October 19th, 2019

I just love this photo.

Country Music: Willie Nelson (October 1980)

October 19th, 2019

by Bob Allen

After national exposure in a film with Robert Redford, and more recently, in a starring role of his own in Honeysuckle Rose, the quiet days are gone forever for the Red Headed Stranger… but who’s complaining?

Several months from now after the picture of Willie Nelson sitting on a wooden fence in front of a pastoral Texas outdoor scene has appeared as part of the promotional campaign for his recently released feature film, Honeysuckle Rose, only a few people will know where it was really taken: in the parking lot of a non-descript beachfront motel in the suburban outskirts of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

But that is the reason why Willie is perched on a small “portable” Hollywood facsimile of a wooden fence on a patch of grass next to a busy dual-lane thoroughfare, in front of a Best Western Motel in this rather early, but very hot Sunday morning in Southern Florida.

The theory is that Willie Nelson doesn’t have time right now, in the middle of a tour, to come to Hollywood for this photo, so instead, Hollywood has come to him: A contingent of photographers and executives have flown in the night before and brought with them the pieces of the ready-to-assemble fence on which Willie is sitting. Later, back on the West Coast, through the wonders of modern photography, the photo of Willie will be touched up slightly; a bucolic scene of hay bales, moo-cows, horses and cowboys and cowgirls will be superimposed over what is now mere asphalt and parked cars. More fence will be stripped in, until it looks like that one little section on which he’s sitting stretches all the way to the Texarkana border.

Even though it’s only about 10:00 a.m., a small crowd quickly gathers. Cars that pass on the busy street honk their horns and the drivers lean precariously out with huge smiles on their faces, giving ol’ Willie the universal power sign of the raised fist.

“Hhhheeeeyyyy Willieeee!!!!!”

Willie smiles quietly at them and returns their acknowledgements with his own clenched and raised fist. It’s obvious he doesn’t mind being recognized like this. In fact, he seems to rather enjoy it.

But still, there’s something slightly incongruous about it all:Â dear old Willie, his slender, well-carried frame perched with a Best Western Motel behind him, cars whizzing by in front of him, and the hot Florida sun beating down causing beads of sweat to form on his brow, and under his freshly pressed cowboy shirt he’s wearing, while his air-conditioned tour bus sits idling a few yards away, ready to whisk him off to his next show, clean across the state in St. Petersburg on the Gulf Coast.

Perspiration is also forming in the brows of the two young photographers. One of them appears to b uneasy about something. His camera stops clicking. He looks up at the sun, then looks at the ground and then looks at Willie. He is not happy with Willie’s tennis shoes.

“I think you should have boots on,” he decides after a long pregnant pause.

Willie, whose movements are slow and deliberate anyhow, looks down from his perch at the ground, then looks up at the sun. His eyes narrow into slits and he locks the photographer in a scowl that would send Charles Bronson running for cover.

“What makes ya think that?” he asks ever so softly.

The photographer backs off, throws up his hands in a conciliatory jester, “Well, it’s uh… it’s fine with me… It’s great…. if you’re comfortable with the image.”

“I am.”

Far from ever being replaced by cowboy boots, Willie Nelson’s blue sneakers will probably some day be set in bronze. Because here lately, travelling the road with him, one gets the distinct impression that the whole world is now waiting to embrace him just the way he is — blue jogging shoes and all. To steal an applicable phrase from the late John F. Kennedy, the quiet days are gone forever. When Willie’s on the road anymore, it’s nothing like the tours of earlier years when he could check into a hotel under his own name, and walk around outside the club before the show to kill time. Nowadays, as soon as he signs him name to a room service tab, it’s all over. Word spreads through the hotel that he’s cloistered away on the grounds and a quiet, hushed excitement spreads through the lobby.

And funny things happen. Like the time on an earlier date of this particular swing through the Southeast when Willie happened to check into the same motel where two busloads of kids from a high school marching band were staying. the students and their instructors got word from the hotel management that Willie was on the premises, and then proceeded to roll out their instruments on the front lawn and play a command performance just for him. Willie was so amused and delighted by it all that he returned the favor by sticking around to pose for snapshots and sign autographs.

Things like that just seem to happen to Willie everywhere he goes these days: give him the key to his city. (He was recently presented the key to one good-sized Southern metropolis by the mayor, only to later pass it on — with equal formality — to the nine-year-old sister of one of his soundmen who had come to see his show.) People line up to get their photos snapped with him and offer him the use of their houses for the weekend. During his stay at the beachside motel in Fort Lauderdale, a large speedboat called the “Hot Lick” was quitely placed at the disposal of Willie and his travelling Family. Several times when he set off to take his daily run down the beach, he was waylaid by well intentioned fans bearing joints and cold cans of beer.

Except for some weird scenes in the parking lot — where crowds inevitably gather around the four tour buses that haul Willie’s Family around the country as soon as they pull in — and backstage, where the “lunatic fringe” sometimes congregate. Much of the adulation for Nelson still remains more of a reasonably calm veneration than a dangerously heated frenzy.

Nelson’s own appraisal of his new role as a latter-day cultural hero is amazingly realistic — almost self-effacing. “It’s a big responsibility to know that maybe just one person might be influenced just a little bit by what I do,” he told me in his usual soft speaking voice one afternoon sitting in his tour bus as it carried him and his band through the suburbs of Fort Lauderdale on the way to a one-nighter at an auditorium in a town somewhere out near the Florida Everglades. “But to think there might be thousands is a little bit scary… especially when I don’t consider myself as that much of someone to pattern their lives after… But,” he adds. “I feel like I’ve made all the mistakes and I hope I’ve learned from them.”

An objective look at the present state of Willie Nelson’s nearly three-decade-long musical career indicates that he’s not only learned from the errors of his ways, but he’s in fact, gone a step further and turned them all into triumphs. For at least the last three years some journalists have been sublety predicting that his career was bound to peak any second now, and that it would be all downhill form there. But, the fact is, it just seems to be gaining more and more momentum — almost by the day.

In fact, throughout Willie’s entire organization, there is a strange new feeling during this late Spring tour. It is a feeling that things had reached a new level that everyone involved is just learning how to deal with. Security is tighter and the whereabouts of Willie at any given time is a well-kept secret. (Some members of his crew even wear t-shirts insisting, “I DON’T KNOW WHERE WILLIE IS!”)

Calculated strategies now have to be developed to get Willie swiftly through the choking backstage crowds and into his bus after the show. there seems to be shades of Elvis Presley everywhere, there are now hulking security men who keep watch over him from the shadows in back of the stage, all through his performances.

The point is, things have changed. Members of the band now find themselves being chased through hotel lobbies by teenage girls, and inside the auditoriums during the shows, there is a tense, restless electricity that just wasn’t there a couple of years ago.

“Goin’ out and openin’ for Willie on a show sure ain’t the easiest thing in the world,” singer/songwriter/comedian Don Bowman, a long-time Willie Nelson sidekick signs as he sits in the air-conditioned comfort of his hotel suite complete with a picture window over-looking the ocean, the morning after one such concert in West Palm Beach. “This tour’s been the wildest of all. It’s like…the crowds… Well, you saw ’em last night, up standin’ on the chairs before he even hit the stage.. The only thing there is to compare it to is Elvis.”

The electricity of his live shows, though, is merely the more obvious evidence of the fact that Willie Willie Nelson is in high gear, and clearly on his way to becoming a household word. He’s walked away with both the Country Music Association’s and the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year awards in recent months, and he’s selling more records than ever before. All of his recent albums, including Willie and Family Life, Willie Nelson Sings Kristofferson and One For the Road (with Leon Russell) have reached either gold or platinum (million sales) status. His two most recent, San Antonio Rose (with Ray Price) and the soundtrack from Honeysuckle Rose, both headed right for the top of the country charts. During the mid-summer of this year, he had six different albums simultaneously in the charts.

Farm to School

October 19th, 2019
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Support Farm to School

www.FarmAid.org

There’s no better time than Farm to School Month to paper Congress with messages of support for farm to school! Paper plates, that is.

Yesterday, our friends at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition descended on Capitol Hill to deliver hand-decorated paper plates thatwere crafted at our Take Action with Farm Aid booth last month at Farm Aid 2019. The message was simple: we need a new Child Nutrition Act that bolsters support for farm to school programs.SEE HOW WE DESCENDED ON CAPITOL HILL

Farm to school programs are expanding across the country. These programs, of all shapes and sizes, are producing tangible benefits for kids, farmers and communities nationwide. But we still have a long way to go – only 42% of U.S. schools are participating in these programs. We need to keep moving in a positive direction so that every child in America, and every farmer looking to tap into school markets, can benefit.

Unfortunately, the current Child Nutrition Act – the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – expired in 2015, leaving a wide span of programs that support school meals, child and infant food security and farm to school programs in limbo. But a new Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization is on the way, which brings a major opportunity to ensure that every child has access to local, farm-fresh food and that innovative projects like school gardens are supported in schools all across the country.

Take Action with Farm Aid today!Tell Congress to pass a Child Nutrition Reauthorization that increases support for farm to school programs nationwide.HELP BRING FARM-FRESH FOOD TO EVERY SCHOOL IN AMERICA!

Whether you’re a farmer, student, parent, school food administrator, teacher or activist, there’s a way for you to get involved with farm to school activities. These Farm to School Rockstars demonstrate that there’s a role for everyone: Jason Grimm, Iowa’s Tireless Farm to School Architect; Jane Hirschi, Boston’s School Garden Crusader; Betti Wiggins, Detroit’s Rebel Lunch Lady; and Alexandra Willcox, Collegiate Champion of Real Food.

And take some time to explore Farm to School Rocks!,Farm Aid’s Farm to School Toolkit, to get inspired and take easy steps to start farm to school programs near you!?CHECK OUT HOW FARM TO SCHOOL ROCKS

October 18th, 2019
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Willie Nelson & Family in Vegas (Oct 18 – Oct 26)

October 18th, 2019

Thank you, Janis from Texas, for sending poster pics from Willie Nelson & Family’s shows in Las Vegas.

October 18th, 2019

Willie Nelson & Family, Floores Country Store (October 17, 18, 2014) (Helotes, TX)

October 17th, 2019
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Oct 17, 18, 2014
Floore’s Country Store
14492 Old Bandera Road
Helotes, TX

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floores4

Willie Nelson & Family, “There’s Nothing I Can Do About it Now”

October 17th, 2019

Willie Nelson & Family on Tour

October 17th, 2019

www.WillieNelson.com

October 18, 19, 22, 23, 25, 26
The Venetian
Las Vegas, Nevada
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November 15
Billy Bob’s Texas
Fort  Worth,  TX
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November 16
Golden Nugget Casino
Lake  Charles,  LA
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November 18
Smart  Financial Center
Sugar Land,  TX
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November 19
The  Grand 1894 Opera House
Galveston,  TX
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November 22
IP Casino Resort & Spa
Biloxi,  MS
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November 23
Riverdome at Horseshoe Casino
Bossier City,  LA
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November 25, 26
The Majestic Theater
San  Antonio,  TX
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November 29
Winstar World  Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK
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April  25, 2020
Kroger Field
Chris Stapleton’s Concert for Kentucky
with Sheryl  Crow, Yola, & more
Lexington,  KY

Willie Nelson, “Ride Me Back Home” Bundle

October 17th, 2019

www.WillieNelson.com

GET YOURS HERE

This bundle, exclusive to the Willie Nelson Official Store, includes a shirt, Ride Me Back Home LP, 11″x17″ art print, and a deck of playing cards.

Willie Nelson returns with another incredible addition to his legendary catalog. Once again working with longtime producer Buddy Cannon, Willie’s Ride Me Back Home sits beside 2017’s God’s Problem Child and 2018’s Last Man Standing as a trilogy of superior song craft exploring ideas of mortality with wisdom, empathy and a winking love of life. Nelson and Cannon co-wrote a handful of songs but go deep into their favorite songsmiths, great writers with great stories to tell: Sonny Throck-Morton, Guy Clark, Mac Davis, Buzz Rabin. The result is a magical collection of tunes with emphasis on the lyric. Backed by an amazing band of Nashville gunslingers, Ride Me Back Home finds Willie Nelson making some of the most inspired work of his career.

Side A

  1. Ride Me Back Home
  2. Come On Time
  3. My Favorite Picture Of You
  4. Seven Year Itch
  5. Immigrant Eyes
  6. Stay Away From Lonely Places

Side B

  1. Just The Way You Are
  2. One More Song To Write
  3. Nobody’s Listening
  4. It’s Hard To Be Humble (with Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson)
  5. Maybe I Should’ve Been Listening

Willie’s Reserve’s promise

October 16th, 2019

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, in Roanoke, VA (October 16, 2015)

October 16th, 2019
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On October 16, 2015, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard performed together at the Berglund Center Coliseum in Roanoke, VA.

October 15th, 2019

Micah Nelson, Farm Aid 2019

October 15th, 2019

Willie Nelson & Family at the Big Fresno Fair (October 14, 2019)

October 15th, 2019
Country music legend Willie Nelson, wearing a Fresno State t-shirt, performs to a sell out crowd at the Paul Paul Theater during the last night of the Big Fresno Fair, Monday night, Oct. 14, 2019.
Country music legend Willie Nelson and band perform to a sell out crowd at the Paul Paul Theater during the last night of the Big Fresno Fair, Monday night, Oct. 14, 2019.

1 Country music legend Willie Nelson, wearing a Fresno State t-shirt, performs to a sell out crowd at the Paul Paul Theater during the last night of the Big Fresno Fair, Monday night, Oct. 14, 2019. (John Walker)

www.fresnobee.com
by: Joshua Tehee

Willie Nelson offered a history lesson during his concert Monday on the closing night of The Big Fresno Fair.

At 86 years old, the country music icon has been performing since the late 1950s. So, most of his catalog for the night, except 2003’s Toby Keith duet “Beer for My Horses,” was written at least 40 years ago.

Then he dipped into some Hank Williams covers. “Move it On Over” was first recorded in 1947.
Read more here: https://www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/fresno-beehive/article235466092.html#storylink=cpy

The hour-long concert was a reminder of a time before pop stars and arena tours when the power of performance wasn’t set by stage production, light design or backing track, but by how well the players on stage could deliver a song.

Read rest of article here.