Hundreds of citizens are set to testify in support of climate action at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearings this week in Washington. People are speaking out in support of the EPA’s recent proposal to reduce the nation’s biggest source of polution blamed for climate change — carbon emission from power plants. This plan is the EPA’s boldest, most promising proposal todate, part of an aggressive effort to cut climate change-causing pollution by 30% by 2030.
Everyone is invited to get involved and become part of the conversation. Go to: http://www.actonclimate.com/me/ to record your own comments and opinions on the proposal during the 120 day period.
You can show your support – submit a public comment before they step up to the podium: www.actonclimate.com #ActOnClimate
Thank you so much to Ruth Hegley, of Scooterville, the Franks Brothers Traveling Willie Nelson & Family Store, for sending me a beautiful collection of brochures and pamphlets from Willie Nelson & Family shows around the country. Willie plays in some incredibly beautiful venues, and Ruth collects show programs and magazines announcing Willie’s shows, and kindly shares them.
Santa Clarita Valley
A Legend Comes to Town
By: Stephanie Struyck Elgin
Photos: David McCuster
He’s the longhaired, bandana-wearing guitarist who captured the hearts of audiences worldwide and changed the face of country music. A pioneer of outlaw country, Willie Nelson’s rough and tumble grit, coupled with raw emotion and honesty, breathe life to his songs, making him a legend in his own right.
Born in Abbott, Texas, Willie Nelson has an impressive six-decade career with over 60 studio albums in addition to live recordings, soundtracks, and collaborations with other artists and more. One of the most decorated musicians of all time, Willie is a seven-time Grammy Award winner, and has received numerous accolades for his work.
Known as a songwriter of rare and precise elegance, Willie was the mastermind behind 1960’s classics like Crazy (Patsy Cline), Hello Walls (Faron Young), and Night Life (Ray Price), to name a few. In the 1970’s, however, Willie’s unique style didn’t fit the traditional classic country mold, making him an “outlaw” in the country music scene. Despite his resistance to confirm, Willie’s popularity continued to grow, and in 1975, his first album for Columbia Records titled The Red Headed Stranger, catapulted Willie into stardom. Just a few years later, he released Stardust, a multi million dollar album and contributed to the compilation Wanted: The Outlaws, which featured legendary greats like Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. Willie and Waylon’s popular collaboration Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be cowboys earned the two artists a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1978.
By the end of the decade, Willie was a musical phenom, revolutionizing outlaw country His success continued into the 1980′s, topping country charts and also making a name in pop music. On the Road Again and Always on My Mind were some of the many songs that emerged during this decade. Willie collaborated with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash to form the group The Highwaymen. The group recorded and toured for a number of years.
While Willie Nelson has etched his name in music history, he is also the co-founder of Farm Aid, an annual series of fundraising events, which began as an all star benefit concert in 1985, to raise money for American family farmers. Having grown up on the farm himself, Willie continues to lobby against horse slaughter and produces his own blend of biodiesel fuel.
Throughout out the years, Willie has continued to make music, collaborating with other musicians, and in 1993, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Willie has also appeared on the big screen, starring in many films including The Electric Horseman and Honeysuckle Rose, to name a few.
In May of 2012, Willie released Heroes, his first album for Legacy Recordings. The album spent five weeks at a number one on the Americana Radio Chart. The same year, he released his book, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” which landed in the Top 10 on the New York Times’ Best Seller List.
Recently, the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center announced that one of the greatest entertainers of all time, Willie Nelson, will be coming to the Santa Clarita valley for the special event, “Willie Nelson and Family: Live in Concert”.
“The PAC will be the place to be on April 5, and we are thrilled to have him in Santa Clarita, if only for just one night,” states Evy Warshawski, Executive Director of Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center.
College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook adds, “Featuring an icon like Willie Nelson at the Performing Arts Center demonstrates our commitment to bringing the best in entertainment to Santa Clarita.”
With his 1969 Martin N-20 named “Trigger” in tow, signature braided ponytails, bandana and outlaw country tunes, I, too, look forward to welcoming the legendary music icon to our stage.
Thank you, Dee Boutilier Sulenski, for sharing a photo of your license plate! One of my faves, for sure.
Dee Sulenski remembers the moment when she finally decided to give her left leg to Willie Nelson.
On a trip to Connecticut in 1998, she chatted with her favorite cousin, a biker adorned with multiple tattoos, about the process of getting inked. Once her cousin explained that tattoo artists can use stencils to create designs from almost any printed source, Sulenski was sold.
Back home in Virginia, the devoted Willie Nelson fan headed to Gloucester and had his autograph etched above her left ankle.
Since then, that first tattoo has been joined by four more elaborate pieces done in Richmond by renowned tattoo artist Tom Renshaw. Two are portraits of Willie as an adult; another is of him as a boy. A final tattoo is of Nelson’s trusty acoustic guitar.
All five pieces decorate Sulenski’s lower left leg.
“I liked Willie so much I knew I wanted it,” she says, thinking back. “Someone asked me, ‘What if you stop liking Willie?’ I said, ‘I’ll be dead, so it won’t matter. It’s not going to happen.’ ”
The tattoos attract attention.
“It’s funny to watch people stare â€” they don’t think you see them staring. But most people are impressed with the artwork. I’ve never had a negative reaction.”
That includes the main man himself, who’s admired the tattoos in person several times.
“He is genuinely pleased,” she says.
Clearly, 53-year-old Dee Sulenski is a Willie Nelson superfan. Aside from the tattoos, she’s made her tidy Toano home a shrine honoring the soft-spoken country outlaw.
Her den is Willie Central â€” walls covered with autographed photos, posters, magazine covers and devotional art such as a small, colorful “velvet Willie” painting â€” but you’ll find bits of memorabilia in almost every room in the house. Even bathrooms are decorated with framed Willie Nelson autographs.
Sulenski has given all six of her cats Willie-related names, Abbott for Nelson’s hometown in Texas and Trigger for Nelson’s well-worn guitar.
Her car’s license plate reads WLE NLSN.
Sulenski has successfully surrounded herself with reminders of the red-headed Texan. And very soon, their worlds will intersect again.
Tonight, Sulenski will attend her 100th Willie Nelson concert at The National theater in Richmond. Tomorrow, she’ll take in No. 101 at The NorVa in Norfolk.
Will she be in the balcony or near the stage at the shows?
OK, that’s a dumb question.
“Right down front,” she says without hesitating. “I want to see every bead of sweat.”
Sulenski first fell for Nelson in a movie theater.
“I saw the movie ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ right before I left for Coast Guard boot camp in 1980,” she says. “I don’t know if the timing had something to do with it, but from that point on, it was all Willie.”
Looking back, Sulenski isn’t clear on what exactly flipped her switch, Nelson’s gentle music or his laid-back charisma.
“I can’t explain it,” she says. “I don’t think it’s possible to explain what happened. I love his music, but he’s such a wonderful, generous man. He’s genuine. There’s absolutely nothing fake about him
“He really pays attention to his fans. If he’s talking to you, it’s like you’re the only person in the world.
“He’s really a kind person.”
She’s met Willie Nelson countless times â€” but always in structured musician-fan situations.
She says she’s careful not to invade his privacy.
“I care for Willie sincerely, and I’ve always been very respectful of his time,” she says. “I would never do anything to make him uncomfortable.”
Their first close encounter was after a 1989 performance at Scope in Norfolk. She gave her camera to a random passer-by who took a snapshot that’s become one of Sulenski’s most prized possessions. It shows the pair cheek to cheek, both beaming.
Their second meeting, at Kings Dominion outside Richmond, is where she scored the autograph that now adorns her leg.
“We kissed spontaneously,” she remembers. “Then I said, ‘I need a picture! Can we do that again?’ ”
The photo, taken by her husband Marion Sulenski, is on the wall of her den.
It’s not easy to be the spouse of a superfan. Marion admits to feeling a twinge of jealousy when he saw the print of that particular photo. But with reassurance from Dee, he’s come to terms with his wife’s obsession.
Despite the fact that he prefers classical music to country, he’s accompanied Dee on most of her Willie Nelson adventures â€” including a stint in Branson, Mo., where they saw two shows a day for three straight days.
“It makes her happy and that’s what makes me happy,” he says. “She enjoys it so much it hasn’t been hard to be a good sport.”
The couple has been married for 18 years â€” a period that spans much of his wife’s Willie Nelson infatuation. Marion says their outings have strengthened their relationship. More than anything, though, he’s a realist. He knows he couldn’t change his wife if he tried.
“It would be like standing on a beach with a bucket and trying to keep the tide from coming in,” he says. “You just can’t do it.”
On July 29, 2004, Willie Nelson performed “Living in the Promiseland”, on the night presidential candidate John Kerry accepts the nomination at the Democratic National Convention” at Boston’s Fleet Center. Carole King and Mavis Staples also performed.
Thank you, Guthrie Thomas, for sending this photo of Budrock “The Illuminator” Prewitt, and his own handsome self, along with news that the Farm Aid 2014 Guitar Pick is in the works! The guitar pick elves at www.Gtpicks.com are hard at work.
Now, who says you never hear any good news any more?
“I miss my job. I miss the entire road Family. I miss my bus. I miss setting up the lights and hanging the flag. I miss Dinner at 5:30. I miss my routine.
I miss the excitement of the crowd at their first sight of Willie as he strolls onstage, I miss seeing the Texas Flag coming out of it’s bag at the beginning of the show.
I miss telling the spotlight operators to make sure and get a good shot of Bobbie when she does her piano solos and to get ready because Mickey is next and to watch out because he does not stand still.
I miss lighting up the audience and letting Willie see his fans singing back to him and them knowing he is catching their energy. I miss me chasing Willie. I miss those quick left turns he sometimes takes.
I miss it all, but mostly I miss the bonus of getting to see and hear Willie play and sing almost every night while I work. It is Fun. It’s my normal………and I can’t wait to get back.”– Budrock
Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out the car window.
I called down to Texas to visit with Budrock “The Illuminator” Prewitt, Lighting Director for Willie Nelson & Family, to see how he was healing from his injury in June. Buddy was injured working at a Willie Nelson show, when a freak accident caused him to break his heel, sprain some things and tear up some other things. He has been home, off the road, waiting for the swelling to go down so surgeons and other medical experts can work on it and help put him back together for the road. Most recent xrays in July show no change from June, and the doctors are still telling him to stay put for a couple months.
“I have a wheelchair, Crutches, 2 Knee Scooters(One for upstairs), & a golf cart, but none of em have the ability to keep up with the bus. I can now drive again but not very far because I can’t get the foot comfortable in the truck. I did get a handicap placard for my vehicle, so I don’t have to crutch it too far when I do get out.”
I am used to making things happen…..in a hurry and efficiently. There is nothing going on here that seems to be an immediate priority. I feel like a grain of sand in the desert.
Cabin Fever is setting in.
Farm Aid is coming to Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 13! The concert lineup features Willie Nelson & Family, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Jack White and more.
Get Your Tickets
Farm Aid 2014 Ticket Presale
Our ticket presale starts at noon EDT on Friday, July 25 at http://farmaid.tix.musictoday.com. A $50 Farm Aid Presale Pass (replacing our membership program*) gets you access to buy the best seats in the house a week before they go on sale to the public.
Farm Aid 2014 Ticket Sale
Tickets for Farm Aid 2014 will go on sale to the public on Friday, August 1, at 10 a.m. EDT. Tickets will be available at www.livenation.com, the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre box office, all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 800-745-3000. Tickets range in price from $49 to $175.
Farm Aid 2014 VIP Tickets
A very limited number of VIP tickets for the first ten rows will be available starting July 25 at noon EDT. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
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Stay connected with Farm Aid — sign up for our email list to receive concert updates, action alerts, and news about the issues you care most about.
This day in Willie Nelson History: President Jimmy Carter joins Willie Nelson on stage in Georgia (7/27/2008)July 27th, 2014
On July 27, 2008, Jimmy Carter joined Willie Nelson and Family on stage and played harmonica on “Georgia On My Mind” during a concert at Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta.
“Five different times I’ve been on the stage with Willie Nelson,” Carter said. “He always calls me up on his final number, which is usually ‘Amazing Grace,’ and we sing a duet together. He’s very careful to turn the microphone completely away from my voice.” – Jimmy Carter
Former President Jimmy Carter once told Rolling Stone magazine that “all the good things I did as president, all the mistakes I made – you can blame half of that on Willie.”