Farm Aid’s Farmer Heroes

October 8th, 2015


One benefit of moving the Farm Aid concert to a new location each year is getting to meet new people: new music fans, new organizations working to help family farmers in their region, and new chefs and businesses connecting people to good food. But best of all is meeting new farmers! We’d like to introduce you to someone we met in Chicago this summer: Darius Jones.


Darius Jones is a farmer from Chicago’s West Side who went from a jail sentence at age 17 to running the McCormick Place Rooftop Farm in his early twenties. “Before I went to jail, I didn’t know anything about gardening or where food comes from. But this is going to be my career for sure. Making things grow, feeding people, is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Read his inspirational story to see why we’re proud to call Darius one of our Farmer Heroes here.  

You got a smile so bright, you could’ve been a candle

October 8th, 2015


Paula Nelson hangs out with her dad

October 8th, 2015


Thanks to Paula Nelson for sharing this photo of times spent with her dad.

Willie Nelson Art

October 8th, 2015


Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Brenda Lee, “The Winning Hand”

October 8th, 2015

From the show “The winning Hand”. The album, released in December 1982, featuring Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Brenda Lee and Kris Kristofferson. The album consisted largely of unreleased tracks from their years with Monument Records (all four of them had recorded for the label during the mid-1960s). Of the four artists, Kristofferson and Lee contributed new vocals, and a number of the original solo recordings were edited together to create “duets”.[citation needed] Despite what might have seemed an opportunistic project, designed to capitalize on the later fame of the performers—Parton’s and Nelson’s careers were at their commercial peaks in 1982—the album was largely well received by critics upon its release and did well on the country charts.

A single, “Everything’s Beautiful” (not to be confused with the Ray Stevens song of the same name), featuring Parton and Nelson, was released and made the country top ten.

Kristofferson’s two solo outings, “Here Comes that Rainbow Again” and “The Bandits of Beverly Hills”, both had previously been released as singles.

In early 1983, a two-hour variety syndicated television special was aired in celebration of the album with all four stars singing together for the first (and only) time. Johnny Cash hosted the program. Gospel music.

Dolly, Brenda, Kris & Willie
… The Winning Hand

Produced by Fred Foster
Monument Records

Johnny Cash wrote the liner notes for this album, Dolly, Brenda, Kris and Willie.  He wrote something about each artist, and here is what he wrote about Willie:

Willie Nelson

Like a thief in the night
Like the witch on her broom
The red-headed stranger
Came right through her bedroom

No, actually I’m kidding.  He was a little reluctant to walk through the bedroom at eleven o’clock at night with Waylon Jennings and myself.  They had come over to see me and I said, “Let’s go into my little back room and sit and talk and pick awhile.”  We passed John Carter’s bedroom where he was asleep.

“Come on and follow me,” I said.  leading the way through the master bedroom to my little get-away-from-it-all-writing-reading-picking-listening refuge.

“I’m afraid we’ll wake June,” said Willie, tiptoeing past the bed where she slept.

“C0me one,” I said, and the three of us walked Indian style through the dim lit room and into my private place.

“I’ve always been a dreamer.  I mean, I have vivid technicolor, wide-screen stereo dreams.  Oftimes I dream of things that are happening, sometimes I dream of things that will happen, sometimes I’m dreaming of things even before I’m sound asleep.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of a dream not knowing what the end was to be.  I go back to sleep, commanding my mind to finish the dream.

Twenty years ago I had a dream about Willie Nelson.  I hadn’t spoken with, nor seen him, in about three years.

In my dream, Willie and I were sitting in a dresing room, swapping songs.  I sang him a song I had leanred from a demo which Gene Ferguson had given me called The Ballad of Ira Hayes.

Willie said, “You should do an album of Indian songs.”

“I will,” I said.  “I never thought of doing a whole album of Indian stuff”

“You will,” I said.  “I never thought of doing a whole album of Indian stuff.”

“You will,” said Willie in my dream.  (It’s called Bitter Tears.)

Willie said, “Let me sing you one, John.  I thought of you when I wrote it.” “They’re all the same.

The dream was over at the end of they’re all the same.

Next morning I called my secretary.  “Try to find me a number where I can call Willie Nelson,” I said.  “Willie Nelson, the songwriter.  I think he’s living in Nashville.”

An hour later I was talking to him.  I congratulated him on the success of some of his big songs he had written recorded by other artists.  He kindly returned the compliments.  “Willie,” I said.  “You might think I’m a little weird, but I dreamed about you last niht.”  There was silence on his end, so I went on.  “I dreamed you sang a song to me, one you had written clled they’re all the same.”

More silence.

:Do you have a song called They’re All the Same?”  I asked.

“Yes, I do,” he said, barely above a whisper.

“Would you send it to me” I asked.  “Maybe I can record it.”

A long pause, then willie said.  “Sure, give me your address.”

Willie sent the song and I played it a hundred times, but I never recorded it.  I was beginning to get heavily into something else and somewhere along the way, I must have lost the demo of ‘Thy’re All the Same.’

Now, back to 1979.   Willie, Waylon and I were sitting in my room just off the bedroom where June was asleep, just off the bedroom where John Carter was asleep.

I hadn’t seen Willie in ten years.  The hair was long and plaited.  The beard was full and red, and the eyes were clear and intelligent.  Waylon kept his hat on and sweated like I do.

I was a little shy myself because I was in the presence of two of country music’s all time greats.  I was also a little awed by Willie Nelson for his amazing rise to super stardom.

We sang a few songs quietly.  Willie was still concerned with waking June.

“Willie;,” I said, “do you remember ‘They’re all the same’?”

“Man,” he said.  “That’s been a long tme ago.  Didn’t I send you that?”

“Yes, but I lost it.”

“I’ll send you another tape of it,” he said.  “Let me sing you this one.”  And he sang a song which became a number one record for him.  But he still hasn’t sent me a tap on ‘They’re All the Same.’ Maybe he forgot it, too.

Not more than an hour had passed when Waylon said, “We’d better go, John.  I know you and June had already gone to bed.”

“Don’t go,” I said, and to Willie, “I haven’t seen you in so long and I want to spend some more time with you.”

They insised that it was too late to keep me up and again expressed their concern of waking June on the way out.

I led the way and June was still asleep.  I stopped and went over and shook June awake.  Only the night light was on and as I started to turn on the bedside light, Wilie said, “No, John, don’t do that.”

In the dim light, I said, “June, here’s some old buddies, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.”  Waylon went over and hugged her, and Willie knelt down beside the bed and kissed her on the cheek.

“How have you been, Miss June?”  he said.

June started talking up a storm.  “It’s so good to see you both.  Why didn’t you wake me, John?  Waylon, how’s Jessi?  Willie, it’s so good to see you.  John and I are so proud for you.”

“Didn’t mean to wake you pu, Miss June,” said Willie, “But it’s good to see you.”

:Oh, that’s alright, stay, John, turn on the light.”

“No, Miss June, we’re going.  Hope we didn’t make too much  noise.”

“Come back anytime, Willie.  Come back, Waylon, and bring Jessie,” said June.

Waylon tipped his hat and followed Willie past John Carter’s bedroom and on out the door.

I waived goodbye to them as they got in the car and closed the door.  I started past John Carter’s open bedroom door, back into our bedroom, but he was awake and standing there.  “Who’s that, Daddy?” he asked.

“Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.”

He started back to his bed and stopped, “I smell something funny,” he said.

“Like what, John Carter?” I asked.

“I don’t know, he said, crawling under his covers.

Crawling in bed by June, I thought of the miles and the troubles my visitors must have known in their lives.  They had been everywhere and done everything, but then so have I, I thought.  Maybe I smell funny.


Some fly high and some fly low
But theyrenot all the same
For a winning man with a winning hand
You never see brought down
One year he might disappear
And no more be seen in town
He’s got lots of things I’ve not
An he’ll master the movie game
He’ll be back along to sing his song
nd they’re not all the same
This record made in this decade
Is this decade’s number one
There is no doubt in my mind without
Willie Nelson it could not have been done
Now my take is said
And I thank you, Fred
You are one might man
To work it out
And bring about
The platinum The Winning Hand

— Johnny Cash

Willie Nelson, EmmyLou Harris, “Poncho and Lefty”

October 8th, 2015

Willie Nelson and his fans

October 8th, 2015


Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson, “Who’ll Buy My Memories”

October 7th, 2015
by: Andrew Leahey
November 21, 2014

When federal agents raided Willie Nelson‘s home on November 9, 1990, they weren’t looking for drugs. Instead, the feds were intent on seizing most of Nelson’s worldly possessions — including his recording studio, instruments, memorabilia and more than 20 properties in four different states — to help pay off the whopping $16.7 million he’d racked up in back taxes and penalties. The only thing they didn’t get was Trigger, Nelson’s favorite guitar, which had been spirited away from the home several days earlier by his daughter, Lana.

Nelson wound up using Trigger — and nothing else — to record his next album, The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?, an acoustic collection of new songs and old standbys. Released in 1992, the album’s profits went straight to the IRS, which helped Nelson finally dig himself out of debt. More than two decades later, he’s still playing Trigger (a Martin N-20 classical guitar that’s as weathered and mellow-sounding as its owner), as well as “Who’ll Buy My Memories?,” which makes a revised appearance on the upcoming album December Day.

Due out on December 2nd, December Day finds Nelson teaming up with his sister and longtime bandmate, Bobbie Nelson, for a mix of re-recorded greatest hits, deep cuts, cover songs and new originals. The project was borne from a string of casual jam sessions aboard the country legend’s tour bus, the biodiesel-fueled Honeysuckle Rose, where he and Bobbie — armed with Trigger, a travel-size keyboard and a musical chemistry that dates back to the siblings’ childhood days in Abbott, Texas — have a long history of regrouping after shows to play their favorite songs. The two rustle up the laid-back, stripped-down vibe of those bus sessions in a live studio performance of “Who’ll Buy My Memories Again?,” which makes its premiere today exclusively on Rolling Stone Country. [Watch above.]

“A past that’s sprinkled with the blues / A few old dreams that I can’t use,” Willie sings at the song’s outset, punctuating certain lines with jazzy, out-of-time runs on Trigger’s beat-up fretboard. Bobbie accompanies him on grand piano, and the pair’s performance is intercut with grainy footage of their hometown, including churches, crops, the Abbott water tower and endless expanses of blue Texas sky.

Twenty years ago, “Who’ll Buy My Memories?” felt like a kiss-off to the IRS, which sold Nelson’s repossessed belongings to the highest bidder. [In a touching display of support, many of Nelson’s fans purchased those belongings and then donated them back to the original owner.] Today, with Shotgun Willie nearing 82 years old, the song is a poignant reminder that everyone — even one of the country music’s most enduring icons — is mortal.  After nearly 70 studio albums, Nelson is focused less on sticking it to the (tax)man and more on highlighting the things that never really die: family bonds, memories and the music that glues them all together.

Willie Nelson and Family

October 6th, 2015


Thanks to Paula Nelson for sharing this great photo of her with dad and mom Connie and sister Amy.

Willie Nelson sings with Judy Collins on her new album, “Strangers Again”

October 6th, 2015

Willie Nelson joined Judy Collins for “When I Go”, on her new album, “Strangers Again”


A unique and extraordinary duets album featuring the unmistakable voice of folk music icon Judy Collins and an all-star assembly of her superbly talented friends performing an intensely moving set of ballads.

Guests include country legend Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Jeff Bridges, Glen Hansard (of The Swell Season), Jimmy Buffett, Michael McDonald, Don McLean and more!

Track List:
1. Strangers Again feat. Ari Hest
2. Miracle River feat. Michael McDonald
3. Belfast To Boston feat. Marc Cohn
4. When I Go feat. Willie Nelson
5. Make Our Garden Grow feat. Jeff Bridges
6. Feels Like Home feat. Jackson Browne
7. From Grace feat. Thomas Dybdahl
8. Hallelujah feat. Bhi Bhiman
9. Someday Soon feat. Jimmy Buffett
10. Stars In My Eyes feat. Aled Jones
11. Send In The Clowns feat. Don McLean
12. Races feat. Glen Hansard

Willie Nelson: “It’s a Long Story: My Life”

October 6th, 2015

by: Blair Jackson

aving devoured Joe Nick Patoski’s entertaining and tremendously detailed biography, Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, a few years ago, I wondered what Willie’s own autobiography (actually his second; the first came out in 2000) could add to my understanding of this wonderfully idiosyncratic artist. The answer is: plenty!

Reading It’s a Long Story: My Life feels a little like sitting at a neighborhood bar (or, perhaps more apropos, sharing a joint) and listening to Willie spin tales. It’s casual and conversational, irreverent and self-effacing, but also soulful and deep in places. It is also relentlessly upbeat and nice to just about everyone who gets mentioned in its brisk 375 pages. He has nothing but good things to say about his various wives (the breakups were usually his fault, he admits), his children (all of whom he adores), and every musician who’s ever played with him or influenced him. He paints himself as an iconoclastic screw-up who somehow managed to persevere and eventually thrive, even though he never quite fit in with the mainstream—all true.

You learn about the magic he heard in Django Reinhardt and Lefty Frizzell and Frank Sinatra, and the importance of his piano-playing sister Bobbie on his development and musical stability. His old pal Waylon Jennings helped him escape the clutches of a Nashville establishment that wanted to change him and tame him. (Producer Chet Atkins was one of many who did not “get” what was special about Nelson.) Moving back to his home state of Texas ultimately saved him and his career (his later IRS woes also get a lot of ink).

One thing this book does really well is describe how the details of his life affected his songwriting every step of the way. He goes almost line by line through songs such as “The Night Life,” “Crazy,” “Bloody Mary Morning,” and “The Party’s Over,” drawing parallels with his mindset at the time he wrote them. He also discusses how and why various songs he covered by other writers through the years resonated with him so strongly. His description of the more than two dozen diverse albums he recorded in the past decade alone speaks of his restless artistic nature and also his current relevance.

And then there’s his now-legendary beat-up old Martin classical guitar, which he nicknamed Trigger “thinking of the closeness between Roy Rogers and his beloved horse,” he writes. When Nelson’s spread near Nashville went up in flames in December 1970, “I managed to make it to my bedroom where, dancing between the flames, I grabbed two guitar cases. One contained Trigger and the other two pounds of primo Colombian pot.”

He writes plenty about weed, of course, but in the end not as much as he does about his abiding faith in Jesus. This is one complex fellow, filled with multiple conflicting impulses. And this book lays them out unflinchingly for all the world to see.

It’s a great read.

– See more at:

Purchase a Biodegradable Cremation Urn from OneWorld Memorials; Help fund Breast Cancer Research

October 6th, 2015


Close friends of mine from OneWorld Memorials, in Minneapolis,  import and sell cremation urns, and this month in recognition of Breast Cancer awareness Month, they are donating  $5.00 from every purchase to the Breast Cancer Research Fund.


OneWorld Memorials  have been importing and selling cremation urns for many years, and they have a large variety of traditional urns for ashes made of metal, marble, glass, wood, paper, and other memorial products at their website.  If you, or anyone you know, are thinking about cremation, visit their website.  It is a good resource respecting cremation.  They also have urns for your pet’s ashes, as well.

Recently, OneWorld Memorials told me that they are working with a wonderful non-profit company, ProPueblo, dedicated to bringing fair trade and sustainable income opportunities to various South American communities.


One of the biodegradable urns are scattering urns.  Many people want to have their ashes scattered, and One World Memorials designed scattering urns, that are lightweight, and easy to hold.  These scattering urns are composed of strengthened balsa wood, with hand carved vegetable ivory butterflies to secure the lid with the attached twine.  The urns come in blue,  Red  and Natural.


Another example of the sustainable products is the small keepsake urns, carved from nuts designed to hold a little bit of cremation ash.  These keepsake urns for ashes can be kept or given to family or close friends who would like a keepsake to maintain a connection to their memory.  The keepsakes are hand carved by skilled artisans from vegetable ivory a completely natural and sustainable nut that come from indigenous palm trees. The nut is considered by many to be the perfect alternative to animal ivory.  Two styles of the keepsake urns are available:  hummingbird and dolphin.

I think many, like me, consider cremation a practical alternative to traditional, expensive  ground burial. Willie Nelson has a good idea, in his song, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”   People try to live simply when they are alive, and they’d  like to leave a small footprint on the planet when they die.

When you visit a traditional cemetery, it looks so beautiful, green and manicured like a park, but hidden below the surface is buried thousands of pounds of steel, brass, wood, glue, plastic from hundreds of caskets, human remains preserved with toxic formaldehyde, clothing, leather  and jewelry.  Cremation and scattering, burying or keeping the ashes in an urn is a practical alternative.  There are  biodegradable urns that breakdown naturally over time when buried in the ground, or set out to sea.


If you want to make a donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and help the company with their campaign to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness month,  you don’t have to make a purchase; just follow this link to donate and the money will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation:,l.

Willie Nelson, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die”

October 6th, 2015

Willie Nelson art wins Best of Show in Lubbock

October 6th, 2015

by:  Ashlyn Tubbs

When walking through the South Plains Fair Art Show, one particular painting tends to turn heads. It’s the details – the calculated wrinkles and eye twinkles that make fairgoers stop in their tracks.

The portrait is framed in the Golden Age group display, for artists over 65 years old, but the artist who painted this piece, “Marti” Martinez, is defying all odds at age 68.

“It’s a painting of Willie Nelson, an oil painting, and I decided to enter it,” Martinez said. “I really don’t know about the techniques…I just do it. It took me about two weeks to do it.”

Martinez barely made the deadline to enter the competition.

“I couldn’t do it at the house, because I have too many grandkids around,” he said. “So, I went to my mom’s house and finished it about an hour and a half before I got it here.”

But that’s only one of the many challenges Martinez has faced.

“I started doing pencil art while I was in Vietnam,” he said. “When I had time…and I wasn’t getting shot at.”

After Martinez returned from his service, he took art courses in college, but there were more challenges to come.

Ten years ago, Martinez said he was painting a wall mural for a local business when 480 volts went through him.

“I used to do all their artwork,” he said, “and I got electrocuted.”

“I had to come back with a lot of therapy to get my artwork back,” he said. “I was like a little kid, the drawings that I did after the electrocution…it wasn’t me.”

Martinez had to relearn everything.

“I had brain damage,” he said, “and it took me a while to get it back.”

But with hard work and dedication, he managed to create his next painting – a portrait of an Indian that took him over a year to complete.

“It’s something that I want to do,” Martinez said. “I’m getting to the age where I don’t want to have anything else to do but that. I’m 68 right now, so that’s about all I can do.”

His next painting was of a group of horses, based on a historical carving.

“I’ve entered [the] two of them at the fair,” he said, “and they’ve gotten best of show also and first place.”

Martinez jokes that “he’s back”, and this time he hopes it is for good.

“Now that I’m out of hard times, I can bring it back every year if they want me to,” he said.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Willie Nelson, Poco, Grateful Dead, Jerry Jeff Walker in Mucchio Selvaggio Magazine

October 6th, 2015