2008 Was a Fantastic Year to be a Willie Nelson fan

Farm Aid, 2009, Mansfield, Mass.

My sister sends out long, newsy Christmas letters every year. I tried it once but didn’t need that much room, so I sent postcards: “My cat died. I got a new cat”. I think it just confused and depressed people who got them, so that ended that. But can you imagine the holiday letter Willie Nelson could write?

So, get a cup of coffee, or whatever you’re drinking, smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em, and read some of how Willie Nelson spent 2008. This is an incomplete accounting, of course, and as always, all errors and omissions are mine, and mine alone.

Thanks to everyone who visits the blog, your kind words and sharing the way you do — Willie Nelson fans are so generous. And Happy New Year! I hope to see you at a Willie Nelson concert soon.

And thanks so much to Willie Nelson, for who he is, and all he does. And to Willie Nelson & Family, for all their great shows and music this year.

Love, Linda

Willie Nelson and Family toured the United States extensively and also played shows in Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, Scotland, and France. He played rodeos, casinos, giant festivals, small honky-tonks, state fairs, giant amphitheaters, and the final concert at the BackYard in Austin, and the 2008 Tyson Food Employee Picnic, a private party at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Fundraisers and with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the SuperBowl TailGate Party.Over the year, he was joined on tour or on stage with Billy Bob Thornton, Wynton Marsalis, Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Sarah Evans, Flaco Jimenez, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kenny Chesney, B. B. King, Kirt Nilson, Snoop Dogg and President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, and many others.
Willie brought his travelling picnic back to Texas this year, and started the celebration with a Free Concert at Willie’s Theater, at Carl’s Corner, with concert goers asked to make a donation to the Freddy Powers Parkinson Foundation. Then he moved his annual Fourth of July Picnic to Selma, Texas, and finished up with a Fifth of July Concert in Houston. Dozens of artists and groups joined Willie Nelson and Family for his shows, and it was like a traveling Picnic.
Willie released ‘One Hell of a Ride, a 4-CD Boxed Set, with over 100 songs recorded by Willie Nelson over the past 50 years, from 1954/55 to 2007

“Moment of Forever” produced by Kenney Chesney and Buddy

Two Men With the Blues,’ recorded from concerts by Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis and his band, and, and Mickey Raphael in New York City in 2007.

“Stardust” 30th Anniversary

‘Red Headed Stranger’ re-released on vinyl
Willie Nelson and Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel recorded traditional western swing songs made famous by Bob Wills and other, with a release date of ‘Willie and the Wheel’ set for Spring of 2009, and a tour to follow.
Willie collaborated on recordings with Mariah carey, who invited Willie to write a song for her new movie, ‘Tennessee,’ and he plays guitar on the song, “Right to Dream,’ on the soundtrack; he sings with Kenney Chesney on title song to Kenney’s album, ‘Lucky Ole Sun,’ joins Ray Price on singing with Johnny Bush on his soon-to-be-released, “Young at Heart,’ album; records with Melonie Cannon, sings ‘What a Difference a Day Makes’ on the Don Imus Ranch Record, to benefit camp for children with cancer; has a song on soundtrack of the movie, “W”, records with Dave Mason on his new album, has a song on the Guitar Hero game soundtrack, and on ‘Boots, Buckles & Sprus, tribute to National Finals Rodeo’s 50th year; on King of Hill cd, with the reunited Pretenders on their new cd ‘Break Up the Concrete’ and many more.  

Willie Nelson starred in the movie Surfer Dude, with Matthew McConaghy and Woody Harrelson.

Willie Nelson appeared in the
Kevin Costner, Movie Swing Vote .
Willie appeared in ‘Beer for My Horses,’ movie with Toby Keith, Rodney Carrington, based on song written by Toby Keith and recorded by Willie and Toby. Fighting With Anger released
Willie appeared on television on the Ellen deGenerous Show, Today Show, Tonight Show, David Letterman, Stephen Colbert Willie continued to call in to the Bill Mack Open Road xm satellite show on Wednesdays, whenever he could, and lends his name to Willie’s Place, on xm Radio

Willie joined Stephen Colbert, John Stewart, Toby Keith, Feist, Elvis Costello on Comedy Central’s, ‘A Colbert Christmas’.
Willie Nelson taped a promo for Snoop Dogg’s reality television show, ‘Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood’. When Willie was in Amsterdam last April, Snoop Dogg came on stage at the Willie Nelson and Family Concert, and the next night, Willie went on stage at Snoop Dogg’s show and performed. Fans went crazy at both shows, of course. While there, Willie taped a music video with Snoop for his song, ‘My Medicine.”
Texas Author Joe Nick Patoski took his admiration and knowledge of Willie Nelson and wrote a 500 page biography about him in 2008.

Willie collaborated With Mike Blakely on the Western novel, ‘A Tale Out Of Luck’

Author Robert K. Oermann included a chapter about Willie in his book, “Behind the Grand Ole Opry Curtain
Willie contributed an essay to Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book, ‘One Can Make a Difference,’ along with essays written by The Dalai Lama, Sir Paul McCartney, Dennis Kucinich, and 46 others. Willie joined George Jones, Charlie Daniels, Lynn Anderson and other artists, and contributed stories and pictures about horses, for Lisa Wysocky’s book ‘Horse Country: A Celebration of Country Music and and the Love of Horses.’
Willie Nelson and Ray Price, receive an grammy for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
Willie was inducted into the Texas Musician’s Hall of Fame in Clifton Texas. Also inducted: Steve Fromholz, Hank Thompson, Janis Joplin, and others

The November Rolling Stone named Willie Nelson as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of all times
Texas Monthly’s May 2008 issue with Willie Nelson on the cover was winner of Best Celebrity Cover in best-covers contest organized by the American Society of Magazine Editors. Willie Nelson was featured on the cover of many magazines, and many articles and interviews were published about him, including Hightimes; Texas Music Magazine, Texas Coop Power, Cowboys and Indians, Envy, Texas Monthly, and many more.
Willie continued in his leadership roll with Farm Aid, personally delivering checks to farmers effected by natural disasters, and headlining the annual Farm Aid Concert, (now in it’s 23rd year of supporting and raising funds for farmers) held for the first time in the Northeast, in Mansfield, Mass.
Willie Nelson and Family performed at a fundraising reception and concert at Leipers Farm, Tennessee, to benefit the Spears Foundationfor Hepatitis C. Awareness.
Willie performed at the Lance Armstrong LiveStrong Fundraiser, Austin.
Willie continued his support for Habitat for Horses, and rescued many which he freed on his Austin ranch. Also, he joined friend and country singer Lacy Dalton, in a fight to preserve wild herds roaming in Nevada.Willie Nelson and Family performed a fundraising concert in Red Lodge, Montana, to benefit PLUK – Parents Let’s Unite for Kids.Willie Nelson and Family sold-out show at the Norva, in Norfolk, Virginia, was broadcast live to military units in Iraq and Afghanistan.Willie Nelson and Family performed at a fundraising concert at Carl’s Corner, to benefit the Freddy Powers Parkinson’s Foundation. 13 Scholarships were given out by the Abbott Methodist Church, which were partially funded by proceeds from sale of dvd of Willie and Bobbie Nelson’s service at Church recorded in 2006. In 2008, silver coins of Bobbie and Willie was minted, with proceeds going to fund more scholarships for local students. Willie donated a decorated wooden paper doll to benefit Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.Willie signed many guitars to be sold at auctions to raise funds, including one signed for one of Kinky Friedman’s favorite causes, Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, which finds homes for abandoned or abused animals, and one signed by Willie Nelson and Charlie Daniels, to be sold to benefit Veterans.
Willie joined with Wataire International and launched Willie Nelson’s Water From Air, distribute machines that produce pure drinking water from the air

Willie Nelson turned 75 this year, and he celebrated on the road, in Europe, where he was on tour. While fans would have loved a giant birthday party to which we were all invited, his being away didn’t dampen the celebrations. Fans celebrated for weeks, or in the case of the Austin Chronicle, for a month. News paper articles, magazine covers, books, fundraising concerts were held, to raise money for good causes, in his honor. Fans in Brooklyn had a birthday barbeque, and Beanie’s had her annual office Willie Nelson birthday party in Minnesota. There was a concert in Austin, which brought daughter Paula, Joe Ely, Patty Griffin, Bob Schneider, Alejandro Escovedo, Ray Benson, Ruthie Foster, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Fastball, Jimmy LaFave, and more to sing and celebrate. Legacy Records produced 15 podcasts as a tribute to Willie, that you could download for free.
Willie Nelson was not an official candidate for President, however there were many who still think he would have been a good choice. A Website launched promoting his campaign, or at least trying to sell Willie Nelson for President tee-shirts, and I read that he did get several write-in votes across the country. Willie sent a letter to President-Elect Obama, on behalf of Farm Aid and in support for farmers.


Leave a Reply