Support Texas in Need

February 21st, 2021

Chillie, Willie and Me! Support Our Fellow Texans In Need. #SnoVid-TX21

Willie Nelson on Sunday Today with Willie Geist

February 19th, 2021

Willie Nelson and Dwight Yoakam, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”

February 19th, 2021

February 18th, 2021

Folk Alliance Virtual Festival to support folk music artists (Feb. 22 – 26)

February 18th, 2021

Folk Alliance International Presents Folk Unlocked: A First-Ever Worldwide 800+ Hour Online Public Festival, Feb 22-26, 2021

Calling all folk music fans! Folk Alliance International (FAI) – the leading non-profit organization for folk musicians and folk music industry – invites lovers of folk music in its many forms to join Folk Unlocked, an unprecedented virtual festival taking place February 22-26; featuring over 800 hours of music from all fifty US states and over thirty additional countries.

In a time of social distancing, the Folk Unlocked virtual festival is a musical trip around the world that marks the launch of the Village Fund, FAI’s grants to struggling musicians and folk music workers during the COVID crisis. As a result of moving online due to the pandemic, the organization is providing unlimited public access to the music showcases for the first time in its history. Last week, Rolling Stone named FAI as one of the “organizations that have been doing some of the most crucial relief work during the pandemic.”

The five-day music event will feature “Spotlight” showcases curated by FAI’s music industry partners including BOSE, CIRCULART (Colombia), Culture Ireland, Music Ontario, Showcase Scotland, Sounds Australia, and many more. It also includes access to the independently produced “Unlocked” showcases by artists themselves or hosted by other presenters. The festival will close with an amazing Global Music Marathon highlighting artists paired with counterparts across the globe. All public performances will be interactive, meaning fans are welcome to join in the chat with artists and fellow fans. Once performed, showcases will remain available for a limited time for later viewing by attendees.

Highlights from the festival lineup include:

* The legendary Los Lobos
* GRAMMY-winning zydeco artist Terrance Simien in addition to his daughter, Memphis-based singer-songwriter Marcella Simien
* GRAMMY-nominated Mississippi bluesman Cedric Burnside, son of the legendary RL Burnside
* Winner of NBC’s The Voice and singer-songwriter Sawyer Fredericks
* GRAMMY-winner Keb Mo
* Songwriting icon Jim Lauderdale
* All-female mariachi band and Latin GRAMMY winners Flor de Toloache
* Stars of the documentary film 20 Feet From Stardom The McCrary Sisters, who “seize and hold the spotlight,” according to the New York Times
* Veteran of Newport Folk Festival and Americana Music Award nominee and AAA #1 hitmaker Jade Bird
* “Stately” Katie Pruitt, with “ballads and choruses to shatter glass” (Pitchfork)
* Americana Music Award Emerging Artist winners, the Nashville soul duo The War and Treaty
* North Carolina gospel family group Dedicated Men of Zion, fresh from their appearance on NPR Music x globalFEST.
* “Inspiring artist” (Ann Powers, NPR) Michaela Anne.
* Australian Independent Record Labels Association winner Emily Wurramara, a proud Indigenous performer from Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory.
* BBC Folk Awards nominee and Irish Music Magazine award winner Karan Casey.
* Irreverent cult favorite, the “talented” (NPR) Steve Poltz
* Canadian First Nations artist William Prince, who plays music from his ancestors in the gospel tradition.
* Brazilian artist Jacqueline Marissol Mwaba, who fuses a diversity of musical influences with the African cultural panorama, mainly with the music of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (original country of her parents).
* Experimental and electronic music from Aguascalientes-born artist ANAN, Natalia Gómez (composer, vocalist, instrumentalist) and Rafael Durand Kick (producer, arranger).
* AJ Haynes of Pitchfork, NPR Music, and Rolling Stone-hailed Louisiana band Seratones.

FAI’s executive director Aengus Finnan exclaimed “We’re thrilled with the depth and diversity of the musical lineup. This event won’t just be close to home, it will literally be in your home, but what is clear is that it is absolutely far from ordinary.”

Folk Unlocked has been called a festival of festivals, with artists from all fifty states in the U.S. as well as Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Guyana, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Wales are set to perform, over thirty countries in total.

Fans of folk music can attend the five-day event by making a minimum $25 donation to The Village Fund, which represents a 5% contribution towards each $500 grant FAI will provide in support of folk artists/entrepreneurs experiencing pandemic related financial hardship.

The festival is part of a simultaneous virtual conference that is not open to the public, and requires separate “pay-what-you-can” registration for folk musicians and members of the music industry. The five-day online convention hosts panels, workshops, speakers, an exhibit hall, and network meetings.


All – to learn more about the The Village Fund visit:

All – to view the full artist showcase lineup visit:

Fans – to attend the Festival fans can donate here:

Fans – to simply make a secure online donation to the fund visit:

Artists/Industry – to register for the conference (including access to all showcases) visit:

February 17th, 2021

This day in Willie Nelson history: Willie Nelson performs for soldiers @Brooke Army Medical Center (2/17/06)

February 17th, 2021

Staff and patients gather on three levels to watch Willie Nelson and his band perform Feb. 17 at Brooke Army Medical Center.  — Photo by Brian Guerra
by Nelia Schrum and Andricka Hammonds

When the 2006 San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo pulled up stakes Feb. 19, it left the wounded warriors recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center here and hospital staff with fond memories of Texas and cowboy hospitality.

Texas legend Willie Nelson and his family band treated the hospital to a concert in the Medical Mall Feb. 17, playing to a packed audience of staff and patients. Opening with his hit, “Whiskey River,” he sang signature ballads like “On the Road Again,” “Crazy” and “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.”

Nelson played for 90 minutes. Following his performance, he signed autographs and posed for pictures with patients and staff for another hour.

The Willie Nelson band played at BAMC in February 2005 performing 11 numbers. But Nelson had to cut his performance for the 2005 Stock Show and Rodeo because he was suffering from laryngitis.

“I wanted to come back again and play for the soldiers because I didn’t feel I had performed at my best last year,” Nelson said, adding his throat since has recovered.

Willie Nelson & Family headline Space Coast Seafood Festival (February 17, 2018)

February 17th, 2021

Willie Nelson and Family, with Los Lonely Boys, at Space Coast Seafood and Music Festival, in Viera, Florida, on February 17th.

Willie Nelson and Faron Young, “Funny How Time Slips Away”

February 16th, 2021

February 15th, 2021

Willie Nelson, The Red Headed Stranger

February 15th, 2021
by: Thomas Kintner

Read article here; see more photos, videos.

Musical revolutions typically are not long on subtlety. New directions are heralded by impactful moments, colorful gear shifts that reshape expectations with grandeur. Landmarks in every genre—rock to hip-hop to classical, Memphis to Liverpool to the Bronx to Vienna—reset standards with boldness and drama. True as that may be, every so often that pattern is upended by the rare sensation that demonstrates it is possible to be revolutionary by doing less, not least among them.

When the 1970s dawned, Nelson was a mid-tier country music performer who had transitioned to recording artist from Houston DJ with an all-world side hustle as a songwriter that yielded such standards as “Crazy” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.” His dissatisfaction with his recording path led him in 1972 to announce his retirement from making music, but it wouldn’t last—he soon negotiated an exit from his RCA deal to sign as the first country artist at Atlantic, which offered him the freedom to use his own band in recording rather than the session musicians RCA had mandated. He soon delivered 1973’s Shotgun Willie and the following year’s concept album Phases and Stages, each of which found Nelson stretching the boundaries of traditional country music with tastes of folk, jazz and blues. Sales were soft, but the records connected with younger listeners, and there clearly was something to what Nelson and like-minded artists, including Waylon Jennings, were doing.

Nelson hopped labels again, to Columbia, which offered even greater latitude, guaranteeing Nelson full control over his album content. Emboldened by the opportunity, Nelson took advantage with a record that immediately put his new label’s commitment to the test: 1975’s Red Headed Stranger.

Music history is rife with success stories that begin with labels not knowing what to make of a visionary project, but in the case of Red Headed Stranger, Columbia executives were not so much puzzled as unimpressed. To their ears, it sounded like Nelson had turned in little more than a demo, a minimalistic cowboy concept record for which there was little market. They resisted when Nelson stood firm, and only after some cajoling on the part of Jennings did the label relent and agree to release it, which they did in May 1975.

There is always fun to be had in mocking hapless executives who couldn’t recognize greatness, but the fact is Columbia was right to wonder who was going to buy the record they received, for which there was no obvious audience. As it would turn out, Red Headed Stranger created its own market on its way to becoming a classic and helping fuel a wave of what would come to be termed outlaw country.

Red Headed Stranger ties together Nelson compositions with material from diverse sources to develop an overarching narrative; it is a concept album, but also a story cycle. The title character believes his woman to be unfaithful, tracks and then shoots her and the man she’s with, then moves on with his wife’s horse in tow, later shooting another woman who touches it—and that’s just on side one.

Shepherded by Nelson’s gentle quaver, the album’s stories are spun with a directness that evokes simplicity, yet sport an undeniable sophistication in their design. Album opener “Time of the Preacher” starts as a slow-walking cowboy tune but soon evolves, setting the stage when Nelson’s sister Bobbie floats lightly decorative piano alongside his acoustic playing, with dollops of Mickey Raphael’s soft harmonica checking in to evoke the sound of a panther in the night. Soon after his accompanists are established, Nelson heads off in a different direction with understated jazz inflections, subtly adding cool shading to its deliberate gait.

The set’s overarching thematic aims are bolstered by tracks called back along the way. “Time of the Preacher” shows up twice more, first as a minute-long contemplation and later in a 30-second interlude that by then is akin to a high-concept grace note as side one nears its conclusion. It’s similar to the way the title track rolls out, first entwined with the darkness and sorrow of “Blue Rock Montana,” and two tracks later in a fuller presentation of the song at which Nelson had previously hinted, a stout cowboy jazz. “Red Headed Stranger” is a killing song told in a cool tonal flow with thoughtful embellishments, ala Bobbie Nelson’s late-arriving piano trickle that subtly enlivens its gait before evaporating just as quickly for the final verse and chorus.

Willie in 1976

Nelson’s even-keeled delivery is the constant to combine material that doesn’t necessarily belong anywhere near together otherwise, forging common ground in the easygoing bounce of “I Couldn’t Believe It Was True” and a silky rendition of Fred Rose’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” The latter is a mesmerizing reverie arranged with a remarkably light touch, including a jazz-flecked guitar interlude that softly ornaments its middle portions, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss it snippet of choral backup on exactly one line—“We’ll stroll hand in hand again”—that quietly highlights how effectively sparse is the rest of the song’s vocal. It would become a hit that helped drive the record’s commercial success, topping the Billboard country singles chart and reaching as high as #21 on the all-comers Hot 100 in 1975.

An album long on subtleties is inevitably altered by modern playback. In its original conception, the 19th-century hymn “Just As I Am” finishes side one, an elegant, accordion-trimmed waltz to drop the curtain on the first act. On a continuous playlist, it serves as one of two instrumentals (the other being harmonica-and piano-dolloped Mexican classic “O’er the Waves”) between which the story vignette “Denver” is sandwiched. Beyond erasing the obvious breather that comes from having to physically flip vinyl, putting everything in sequence blurs the border to what is a very different second side.

Side two is less obviously of a piece than its obverse—Nelson’s mastery of understated emphasis intertwines everything, but gone are the repeating motifs and callbacks from the early going. It’s a distinction without a difference in terms of quality, as there is plentiful allure in the old-timey spring of “Down Yonder,” with Bobbie Nelson’s piano adding insistence to an airy concoction while Raphael’s harmonica buzzes around its edges.

Sparse, smartly targeted production enlivens a version of Hank Cochran’s “Can I Sleep in Your Arms,” which opens with a slender Bee Spears bass line behind Nelson’s wistful vocal before adding flowing acoustic guitar and piano a minute later. A chorus employed economically emphasizes rich individual moments rather than ongoing depth, part of a gentle journey that gives way to another breezy harmonica float to the finish. Similarly restrained is the design of “Hands on the Wheel,” where adornments serve as accents to a delicate alloy of Nelson and his jazz guitar that quietly lends the material power and poise.

Hardly overdone but certainly more full-bodied than most of the record is “Remember Me (When the Candle Lights are Gleaming),” a toe-tapper that swings atop Paul English’s drum rattle. Nelson’s vocal is nearly playful alongside its supple, piano-prodded bounce, tied to but never carried away by its energy. It was an obvious choice as a single, and proved to be a good one, reaching #2 on the country chart in 1976 and climbing as high as #67 on the Hot 100.

The record closes in self-assured refinement with “Bandera,” a lovely coalescing of keening harmonica, a deliberate bass underbelly and Nelson’s comfortable acoustic jazz alongside sister Bobbie’s decorative piano, helping the record’s cowboy story ride off into the sunset in a mellow finale. It’s a cap to a remarkable journey, one that listeners proved avidly interested in taking despite the label’s initial reservations.

Red Headed Stranger was an enormous success and a lasting one, topping Billboard’s country album chart and climbing as high as #28 on the all-genres chart, and proving an evergreen success that would achieve sales of more than two million by 1986. It also helped define Nelson as an iconoclast comfortable on his own path, which he would follow in singular fashion for decades to come.

Watch Willie and Shania Twain duet on “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”

[Nelson turns 88 on April 29, 2021. His next studio albumThat’s Life, pays homage to Frank Sinatra.]

Willie Nelson’s ‘Red Headed Stranger’ & the Unlikely Birth of Outlaw Country | Best Classic Bands

February 15th, 2021

February 15th, 2021

“Valentine”, Willie Nelson

February 14th, 2021

Valentine won’t you be my Valentine
And introduce your heart to mine, and be my Valentine
Summertime, we could run and play like summertime
With storybooks and nursury rhymes so be my Valentine
Candy heart if anyone could you could have a candy heart
You’re the sweetest of all sweethearts won’t you give your heart to me
Can’t you see
I love you valentine won’t you be my Valentine
And won’t you share your space with mine and be my Valentine
[ guitar ]
Candy heart if anyone could if anyone could you could have a candy heart
You’re the sweetest of all sweethearts won’t you give your heart to me
Can’t you see
I love you valentine won’t you be my Valentine
And won’t you share your space with mine and be my Valentine

“Valentine,” — Willie Nelson

February 14th, 2021