2011 Was a Great Year to be a Willie Nelson Fan


Thank’s to Willie Nelson, for another fun-filled year of great music and inspiration.

I’m not saying 2011 didn’t have it’s share of sadness and sorrow. Losing Bee Spears was a hard blow, a friend and such an important part of the band, just too hard. Everyone you talk to has a Bee story, and hearing it (usually) makes you smile. Bee would hang out with fans, make them feel connected to the band. After he passed, I got so many e-mails from fans who had ran into Bee in the lobby after a show, and they’d go off and have a beer together. And e-mails from fans who went fishing with Bee. They’d meet up with him at a show, get to talking and before they knew it they were making plans to go fishing. I’ll bet Bee knew secret fishing holes all over the United States. He was a funny guy and he had a lot of friends, who miss him.

It was a great year to be a Willie Nelson fan in 2011 because Willie made it so much fun, with new albums, new songs, interesting collaborations and duets, a Fourth of July Picnic, spontaneous videos recorded on his bus, and constant touring so we can go and see his shows all over the country.

And Willie Nelson continues to inspire with his tireless work for family farmers, de-criminalize marijuana, and many other important causes he generously gives his time and attention to. He signed at every show were the fans could get close enough to him, and made so many people happy with autographs, hugs, kisses, photos. He keeps his fans close.

If all Willie Nelson did was tour and play music, that would keep him busy, but it’s only a small percentage of how he spends his time. Every December I spend hours and hours reading through the 365 days of posts from past year, and am amazed by what all Willie Nelson has done. And I know there is so much more he was up to in 2011, but here’s a few highlights of how Willie Nelson spent the year.

I have to thank all the fans who kindly share photos and stories, news clippings, anecdotes, hugs, hotels and gossip with me; your generosity is overwhelming, really. Most of you I have never met, but we share that love and appreciation for Willie Nelson & Family. Willie Nelson fans are the nicest people. Thank you all, and Happy New Year to everyone. I look forward to seeing you at a Willie Nelson & Family show in 2012!

Peace and love,

billboard Willie Nelson and Family entertained fans all over the country, with shows in over 40 states, including the popular 4-day run at the Fillmore in San Francisco, performances at large festivals like the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest, and the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival and other. They played, mountain ampitheaters, Atlantic City casinos, opera halls, Midwest State Fairs, California Vinyards, soccer fields, and tents. Besides their public appearances, the band also performed at private shows for special parties and fund raising events.
Willie Nelson became part of the Country Throwdown tour in the summer of 2012, with a package show including Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, Brantley Gilbert, Craig Campbell, Lee Brice, and Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. This nationwide country music tour kicks off in Philadelphia, PA on May 27 and runs through July 4. country
cake We got to celebrate Willie Nelson’s birthday with a concert at the Back Yard on April 30th. Willie lets us fans sing to him, while he cut a giant cake with trigger on it.
Willie Nelson invited fans to celebrate the Fourth of July again this year, in Texas. This year, the Picnic moved back to Billy Bob’s Texas, in the Stockyards of Fort Worth, on two stages; one outside and one inside their air-conditioned theater. The artists from the Country Throwdown Tour performed, as well as other picnic favorites like Billy Joe Shaver, and Ray Price, and others. picnic
nye Willie Nelson fans got to spend New Year’s Eve with Willie Nelson & Family and Friends in Austin, Texas, at the Moody Theater, at Austin City Live. It was an all star cast, with Ray Price, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Micah Nelson, Amy Nelson, Susie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Kimmie Rhodes, Billy Gibbons, and more. Gourds also performed Saturday night. A party!
Willie Nelson picked some of his favorite country music songs, and recorded them for his new album, “Remember Me, Vol. I”. In addition to Ernest Tubb’s ‘Remember Me’, Willie singsSixteen Tons’ (Tennessee Ernie Ford); ‘Why Baby Why’ (George Jones,), ‘Today I Started Loving You Again’ (Merle Haggard,) and 11 more country favorites. Volume II will reportedly be released in 2012. remember me
ray Blue Note Records released, ‘Here We Go Again: Celebrating Genius of Ray Charles” a live recording of Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis and Nora Jones from a concert in New York City in 2009. ert, billed as “Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles,included “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” “Cryin’ Time,” “Hit the Road Jack,” “Busted,” “Makin’ Whoopie” and “What’d I Say.”
Willie Nelson was featured in Icon Series, released by Universal Music, a collection of some really great Willie Nelson hits: “Mendocino County Line” duet with Lee Ann Womack , “Night Life” from Milk Cow Blue, “My Own Peculiar Way” , Teatro, “The Harder They Come,” from Teatro, “On the Road Again” and “Crazy” featuring Diana Krall and Elvis Costello. icon
gospel1 CD Universe released a collection of 14 of Willie Nelson’s gospel songs, all of them recorded in the 1970s, and nine of the cuts were from his 1976 gospel album, ‘The Troublemaker,’ Songs included, ‘Family Bible; In God’s Eyes, Kneel at the Feet of Jesus, Uncloudy Day, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, In the Garden, There is a Fountain, Will the Circle be Unbroken, Precious Memories, Where the Soul Never Dies, Sweet Buy and Buy, Shall We Gather, I Saw the Light, and Amazing Grace
Willie Nelson fan and Filmmaker Jesse Peretz chose several Willie Nelson songs to include in the soundtrack to the movie, “Our Idiot Brother”. Willie Nelson’s, “Midnight Rider”, ““Wonderful Future”, and “Ole Blue” are included on the album, along with songs by The JayHawks, Nathan Larson, Eric B. Johnson, Carol King, and more. idiot
bridge Willie Nelson’s performance at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit Concert was included on the 25th Anniversary Album. Willie Nelson was also included on other compilations including Willie’s music, was the latest release by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and the Grand Ole Opry, Lost Highway Records 10th Anniversary Sampler,lie Nelson is featured in the tribute to Woody Guthrie by John McCutcheon, “This Land: Woody Guthrie’s America” , and he sings on the all-star version of “This Land Is Your Land.”
Willie collaborated on many albums by other artists. This year he was featured on new albums by Amos Lee, Lionel Richie, Randy Travis, Leon Russell, The Blind Boys of Alabama, the Dirt Drifters, and Merle Haggard. Willie joined other artists in a tribute to Guy Clark (This One’s For Him”), and also on an album to honor Sarah Hickman, this year’s Texas State Musician of the Year, and on the Woody Guthrie Tribute Album, on “This Land is Your Land”. amos lee
waco Billy Joe Shaver and Willie Nelson collaborated on a new song, ”Wacko From Waco”, about Billy Joe Shaver’s arrest for firing on a man outside a bar in March 2007. Willie wrote another song about Billy Joe, called, “Hero”, and released a video of him singing the recorded on his bus.Willie also wrote a new gospel song, “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die”, which is rumored to be included on a new album in 2012.
Willie Nelson and fellow Farm Aid Board members Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews celebrated the 26th Farm Aid concert in Kansas City, Kansas, at the LiveStrong Major League Soccer Field, on August 13, 2011. Park. Each of the board members performed, and were joined by dozens of artists, including Jakob Dylan, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Price, and more, and helped raise well needed funds for the support of family farmers. This was the first time the concert has been held in Kansas.
fire Willie Nelson used his famous voice to speak out in support of many causes in 2011. He joined other Texans to play at the Texas Fire Benefit, to assist his Texas neighbors who lost homes to fires last summer. Willie Nelson, the Dixie Chicks, Asleep at the Wheel, Eric Johnson, Lloyd Maines and Terri Hendrix were among the musicians that came together Monday night at the Erwin Center for Fire Relief: The Concert for Central Texas.George Strait, Lyle Lovette, and the Dixie Chicks were among the other artists who performed to help raise funds for the fire victims.
Willie Nelson performed at the “Kokua for Japan” fundraiser in Honolulu, with proceeds going to support victims of the Japanese hurricane victims; at a Superbowl-eve charity concert to benefit the SPCA of Texas, in Dallas, and at the Barrett-Jackson Childhelp benefit in Scottsdale, Arizona. Willie Nelson also and spoke in support of an Ohio House bill that would remove canine profiling from Ohio’s laws. Willie freely gave his signature hundreds of times on guitars, banjos, motor cycles, photographs, bottles of wine, and anything offered, which were then sold and helped to raise funds for good causes. kokos
Willie Nelson and family members recorded a beautiful version of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses,” with proceeds designated to protecting wild and domestic horses. The track is available on the Animal Welfare Institute website, as well as iTunes.
Willie Nelson recorded the Coldplay song, ‘The Scientist’ on an animated short film produced by the Chipolte Mexican Grill. The film “Back to the Start” depicts a farmer’s journey to sustainable farming. chipolte
annie Willie and Annie Nelsonshared their recorded their reading of a poem they wrote in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement around the world. Their video in support of the 99%, is available for viewing on youtube.
Willie was honored by Vermont with it’s Free Spirit Award, presented by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. The award was given to Nelson “in honor of your tireless support of our nation’s family farmers, and in honor of the genuine, inspiring spirit of freedom with which you live your life and create your music.” The plaque said the award was presented “on behalf of the people of our independent state, WBKM Radio, The Farm Aid Vermont Committee and United States Senator Bernie Sanders.” . spirit award
sba The Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and the Amazon Watch presented Willie Nelson with the 2011 Visionary Award. Each year the SBA honors an individual or an organization for championing the cause of the environment, and this year that was Willie Nelson, for his continued support of environmental and social cause through his work, his music and his life.
Willie Nelson received the 2012 Stephen Bruton Award from the Lone Star Film Festival. For the past three years, the festival has given out the Stephen Bruton Award to a musician who has had a major impact on film. Kris Kristofferson and T. Bone Burnett were awarded the first two, and Willie Nelson is this year’s honoree. lonestar
agg Willie Nelson was inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame. He received the honor during the Press Conference before the Farm Aid concert in Kansas City. He is one of only 38 who have been inducted into the National Agricultural Hall of Fame, along with John Deere, George Washington Carver, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert Dole, among others. He is the first to be inducted into the Ag Hall of Fame since 2006.Representatives of the National Agricultural Hall of Fame with Willie Nelson after recognizing him as the 39th inductee into the Hall of Fame for his 26 years of support for the family farmer. Congrats Willie!
Willie Nelson appeared as the first guest on the Marty Stuart Show, which will air on January 8, 2011, on RFD-TV. Willie reunites and sings with Connie Smith on the show. He also appeared on David Letterman, with Snoop Dogg, and then again with Wynton Marsalis and Nora Jones, singing stuart
truck The Willie Nelson & Family’s show in Midway, Missouri, was featured in a version of The Travel Channel’s show about truck stops.
Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson, were featured in a special Father’s Day special on NBC, ‘Like Father, Like Son” , with an interview with Willie and Lukas. nbc
Willie Nelson performed at the Kennedy Center event in Washington DC, honoring Merle Haggard. Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, Jamie Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Raphael and others pay tribute to Merle Haggard and sang, “Ramblin Fever”. The show was broadcast on television. kennedy
king Billy Bob Thornton’s documentary about Willie Nelson, ‘The King of Luck’, premiered during the SWSW film festival.
Willie Nelson and Patrick Simmons had a cameo appearances in ‘Get a Job’ starring Willie K, in the roll of Wedding ingers. job
peter-max Willie Nelson acted in the movie adaption of Turk Pipkin’s book, “When Angels Sing ”. The story is about a man, played by Harry Connick, Jr., who has a spiritual epiphany during the Christmas season. Filming took place in Texas.
Shout! Factory released a DVD of “Willie Nelson Live At The US Festival” of Willie Nelson’s performance at the June 1983 concert . live us fest
Willie created more videos for his fans enjoyment, giving weather reports, acting in an opera with sister Bobbie and a silent film featuring David Anderson.Willie Nelson remained on cutting edge of recording technology, offering USB drive recordings of his snows from his website, and musical downloads of concerts
Willie Nelson continues to offer USB drives of recordings of the concerts available for purchase at the show, or to order later. A few years ago they were shaped like bracelets, but this year they are inside key chains shaped like Trigger. usb
Willie Nelson was honored with sculupture of his likeness, with his guitar, which will be placed outside the Austin City Limits, in Austin. Luck Films released a video of the making of the statue. sculpture
ronsweeney Willie Nelson’s image will grace another mural in Austin. Artist Ron Sweeney’s painting will be on display at a new Austin nightclub, a sister of Nashville’s “Legends.” The most prominent piece of art will be a 13-foot picture of Willie Nelson’s guitar.

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