 22nd, 2017

Farm Aid ’17 Rocks Pittsburgh

September 22nd, 2017

by:  Greg Dugan
See more great photos here.  

There were several activities and booths for fans to get more information about family farming and to purchase homegrown food.  Actually, the majority of the concession stands had homegrown food choices and homemade condiments.

Another cool thing was the “Zero Waste Stations” that were around the concession stands.  Volunteers helped fans recycle their bottles and compost their unused food and containers.  There really isn’t a reason why this shouldn’t be done for every concert at every venue.  Imagine how much waste could be saved with a little effort?

The event started with a press conference which had Farm Aid’s Board of Directors which includes Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews along with other artists and local farmers speak about their mission.

The concert started a little after 12:30 and featured some up and coming acts such as The Blackwood Quartet, Insects vs. Robots, Valerie June and Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real.  All of these acts got to perform three or four songs of original material.  Lukas Nelson was the real standout from this group and he is a great guitarist.  He was definitely more of a rocker and I look forward to seeing him in the future.

Blackberry Smoke made their first appearance at Farm Aid and made a great impression.  These southern rockers played a nice five song set that featured the rocking “Six Ways To Sunday” the laid back “One Horse Town” and closed with the great “Ain’t Much Left of Me.”   If you enjoy southern rock, you have to check these guys out.  They are one of the best bands out there.

Jamey Johnson was the next artist to take the stage.  Johnson decided to pay tribute to several acts by playing six cover songs.  Opening up with a great version of The Band’s “Cripple Creek”  Johnson and his great backing band played two Don Williams songs “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” and “Til The Rivers All Run Dry.”  Johnson had one of the early highlights by playing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” which included the verse that Guthrie originally omitted.  He closed his set with Jerry Reed’s “East Down and Bound.”

Next on deck was Margo Price.  Price played a good five song set of traditional country music.  Songs like “Weakness,” “Paper Cowboy” and “Hurtin (On The Bottle)”  all hit the mark.  I expect big things from her in the coming years.

Denver based band Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats really got things rockin’ with their two man horn section and upbeat songs.   Audience members were up and dancing to tunes like “I Need Never Get Old” and “Out On The Weekend.”  Familiar drinking song and gold award winning record “S.O.B.”  seemed to resonate with this crowd as everyone clapped along.  What a fun band to watch.

Another fun band that continued to rock out were The Avett Brothers.  This band is part Americana, part bluegrass, part folk and part indie rock.  One thing for sure is that is band is all fun.  The band features a banjo, fiddle, cello, bass, guitar and drums and all members seem to be in constant motion.  At one point, Seth Avett jumped into the photographers pit to get closer to the people in the front row.  This entertaining band played a seven song set that included “Laundry Room,” “Ain’t No Man” and “Slight Figure of Speech.”

Jack Johnson opened his set with a song he wrote last year.  Willie Nelson told him all great songs have three chords and the truth.  Well, Johnson said that this song had three chords and was absolutely true.  He then went into “Willie Got Me Stoned And Took All My Money” which is pretty self-explanatory.  Johnson then brought out his band and they launched into “Good People.”  Johnson also brought out Sheryl Crow to help him sing Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”  He then played his own song “Bubble Toes.”  Then the Avett Brothers came out and jam on the final two songs including the set closing “Better Together.”

As the evening wore on, the acts got bigger.  Next up was multi-platinum selling and nine time Grammy winning artist Sheryl Crow.  Crow opened up by playing an acoustic guitar on “Everyday Is A Winding Road” and then switching to keyboards on “My Favorite Mistake.”  Crow still has a fantastic voice and is easy on the eyes.  She brought out Margo Price and turned “Strong Enough” into a nice duet.  After “If It Makes You Happy” Crow said “I have so many friend here, it would be silly if I didn’t bring some out.  I’m gonna bring out Lukas Nelson, and let’s bring out Lukas’ dad.”  When Willie Nelson took the stage and brought out his guitar “Trigger,”  the place erupted!  Also joining Crow were Jack Johnson and Margo Price.  They decided to pay tribute to Gregg Allman by playing “Midnight Rider.”  It was the defining moment of the show.  It raised the hair on my arms when Willie sang the line “they’re not gonna catch me no, not gonna catch the midnight rider.”  It was one of the best concert moments that I have ever witnessed.

Farm Aid board member Dave Matthews along with guitarist Tim Reynolds took the stage to play an inspired acoustic set.  Opening with some fancy guitar work, the duo went into “Don’t Drink The Water” and segued into “Satellite.”  Dave and Tim really play well together and the guys got things rocking with a great version of “What Would You Say.”  They finished up their seven song set with “Warehouse” and “Crush.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Farm Aid co-founder John Mellencamp was next to perform.  Fresh off his successful Sad Clowns and Hillbillies Tour, Mellencamp and his band sounded fantastic.  Opening the show with “Lawless Times” the band hit this home grown crowd with the anthem “Small Town” for their second song.  Mellencamp stated that they would be playing “some songs you know and some songs you don’t know.”  His cover of Robert Johnson’s “Stones In My Passway” and his most recent single “Easy Target” might have been a songs the audience didn’t know.  However, every other song he played in his nine song set got people up on their feet and dancing.  A great acoustic version of “Jack and Diane” became a massive sing-along, even though the audience messed up the second verse.  The appropo “Rain On The Scarecrow” made it’s way into the set and Mellencamp closed the party with “Crumblin’ Down” and “Pink Houses.”  Ain’t that America indeed.

Making his first live appearance of 2017, Neil Young + Promise of the Real was the most anticipated act of the day.  With Neil Young, you never know what you’re gonna get.  Will he play his grungy stuff or will he play his acoustic stuff?   Just to be sure, the stage was littered with various guitars and even a pump organ was brought out just in case Young wanted to wander over and give it a whirl.

These questions were quickly answered when the opening chords of “Fuckin’ Up” were played on Young’s classic black Les Paul.  The first three songs in the set were from Young’s electric band, Crazy Horse and the crowd responded enthusiastically.  A phenomenal version of “Cortez The Killer” and “Cinnamon Girl” got the crowd on their feet.

Young switched things up as an acoustic guitar and harmonica were brought out for him to play “Human Highway” the classic “Heart of Gold” and “Comes A Time.”

Things went electric again as the band powered through “Like A Hurricane” and the set closing “Rockin’ In The Free World.”

It was a great performance by a legendary artist.

Finally, the headliner and president of Farm Aid Willie Nelson and his friends took the stage to close this incredible day of music.  His eleven song set featured his classics “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” and of course “On The Road Again.”  A few cover tunes were thrown in for good measure as well:  Toby Keith’s “Beer For My Horses,” Waylon Jennings “Good Hearted Woman,” and Hank Williams “I Saw The Light” all made the setlist.

It was an incredible day of food, farming and music.

Here’s to Farm Aid 2018!

Willie Nelson Family and Friends support Hurricane Harvey Relief in Texas tonight in Austin

September 22nd, 2017

“Tonight, my Dad and a bunch of other fantastic musicians will perform at “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas”, a concert & live telethon to benefit the victims Of Hurrican Harvey. Texans will be able to view the televised telethon portion of the concert on Friday, September 22 from 7 pm to 8 pm CST on TEGNA affiliate stations. Besides Austin’s KVUE, other TEGNA stations set to air the concert are WFAA in Dallas, KHOU in Houston, KENS in San Antonio, KBMT in Beaumont, KCEN in Waco-Temple-Bryan, KAGS in College Station, KIII in Corpus Christi, KIDY in San Angelo, KXVA in Abilene and KYTX in Tyler. The telecast will air without commercials.

In addition, an hour of the event will stream internationally on https://www.youtube.com/KHOU11 from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time. Google will match $500,000 in telethon donations, with volunteers from Google’s Austin office and employees of TEGNA working the telethon phone banks. Donations also will be accepted at the RebuildTX.org website.

All funds will be directed to the RebuildTX.org fund. Proceeds will benefit the Rebuild Texas Fund, created by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in collaboration with the OneStar Foundation. According to the Rebuild Texas website, the fund “will support community partners in four focus areas — health and housing; schools and child care; workforce and transportation; and capital for rebuilding small businesses.” The concert is part of the Dell Foundation’s effort to raise $100 million toward hurricane recovery efforts.

Please watch and donate what you can! #TexasStrong

Willie Nelson, Micah Nelson, Lukas Nelson, “Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight”

September 22nd, 2017

Available to pre-order.

This day in Willie Nelson History: Farm Aid 2013

September 21st, 2017

Willie Nelson at Farm Aid at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on September 21, 2013 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Pete Seeger made an appearance, his last public performance, and led the Farm Aid Board Members and the Farm Aid crowd with, “This Land is Your Land”.

John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Pege Seeger, Dave Matthews, Neil Young at Farm Aid at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on September 21, 2013 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Farm Aid 2013


Willie Nelson at Farm Aid at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on September 21, 2013 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow #FarmAid2017

September 21st, 2017


Rest in Peace Harry Dean Stanton

September 21st, 2017


Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival (September 15, 2017)

September 21st, 2017

photo:  Scott Sandberg

by:  Laura Morrison

This was Willie Nelson’s party.

Sure, the country music legend brought along a slew of favored guests for his Outlaw Music Festival, including the Avett Brothers, Sheryl Crow, Blackberry Smoke, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and Particle Kid (son Micah Nelson’s band). So many acts, in fact, the Blossom Music Center show had to start around 4:30 p.m. — a tough time for folks rolling off work on a Friday.

Yet, like any good festival, people arriving at various times added to the buzz and movement of the event. There was certainly excitement to see Sheryl Crow “Soak Up the Sun” and the Avett Brothers belt out “I and Love and You,” but rest assured, everyone was there to see the 84-year-old Willie Nelson, who naturally, closed out the show.

(See a whole slew of photos from the night’s event right here.)

And the man, for the record, has still got it. Everyone from teens with braids and bandannas to a whole row of Hells Angels stood up when Willie took to the stage. They all cheered to the heavens.

As soon as Willie kicked into the song “Whiskey River,” a gigantic Texas flag unfurled behind him, just in case for one minute you forgot the man hailed from the Lone Star State (later in the set, the band also took on”Texas Flood” in honor of Hurricane Harvey victims).

Nelson sounded as clear as he always did, which is to say his sing-talking approach is on point as ever. And his guitar skills are still something. Over his decades-long career, he’s always had a way with guitar timing, kind of a jazz timing, that can sometimes feel off. And he played like that Friday night. The band would be locked into a country backbeat and he’d be fingering above it and beyond it. In his own world.

Throughout the night, the fantastic crew took on the hits, like “On the Road Again,” and the raucous “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and a cover of “Georgia On My Mind,” but also a fun tribute to Merle Haggard with “It’s All Going to Pot.”

Nelson’s surrounded himself with family and friends. Fine players every one of them. This is a crew that can weave between earthy blues, rock ‘n’ roll, outlaw country and even spirituals without batting an eyelash. They know one another to their bones.

Son Lukas (who played with his own band earlier in the night) took on the secondary guitar playing and often heavy-hitting lead vocals. Sister Bobbie Nelson, 86, was on the keys with a signature nimble approach. Other son Micah played drums and later vocal harmonies. Mickey Raphael played the harmonica with so much dirt and grit, I was ready to hire him to play my next birthday party.

The Outlaw Music Festival has brought together the likes of Bob Dylan and My Morning Jacket in the past, but to hear the Avett Brothers come out for the close of the show to sing “Will the Circle be Unbroken” and “I’ll Fly Away” was possibly too much. The entire venue smoldered like some sort of spiritual revival. People danced in the aisles. People smiled. It felt like this music was meant to make life better, if only for a little while.

At the end of the night, there wasn’t much talking from the stage, just a sincere “thank you.” And then Willie left. No encore. Only the sound of roadies beginning to tear down the stage. Someone helped Bobbie off her piano bench and she slowly walked out of sight.

Mickey Raphael, Margo Price, Kevin Black #FarmAid2017

September 21st, 2017

Mickey Raphael set in with Margo Price and her band at the Farm Aid concert in Pennsylvania.

Thank you, Janis Tillerson, for your great photos from Farm Aid 2017, in Burgettstown, PA.


Jack Johnson with Lukas Nelson, “Wasting Time” #FarmAid2017

September 21st, 2017

Willie Nelson, “Still is Still Moving to Me”

September 21st, 2017

When people ask me which of the songs I’ve written are my favorites, “Still is Still Moving” always comes up near the top of the list.  The band and I play it at almost every concert, and I’ve recorded it countless times, as well, so you have got to figure the song means something important to me.

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the song is me.

Whether you look at the song from the point of view of ancient philosophies or from the modern knowledge of quantum physics, there is great motion in all stillness, and true stillness at the heart of all action.

The early Chinese philosophers referred to hits in the concept of something called wu wei, which suggests fulfilling every task with the least necessary action.  Two notes are not required when one will suffice.  Twenty words may not say something better than ten, or one.  For me, that word is stillness.

No matter how still I am, the world around me is abuzz with activity, and the world within me as well.  Modern physics tells us that the atoms in our body ” and all the particles and forces that make up those atoms ” are never at rest.  While our bodies and the world around us seem solid, that physical appearance is merely an illusion, for each of our atoms is comprised primarily of empty space.

If your life in this modern world seems to pass you by at the speed of light, perhaps you could consult Einstein, who proved that the faster we travel, the more time is compressed.  That’s right, the faster we go, the less time we have.  So what is your hurry?

This may not mean much to you, but it must be quite traumatic for the atoms.  Would you like to hear an atom joke?  I didn’t think so, but here is one anyway:

A neutron went into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?”

The bartender says, “For you, no charge.”

The Tao of Willie Nelson
by Willie Nelson, with Turk Pipkin



“Thank you, Ben Dorcy”

September 21st, 2017

photo:  Cheri Schultz

by:  Hannah Barnes

Ben Dorcy III, a respected roadie for many stars, died Saturday, Sept. 16 at age 92, Chron reports.

Dorcy, who was dubbed the “world’s oldest roadie,” by Willie Nelson, worked for stars including Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, The Highwaymen, George Jones, Hank Williams Jr. and Frank Sinatra.

Nicknamed “Lovey,” Dorcy is said to have invented the concept of a roadie’s job in the 1950s. He got his start on tour with Hank Thompson, later becoming John Wayne’s personal assistant and valet. Dorcy met Nelson while Dorcy was working with Ray Price, and the pair quickly struck up a working relationship that would last for decades.

Towards the end of his life, Dorcy worked with Nelson during the Texas dates of the star’s tours, and spent the rest of his time working with Texas country acts.

Dorcy was the first inductee into the Roadie Hall of Fame in 2009.

After Dorcy’s passing, Willie Nelson‘s Facebook page shared a few words in remembrance of his friend.

“Ben ‘Lovey’ Dorcy was our friend and part of the Willie Nelson Family,” the post read. “Thank you Ben for years of hard work and sound advice. We love you.”