2007 Was a Great Year to be a Willie Nelson Fan

This is long, but when you start talking about what Willie Nelson did in 2007, it takes some space.  Willie Nelson had another amazingly busy year, with their never-ending tour, recording, and offering his time, money and vision to causes important to him. Willie  received honors in several areas this year: for his music, his songwriting, his work for peace, his commitment to peaceful, conflict resolution, for his environmental activism, and an ice cream was named after him, with the proceeds going to benefit Farm Aid.  Who else does that? This is a far-from-complete list of what Willie accomplished this year, but shows you some ways he spent his time. And any mistakes included are mine alone, and I welcome any corrections anyone might have. 

Willie toured the United States, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, England, and The Nederlands.
On January 12th and 13th, Willie Nelson joined the Wynton Marsalis Quintet for four sold-out shows in NYC, organized by Jazz at Lincoln Center.  The show, billed as ˜Willie Nelson Sings the Blues, was broadcast on the radio, and you can hear the entire concert at Wynton Marsalisâ’s website, www.wyntonmarsalis.org.  friend sent me a copy, and its beautiful; they are all such amazingly talented artists. Really, Willie could have a successful career singing rhythm and blues, exclusively.
  Willie Nelson, joined by Jessica Simpson, Morgan Fairchild, Kinky Friedman, the Fort Worth Symphony and others, to perform at AetheriA – an Artclectic Evening on 2/10/07, with proceeds going to raise funds for art student scholarships
On March 20th, Willie Nelson, Ray Price and Merle Haggard released a 2cd set of newly recorded music.  It is a collection of country classics, and a couple new ones. It was produced by Fred Foster, on Lost Highway Records. Then, if the album was not incredible enough, these three hall-of-famers did a tour in support of their album.  I hope we haven’t seen the end of that tour.  I got to see them twice, and I’d like to see them again. 
Performed at grand opening of RFD.TV theater in Branson, Missouri on March 28  
Performed at indie festival Coachella on April 29th, and at its country/bluegrass spinoff , Stagecoach, on May 5th.
Willie Nelson was invited to perform at a free concert in Choteau, Montana on July 3rd.  The concert was a gift from David Letterman, who wishes to remain anonymous, to the town of Choteau. Only residents of Choteau, and Teton County, were invited to attend, and the demand for tickets, and invasion of country music fans really had the town buzzing. I had someone offer to buy mine for $500, when I was leaving my motel, and others at the show who had paid a lot for theirs.  It was a wonderful concert.   
Willie Nelson and Family performed at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington on the 4th of July, along with some alt country rockers: Son Volt, Old 97â’s, Drive-By Truckers and Amos Lee.
Performed at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival, in Illinois, to benefit the Crossroads Rehabilitiation Center, Antiqua (7/28/07)
 
Austin Freedom Fest (August 8th): Willie performed along with Asleep at the Wheel, Paula Nelson, Folk Uke and others at the Back Yard in Austin, at a benefit for NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project and WAMM, a Santa Cruz, CA hospice for medical marijuana patients.  I got to go, and Willie and Bee Spears set in for a lively set with Folk Uke, with Bee on his stand up bass. Paula Nelson singing a moving version of Jackson, and I remember thinking, Is she having as much fun as she looks like she’s having?  Funny thing, though, itÂseemed like there was no more pot smoking going on at the Freedom Fest, than at any of Willie’s shows.  Maybe that was just where I was sitting.  
Farm Aid 2007:  HomeGrown Festival, on Randall’s Island, NYC, September 9th, with Neil Young, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp and a cast of thousands.
On September 10th, Willie and some family stayed an extra day in NYC, and performed at the Hard Rock Cafe Ambassadors of Rock Festival, with proceeds to benefit the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, co-founded by Annie Nelson.  The festival was hosted by Woody Harrelson.
  Willie Nelson and Family Performed for “Concerts for a Cause, in Illinois, to benefit the Peru, Illinois Catholic School, to raise funds to build a playground for their school (9/22/07)
Willie played at Gene Autry’s 100th birthday celebration in Los Angeles, on 9/29/07  
Performed at the Big State Festival in College Station, Texas, featuring 40+ other country music acts, on October 14th.
Willie Nelson joined sons Lukas and Micah, and 40 Points, Tom Conway and Gypsy Pacific, Pat Simmons, Pat Simmons, Jr., Marty Dread and other artists, to perform at the Maui Music Festival, to benefit the scholarship program for the Maui Montessori School (11/24/07)
Willie was honored with the BMI American Icon award on December 6, 2007, in Nashville.  On hand were Kris Kristofferson, EmmyLou Harris, Jessica Simpson, Sheryl Crow, Nicole Kidman, Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill, and Willie’s families and friends, and fans.  CMT.com reports that Nelson’s Maui neighbor Kristofferson gave perhaps the most heartwarming tribute before he and Emmylou brought the house down with a duet on “Til I Can Gain Control.”  I hope somebody filmed that night, and I get to watch it sometime.
Willie was honored on 10/19/07 with the ‘Bridging Divides’ award, for his visionary aid to peaceful conflict resolution, at the Frank Erwin Center on the University of Texas campus. His children (except Lukas, away at school, I think) all sang ‘Peaceful Solution’ to their father, the song inspired and written by Willie and daughter Amy.
  Willie and Annie Nelson were presented with the Camp Casey Peace Award (4/5/07)
Ben and Jerry’s named a new flavor in honor of Willie: Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler, and are donating a portion of profits to Farm Aid.  Willie appeared on the Stephen Colbert Report, for a taste test of his flavor against Colbert’s Americone Dream flavor.  Ambassador Richardson was called in to mediate, and then everyone joined Willie for a lively ‘On the Road Again.’  The show is available for sale, on Best of the Colbert Report DVD.
  On November 1, 2007, Willie was honored with a Lifetime Achievement for Songwriter, by the American Music Association, at its 6th annual honors and awards, at the Ryman Theater, in Nashville.
  Willie Nelson, Larry Butler Johnny Gimble, & Cindy Walker were voted into the Central Texas Music Hall of Fame. The awards were presented on March 29th, at the Heart of Texas Coliseum, in Waco.  I think Willie was on tour, and could not attend in person.
Willie’s album, You Don’t Know Me:  The Songs of Cindy Walker, received a 2007 grammy nomination for Country Album of the Year   
    The Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute launched in April 2007, as a portal of inspiration for living peacefully in the world. The site has links and information about how others are finding ways to live in peace, and actions they are taking to end war in the world.  Also, through the site, Willie and Amy Nelson offered the song they wrote, ‘A Peaceful Solution,’ to any person to record and share at the site, and have posted the video tapes and recordings at the site for everyone to enjoy.
Willie made his peace song, “Whatever Happened To Peace On Earth” available for download and purchase, with proceeds going to benefit the National Veteran’s Foundation
   Willie joined his family members and others in speaking out against horse slaughter in the U.S., and encouraged passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.  Taking it even further, Willie adopted horses that were going to be killed, and is raising them on his ranch.
  In December, Willie donated $40,000 to the town of Vancouver, Washington, a town where he once worked as a disc jockey, and self-produced a record that he sold to fans, before moving to Nashville.
   Willie filmed a Public Service Announcement which aired in Georgia, against dog fighting, and seeking stronger anti-dogfighting laws and enforcement.
In March, Willie launched the Pednerales Record Label with nephew Freddy Fletcher, Producer James Stroud and manager Mark Rothbaum. and signed 40 Points, a band formed by sons Lukas and Micah.   
  On the cutting edge of technology, last summer Willie started offering live recordings of concerts on usb drive flash/memory sticks.  Fans could purchase the recording at the show and take it home with them after the show.  LiveWillie.com has the recordings available for purchase on their web site, for fans who didn’t get to go to the shows.    
Willie published the book, ’On the Biodiesel Road Again:  ‘Biodiesel and the Future of the Family Farm’   
  Willie wrote the forward for friend Johnny Bush’s book, ‘Whiskey River (Take My Mind)’
Willie filmed a music video for his song ‘You Dont’ Think I’m Funny Anymore,’, a nw song on his new album, Moment in Time.  On 10/17/07 Willie hosted a ’Bad Boy Lawnmower Race’ at his ranch in Austin, Texas, and invited family and friends to take part, including Jessica Simpson, Luke, Owen and Andrew Wilson, Dan Rather and Woody Harrelson.  The new album is scheduled to be released in early 2008, and the video will be released shortly after that.  
    In 2007 Willie parternerd with nephew Freddy Fletcher, Magic Johnson, and others in a new downtown Austin development.  Willie and Freddie have lent their advisement and financial supprot to a new venue for Austin City Limits and 2,200 seat performance/music hall.  
Willie called in to the Bill Mack xm Satellite Cowboy radio show, on Willie Wednesdays, talked with Bill and Cindy Truman and fans, told stories and kindly sang Happy Birthday about a million times, when asked.   
  • Last of the Breed, 2-CD set, with Ray Price and Merle Haggard
  • Moment in Time, produced by Kenney Chesney and Buddy Cannon to be released early 2008
  • ‘Always Seem to Get Things Wrong’, on Soundtrack to Ethan Hawke Movie, The Hottest State
  • Sings on Soundtrack to Wendell Baker Story
  • Sings on Soundtrack to Dylan Movie, I’m Not There
  • ‘I hear you Knocking’, on tribute album for Fats Domino, Goin’ Home album
  • co-wrote, ‘I’ve Got a Right to Dream’ with Mariah Carey, for her new movie, Tennessee
  • ‘If I Were a Carpenter,’ duet with Sheryl Crow on Anchored in Love tribute to June Carter Cash
  • ‘I give’, duet with Shawn King, on her album In My BackYard album
  • ‘One Paper Kid’, on EmmyLou Harris boxed set, Songbird
  • ‘Imagine,’ on Save Darfur, album of recorded songs by John Lennon
  • ‘Willie’s Song’, on John Anderson’s, Easy Money
  • ‘On the Road Again’, on Deanna Carter’s, The Chain
  • ‘Funny How Time Slips Away’ Duet with Linda Ronstad, on Simpson’s The Yellow Album
  • ‘On the Road Again,’ included on All Time Greatest Country Music Road Songs
  • Recording Academy of America,
  • narrated “Hidden Kitchens of Texas” radio show on National Public Radio.
 
  • Surfer Dude, starring Matthew McConaughey
  • Swing Vote, starring Kevin Kostner
  • Blonde Ambition, starring Jessica Simpson
  • Dukes of Hazzard: the Beginning released
  • Toby Keith reported he has written screenplay for his movie Beer for my Horses,, which includes a part for Willie (if his schedule allows)
  • appears in documentary Kiho ˜Alu (Loosen the Key) Keola Beamer, emmy award winning documentary on history and music of slack key guitar
  • featured in Daniel Lanois film, This is What Is
  • Fighting With Anger, filmed in Austin (not yet released)
  • The Unforseen, Robert Redford’s documentary about the environmental effect of development around Barton Springs, Texas
  • Glen Campbella’s Good Time Hour released
  • Colbert Report, (3/20/07)
  • David Letterman Show
  • TV Landa’s Tribute to Hee Haw (4/14/07)
  • Viva Las Vegas, about how Elvis Preseley re-invented Las Vegas
  • Opry Video Classics, Time Life DVD collection of classic broadcasts (Funny How TIme Slips Away, Night Life (1965))
  • The Journey, Kenny Rogers Story
  • Appeared in PBS show, Paul SImon:  The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song (6/27/07)
  • American Voices: A Conversation with Dan Rather and Willie Nelson, on HDNet
  • PBS Television Now series, presented Willie Nelson and Biodiesel Fuel (1/1/07)
  • The Ecoist, featuring environmental activists Willie Nelson, Darrell Hannah, Paul Newman, Robert Kennedy, Jr., aired on Sundance Channel’s, The Green, new primetime show focusing on environmental topics (4/17/07)

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