January 17th, 2017

photo:  Andrew Shapter

Willie Nelson on the Road Again (Sunday Extra 5/9/1993)

January 17th, 2017

Fans are Getting a Full Nelson
Extra Entertainment
May 9, 1993
by Bill Ben

Willie Nelson’s on the road again, and more to the point, back on track again.

“I just don’t like staying in one place,” he was saying the other day, fidgeting on a sofa in his Manhattan hotel suite.

“For a while there, I was laying low, but I wasn’t putting down roots.”

Willie just turned 60, and here he is, careening all over North America, performing with his own band and as part of the historic association that is billed as The Highwaymen (himself, Johny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings).

Taco Bell ..  “Saturday Night Life.”  A prime-time birthday bash on CBS.  Farm Aid VII.  Two big “Country Takes Manhattan” gigs — at Radio City Music Hall and the very next day, a Central Park benefit with the Highwaymen.

Now compare this with his schedule last year when he spent all of May through October in Branson, Mo., an Ozarks country music resort where many performers have moved to wind down their careers.

“If you’re looking to retire Branson is the place to do it,” Nelson says, “but I’m not looking to do it.”

Not yet?  “Not ever,” he says.

Even in Branson, though, he worked.  He did 144 shows, which covered his various costs of living — golf, alimony, headbandsand all — but Willie is a restless troubadour, and his idea of getting sick is coming down with diesel poisoning from the fumes emitted by his touring bus.

First things first.

He looks good.  The mustache and beard are white, and the long hair that Willie keeps under the trademark rolled headband is red-brown, about the same color as his oh-so-long ago ‘Red Headed Starnger’ days.

Hes as laconic and easy going as ever, slim, wearing sneakers — he isn’t big on cowboy boots — and somewhere on the scene is his fourth wife and the youngest of his six children.  They are aged 3 and 4.

“I’m kind of like Ray-O-Vac,” he says.  “I just keep going and going.”

Musically, he keeps rolling right along, too.

The new album, “Across the Borderline,” his 35th on Columbia, is a gem, selling like crazy, with Paul Simon, Bonnie aitt, Sinead O’Connor, Bob Dylan and Kristofferson joining his long long list of singing partners.

Incidentally, is there anybody anywhere he has not sung with?

“Well, there’ s you,” he says, “But since you ain’t left the room yet, there’s still a chance we’ll do a little something.”

The tax thing is straightening itself out, too.  He is still working off that Texas sized claim from the Internal Revenue Service — it once hit $32 million, counting interest and penalties.

Nelson even cut a special Uncle Sam album called “The IRS Tapes,” just him and his guitar, which was heavily promoted through late-night TV ads, with 75 cents fo each $1 going directly to the IRS.

“I was down to where going platinum wouldn’t help,” he says.  “After a whle, you just laugh and turn it all over to the lawyers.”

The lawyers whittled the amount down to a manageable $million, an half of that has been paid, largely from the sale of property the IRS seized.  The kicker is that most of it was bought by friends hwo promised to hold it until he was solvent.

His troubles stemmed from tax shelters that the IRS later disallowed, and he’s now suing his accounting firm, which set up the shelters.

Nelson is living in a cabin on a 700-acre ranch in Spicewood, Tex., where he plays golf – “I worry more about my game than anything else right now” – and gets away from all the silly questions.

Sample question:  Which young singer out there most reminds you of you?  Answer:  I don’t hear anybody who sounds like me, which is probably a good thing.”

He doesn’t write as any songs as he once did.  “I’m not as desperate for money, that’s why,” he says.

Still, there’s plenty more where “Crazy,” “Funny How Time Slips Away.”  “Good-Hearted Woman,” “On the Road Again” and so many other big hits came from.  They are on tape in boxes stored in boxes around the place.

“I’ve outlived everybody,” he says.  “Hell, even Jones is younger than me.  That’s something, ain’t it?”

Does Willie Have a Dream?

January 17th, 2017

Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers for NASA

January 17th, 2017

Newsweek, May 15, 1989

They were rockin’ round the rockets at the Johnson Space Center last week.  Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers met up in Houston and gave an outdoor concert for some 15,000 NASA employees and their friends.  According to Rogers, the country threesome was promoting “determination, hope and success” — not to mention Roger’s new specia-effects-laden video, “Planet Texas,” in which a cowboy encounters three horsemen form outer space.

The concert, which will be telecast as an NBC special later this month, marked the first time that the trio had performed together, doing solos and a medley of everyone’s hits.

“We’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of man’s landing on the moon,” said Rogers, who was raised in a Houston housing project.  “We’re also saluting people who are struggling in all parts of life here.”

Luck Reunion @ Luck, Texas (March 16, 2017)

January 17th, 2017

Willie Nelson and Mickey Raphael

January 17th, 2017

Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson & Woody Harrelson, in London, on set of “Lost in London” (streaming live Jan 19th)

January 16th, 2017

Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real:

“Woody, Dad , and I on the set of #lostinlondon , Woody’s new completely LIVE movie, set to be released January 19th in the states. 9pm Eastern.

Check FathomEvents.com for your theatre locations!”

January 16th, 2017

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Kinky Friedman and Willie Nelson, “Bloody Mary Morning”

January 16th, 2017
kinky3

 

Woody Harrelson friends try to talk him out of “Lost in London” live-streaming movie with Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson (Jan 19, 2017)

January 16th, 2017

Harrelson wrote and will star in Lost in London, a live-streamed film, along with Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson—and all his celebrity friends think that’s a terrible idea.

It takes a lot to make a movie—a lot of drive, a lot of determination, a lot of money. Perhaps most of all, it takes a lot of time; the typical film shoot lasts weeks, and complicated blockbusters require months of work.

It takes a lot to make a movie—a lot of drive, a lot of determination, a lot of money. Perhaps most of all, it takes a lot of time; the typical film shoot lasts weeks, and complicated blockbusters require months of work.

It’s no wonder, then, that when newly minted Star Wars star Woody Harrelson told his celebrity pals that he’s planning to broadcast his new film—Lost in London, which Harrelson also wrote—live, as it’s being shot, he was met with some . . . skepticism, to say the least. Nice-guy Grammy winner Justin Timberlake declares the idea “fucking stupid.” Harrelson’s Hunger Games protégé Jennifer Lawrence calls this “by far the worst” idea he’s ever had. Jesse Eisenberg is totally on board with the project . . . until he learns that the man behind it is his fellow magician, and not Woody Allen.

You’ll see all these famous faces and more in the exclusive video above, which is, of course, a clever exercise in reverse psychology. The live-streamed film in question, which also stars Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson, will screen in select theaters via Fathom Events on Thursday, January 19.

Willie Nelson: The Traveling Road Show (Country Song Round Up – May 1976)

January 16th, 2017

Country Song Roundup
by Susan Scott
May 1976

Paul English has been with Willie off and on as a drummer since 1954.  “We were in Ft. Worth, Texas, and Willie was doing a radio show called Western Express.  He needed a drummer and he called me to see if I knew anybody.  I told him I could drum for him.”

“I got the job.  I debuted that day with a spare drum and brush.  The only thing I had neglected to tell Willie was that I had never played a drum before.  I had musical training in high school, so I figured I could play the drums just like the trumpet,” he said.

A delightfully sincere individual with a heart of gold, but who really does look like a mind’s image of the devil, English serves as an extension of Willie.  He’s more than just a right arm and there appears to be no one more important to Willie than Paul and vice versa.

“When I lost my wife of 14 years,” English said, “Willie stayed by me. He told me we wouldn’t go back to work until I was ready.  He stayed off the road for three months and helped me get through some of the pain of losing her.

“He wrote a song for me about her.  It’s called, “I Still Can’t Believe That You’re Gone.’ and it came out on the Atlantic ‘Phases and Stages’ album.  I guess it means about as much to me as anything in this world.

“There is a love between us that you get after seeing a lot of life together.  He wrote a song, ‘Me and Paul,’ about our relationship.  We’ve been through a lot of things, covered a lot of ground — we’re more than just friends.”

And then Willie Nelson, red bandana tied around his forehead to keep his long sun-reddened brown hair from falling into his eyes, returned from his picture taking excursion.

“Hey, Susie, glad you could make it,” he said as he leaned over gently, kissed me on the cheek and squeezed my hand in soft salutation.  these are natural gestures for Willie and other Family members.  Paul doesn’t shake hands very often, he hugs everybody.

At the concert that night the backstage area was a conglomeration of Family members, press people and other guests.  Also on the bill with Willie was Tracey Nelson (no relation), Linda Ronstadt had come to the club after her performance at another hall across town.

The crowd of Nelsonite fans at the second show went into a frenzy as the three singers swung into the old time gospel standards.  The show went into th ewee hours of the morning and it was close to 3:30 a.m. before everybody reached the hotel and congregated in Willie’s suite.

Willie was the center of attention as he sat on the couch and talked about music and life to other writers that had wandered in.  “Some say I’m an outlaw and play progressive country.  Progressive is more a way of thinking and the way others interpret your music.  It’s not how you look or what you do off stage.

“In conventional Country music some things are done and some are not and I never really believed in following all of the conventions.  I was doing things that were foreign to a lot of people in Nashville.  They’d been doing things their way a long time and it was working so resistance was understandable.  We just reached a stand off and that’s about the time I went to Austin.

By 5:30 a.m. thee were only a few people left in the suite.  Willie, who had wandered to another room, called out to everyone that was left.  “Come here a minute everybody!”

The group gravitated toward the Texan.  He was standing in front of a large picture window with the drapes drawn to their full recoil.  Shades of gray, pink, violet and orange lighted the skyline.  He leaned intently; his face pressed against the window.  “Look at that,” he said almost in a whisper.  “The moon is sitting there on that mountain, the stars are shining like they just came out and the sun’s going to be here any minute.  There’s something about morning, its…” his voice trailed into a mumble and nobody quite got the last of his thoughts.  He smiled as he watched the sun break over a distant hill.  the group stood motionless and wordless, wrapped in the warmth of a Willie Nelson sunrise.  there was an eerie feeling that it was all happening just for him that morning.

Willie Nelson, the Traveling Road Show
Country Song Roundup
by Susan Scott
May 1976

Willie Nelson & Family Pick of the Day

January 16th, 2017

Willie Nelson Art, by Matt Brown

January 16th, 2017

Save the Post Office

January 16th, 2017

January 16th, 2017