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Thanks to Stewart Patton for having a picture of this illustration of him and Willie Nelson, by Noah Van Sciver. Stewart has an amazing collection of illustrations, he asks his favorite illustrators to draw Willie Nelson. I love this one.
On February 26, 2006, Willie Nelson rode in the Krewe of Bacchus Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans as Grand Marshall. Willie Nelson and Family performed that night at the Bacchus Ball.
Photograph by Ian Gittler / Used With Permission
- The Nearness of You
- Fly Me to the Moon
- Come Rain or Come Shine
- If I Had You (with Diana Krall)
- Ain’t Misbehaving
- I Miss You So
- Because of You
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside (with Norah Jones)
- Angel Eyes
- On the Street Where You Live
- Since I Fell For You
- You Were Always on My Mind
Photographer Michael Vujovich shared pictures from the Music Festival at at Chillocothe, IL last weekend at his Flickr account.
“While I am more of a passive than an active Willie fan, I will have to say for my first Willie show, it was impressive. I didn’t realize how much guitar playing Willie actually does. He was blasting out solos and shredding riffs on that small guitar.”
See more pictures of Willie, and all his great photos from the festival at:
“There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson” ( Austin City Limits Hall of Fame PBS 2015)February 26th, 2015
Austin City Limits celebrates 40 years on television with a grand finale featuring musical highlights and inductions from the first-ever Austin City Limits Hall of Fame presentation. Hosted by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, this never-before-broadcast special showcases outstanding performances and collaborations from the ACL Hall of Fame ceremony held April 26, 2014, including Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph and more. The program also honors the inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees, featuring legendary music acts Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and a pair of individuals who played an invaluable role in the genesis of the series: show creator Bill Arhos and Texas Longhorns football head coach and ACL supporter Darrell Royal.
For this extraordinary occasion ACL returns to its original Studio 6A, where the series taped its first episode in 1974—featuring Willie Nelson—to honor the artists and individuals who have inspired the iconic television series throughout its four decade run. The intimate performances include inductee Willie Nelson, joined by Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris for stunning readings of Nelson-penned classics including “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Crazy” and “On the Road Again.” Matthew McConaughey inducts his friend and fellow Texan, saying “There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson.”
by: Linda Sickler
IF YOU GO
What: Willie Nelson & Family
When: 7 p.m. March 1
Where: Johnny Mercer Theatre, Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave.
For the past 40 years, Mickey Raphael has had a dream job as Willie Nelson’s harmonica player. When Nelson comes to Savannah on March 1, Raphael will be there to back him up. “I’ve worked with Willie since 1973,” he says. “I always wanted to be a musician.”
A native of Texas, Raphael was a teenager when he discovered the Dallas folk music scene. His mentor was legendary harmonica great Don Brooks, whom Raphael found playing in a Dallas coffeehouse.
“I first heard Don Brooks when I was 15,” he says. “He went on to play with Waylon.”
After a show one night, Brooks showed Raphael a little lick that went all the way up and down the harmonica. That little pattern changed Raphael’s life on the spot.
Eventually, he joined singer B.W. Stevenson’s band. In 1973, the band was playing a University of Texas post-game party that was hosted by football coach Darrell Royal in a Dallas hotel room.
“It was after a bowl game,” Raphael says. “The coach was a big country music fan, He was a close friend of Willie Nelson and asked him to bring his band.”
Also in attendance was up-and-coming country singer Charley Pride, who took turns with Nelson to play the guitar and sing. Raphael played harmonica with Nelson, who invited him to come sit in with him at a gig sometime.
“I didn’t know who he was,” Raphael says. “I wasn’t a country player.”
A folk blues player, Raphael just wanted to join a country band so he could ride around in a bus.
But when Nelson played a fireman’s benefit in a high school gym, Raphael took him up on the offer. That led to another offer, this time to go with Nelson’s band to a gig in New York.
Soon Raphael had moved from Dallas to Austin, which was Nelson’s home base. Never a country fan himself, he began learning all he could about country music.
“I really became a fan instantly,” Raphael says. “Willie would say, ‘Come sit in with us,’ and I’d go. He would play these redneck places.”
Nelson is one of the nicest people alive, Raphael says.
“He is the best. He’s the same now as when I first met him.”
As the years have gone by, the hole in Nelson’s guitar has gotten bigger, Raphael says.
“When I first went in the band, that hole might have been as big as a dime,” Raphael says. “Now it’s big enough for a semi to drive through it.”
Among Raphael’s musical influences are blues great Paul Butterfield and rhythm and blues saxophonist King Curtis. Charlie McCoy was the first country music harmonica player Raphael listened to.
Joining the Willie Nelson Family required Raphael to improve his playing.
“We’ve all grown as musicians,” he says. “Willie has stayed true to himself. He keeps writing songs and doing songs of other entertainers he likes. He does exactly what he wants to do.”
In addition to Nelson, Raphael has also played with the likes of Elton John, U2, Motley Crue, Vince Gill, Emmy Lou Harris, The Mavericks, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Neil Young over the years.
In 1988, Raphael released his first solo album, “Hand to Mouth.” It proved so popular, it was re-released in 2000.
“We have the most beautiful audiences in the world,” Raphael says. “I do enjoy performing. I enjoy recording, but you have to do it right because it’s always out there.”
The Willie Nelson Family has played the White House several times, Raphael says. On Feb. 6, the band played a benefit gala for Bob Dylan, who was honored as the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year.
“It raised $7 million,” Raphael says. “Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Neil Young and lots of others all played the benefit.”
When told Dylan also was coming to play Savannah, Raphael remembered the time Nelson and Dylan performed together in Savannah in 2005 at Grayson Stadium.
“Dylan is great,” he says. “I love Bob Dylan.”
Raphael also loves Savannah.
“I’m looking forward to coming back,” he says. “We always have a great time in Savannah.”
The audience will have a great time, too, Raphael says.
“It’s Willie’s show,” he says. “We do all the hits.
“We don’t have a set play list,” Raphael says. “We just play what he’s playing.”
Rob Thomas, of Matchbox Twenty, and Willie Nelson collaborated on an album, and during it’s promotion, got together and talked about life, and writing music;
Willie: So Rob, let’s start by telling folks how we met.
Rob: I met up with you at one of your shows. You do these damn three-hour sets. By the time you’re done, I’m drunk. I get on your tour bus and I can’t get anything out of my mouth, except, “I love you!” In my head it’s all coherent, I want to talk about certain records, but instead I keep going, “You know the one with you on the cover? You know that song about the girl?”
Willie: How’d you write your first song?
Rob: I started writing just to pick up girls [laughs[ I was in high school, and I wasn’t playing football and I wasn’t extremely popular. So I thought I would be the guy at the party sitting at the piano, playing songs for girls. Then they would say, “Oh my God, look how sensitive he is.” You’ve told me that when you started, you wanted to be on the Grand Ole Opry.
Willie: Yeah, I was listening to Hank Williams and all those guys on the radio. And I’d go to the movies and see Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. That’s what I wanted to do. You grew up in the south, too. How has that affected your songwriting?
Rob: There’s someting entirely different about growing up southern and having a southern mother. Especially coming into this business not from a country side, my biggest problem was getting over the geekiness of the fact I’m from the south. Like, when I go to an awards show, the only thing different between me and everybody else is I really am happy to be there. And I am glad to meet ya. And everybody thinks you’re full of shit!
Willie: In your late teens you were homeles. What was that like?
Rob: That was more like a self-inflicted kind of romanticized hippiedom. I used to hitchhike around, up to South Carolina, or over to Daytona, so I could sit at the rest stops and have time to write songs. I thought I was trying to relive the Jack Kerouac days. The whole hitchhiking thing was just too damn scary after a while.
Willie :I did that, too. I was about 20, hitchhiking through California and Oregon and Washington, riding freight trains, sleeping under bridges and viaducts. I didn’t like that at all.
Rob: But it builds a certain character that you don’t get from playing Little League.
Willie: It’s like picking cotton. It’s something you did, but never want to do again.
Rob: Yeah, exactly. I was a roofer for six months, and I don’t care if I lose everything and no one ever wants to hear my songs; I’ll still never get on a roof again! But I’m glad to have that, ’cause now when I hang out with the roofers, I won’t get my ass kicked! [laughs] Did you ever write something and then afterwards look back on it and you’re like, “Man, I have no idea where it came from, but it explains everything”?
Willie: It usually start with a line that means really nothing.Â It proves the point that fortunately we’re not in control.Â There’s somebody dishing out ideas and if we’re dumb, we don’t get ‘em.
Rob: It seems like that’s the time when you start losing your ideas, when you actually think, “OK, I’m gonna write something.”Â And then it’s like “Oh no you’re not.”
Willie: You never did and you never will.
Rob: Have you ever been really heartbroken, written a bunch of songs about it, and then had to hear them over and over again later?
Willie: It can be a sad experience to have to say those same sad words every night.
Rob: “Right Now” wasn’t even going to be on the record originally. It was something I’d written when I’d met my wife and she was just coming to the point where she realized she wasn’t quite sure she wanted to marry a musican.
Willie: Sounds like a smart lady.
Rob: I’d written a song pretty much just to talk her out of it. There are certain emotional things that go on regardless of what you’re doing as a job and where your station is in life. And I think a lot of stuff that you touch on has been these things that don’t change and are universal. You could make a butt-load of money but you still get your heart broken, you still have people let you down.
Willie: I used to know a manager of a great writer. He would create problems between this guy and his wife, tell stories about this happening and that happening, just to keep him upset and writing songs.
Rob: A lot of times what you’re expressing in the song is the worst of what you’re thinking about a situation.Â But then it frees you up to be a happy guy the rest of the time.
Willie: Hopefully, that happens. There’s always occasions, incidences, where a guy comes along and he starts singing those negative songs every night of his life. And he gets on the bus, grabs a bottle…
Rob: We had a couple of those keyboard players.
Willie: You wrote that song called “Maria.” It says it all: “OK, we’re fighting, we’re dumb and we’re crazy and we’re beating each other up, but let’s stop.”
Rob: Sometimes, you could have a love song, but it just doesn’t seem like one. ‘Cause love takes on a lot of different emotions.”
Willie: Yeah, I wrote one, called, “I’ve Gotta Get Drunk, and I Sure Do Dread It.”