Good news on Twitter! Raelyn Nelson Band back in studio

May 17th, 2017

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Willie Nelson to Jeff Sessions, “Try some pot”

May 17th, 2017

We sat down with Willie Nelson to talk about his new album, ‘God’s Problem Child.’ He also shared his thoughts on politics, his favorite curse word and why he thinks Jeff Sessions should smoke some pot.

www.RollingStone.com
by:  Patrick Doyle

It’s the day before Willie Nelson’s 84th birthday, but he’s keeping his plans modest. “I’m just going to try and be here,” he says with a laugh from his tour bus, the Honeysuckle Rose, currently parked in Laughlin, Nevada, another stop on Nelson’s furious two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off touring schedule. “I’m still enjoying it,” he says. “It’s the two weeks off that gets kind of long.” This summer, Nelson will tour with the Outlaw Music Festival, which includes dates with Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah. Nelson is looking forward to breaking out songs from his excellent new album, God’s Problem Child. “It’ll be a great chance to run into a lot of old friends,” says Nelson, who, after thousands of gigs, has his own ways of keeping the show interesting: “I won’t intentionally try to throw the band off, but I do things that they don’t know. And sometimes, there’s a magic that happens.”

Your new single “Still Not Dead” is hilarious. What was the inspiration?
Well, many years ago, when I wrote “On the Road Again,” that’s the first time I heard that I was dead. Somebody said, “Willie was singing ‘On the Road Again,’ and a bus hit him.” That was funny for a few years. Then I heard these, what do you call them, “alternative facts”: I got up two or three times in the past couple of years and read I’d passed away. I just wanted to let ’em know that’s a lot of horseshit.

This summer you’ll reunite with Dylan. What’s it like when you two hang out?
I don’t think that’s ever happened much. We play music together more than we talk, and that’s probably good. [In 2004] my son Lukas and Dylan hit it off really good; he’d sit in with him and play guitar, and they jammed a lot on those tours. That was fun.

Who’s your favorite live act?
Leon Russell was one of the greatest entertainers out there. First time I saw him, he was playing for about 40,000 people in New Mexico. It’s the first time I saw anybody throw their hat into the audience. That’s where I stole that idea.

Jeff Sessions recently said that pot is “only slightly less awful” than heroin.
I wonder if he’s tried both of them. I don’t think you can really make a statement like that unless you tried it all. So I’d like to suggest to Jeff to try it and then let me know later if he thinks he’s still telling the truth!

What do you make of the Trump presidency so far?
Well, I knew him back when he owned some casinos, and I worked for him. He always paid me. I had no problems at all. I think he’s stepped into a different world. Like he said this morning, “I had no idea this job was going to be this hard.” It’s easy when you can just go bankrupt anytime you want to and say, “I’ll check you later.” But that’s hard to do when you’re president of the United States.

You sell “Willie Nelson for President” bumper stickers. Do a lot of people tell you to run for office?
Oh, yeah, which makes me even more glad that I didn’t. I came close a couple times. And then I sobered up.

So Trump hasn’t made you want to step in.
I think you can do more with music than you can with arguments and politics. I think a song will reach more people than any other thing. There’s a reason that it’s called “harmony”: When you play a show, there’s an energy exchange with the people that is unimaginable. It’s the reason I go out there. I get something out of it too.

What rules did you impose on your kids growing up?
My wife has one, and it’s three rules: “Don’t be an asshole, don’t be an asshole, and don’t be a goddamn asshole.” Mine has always been, “Don’t start no shit and there won’t be no shit.”

You’ve been married to your wife, Annie, for 25 years. What have you learned about marriage?
Well, it’s kind of like Donald was saying about being president: There’s nothing easy about it. Every day is hard work. It ain’t for everybody. I’ve been married a few times.

What has golf taught you about life?
Not a damn thing. Somebody said you’re ruining a nice walk, golfing. But I love to play. I went out and played the other day with my sons. I had an eagle on a par-four hole, so I was happy.

Are you still exercising every day?
Yeah, I’ll ride a horse, swim or run. Cussin’ is good exercise – I do that too.

What’s your favorite curse word?
I tell everybody when I get to be president, “fuck it” is going to be one word.

You’ve launched your own marijuana company, Willie’s Reserve. How’s that going?
Going good. I have other people kind of doing it for me. Annie is on the edible side, and she’s a great chef, and she’s been working in Colorado and all those places where it’s legal.

Is there any downside to smoking pot every day?
I haven’t run into any yet. I guess if you go somewhere where it’s illegal, that’s a pretty good downside.

Another Willie Nelson cover, Sturgill Simpson, “I’d Have to Be Crazy” (Farm Aid 2016)

May 17th, 2017

Another Willie Nelson fan, Jason Isbell

May 17th, 2017

“You’ve got to find things about touring that make you happy, because the money won’t make you happy, and the people applauding won’t make you happy, not in the long run,” Isbell says. “People can get used to any amount of accolades or any amount of money or success, but you’ll never get used to being around Willie Nelson – and if you do, there’s something wrong with you.”

www.RollingStone.com
by:  Jonathan Bernstein

With the release of his sixth album, The Nashville Sound, set for June 16th, Jason Isbell is gearing up for another summer of extensive touring. This year, however, there are some changes that Isbell and his longtime band, the 400 Unit, are eagerly anticipating. The most obvious shake-up is the more urgent and consistently hard-rocking material on Isbell’s new LP with the group.

“I’m looking forward to being able to keep everybody awake with songs that have been recorded in the last year, rather than 15 years ago,” says Isbell, who launches his tour June 17th in Asheville, North Carolina. “It’ll be more of a rock show I think than what we’ve had in the past.”

Expect the focus to be on his three most recent releases – 2013’s Southeastern, 2015’s Something More Than Free and The Nashville Sound – and less from his earlier LPs and his days with Drive-By Truckers. “When you’re deciding what songs to take out of the set to fit the new songs in, the first consideration is quality, but the second consideration is the amount of time it’s been since you recorded that song,” he says. “I try to keep things as recent as possible.”

The tour will also find Isbell largely eschewing the summer festival circuit in favor of fan-friendly two-hour headlining sets, with handpicked opening acts like Mountain Goats, Strand of Oaks, Frank Turner, and Isbell’s wife Amanda Shires. “I got tired of playing short sets at weird times of days,” Isbell says of his break from the festival grind. Part of that decision comes from feeling like his style of stripped-down, lyrics-first country-roots music is largely out of sync with today’s massive pop-culture gatherings. “Last year, I did ‘Elephant’ at every festival I played, because fuck ’em,” says the songwriter, nodding to Southeastern‘s brutal ballad about cancer.

But there is one package show Isbell is excited to join: the Outlaw Music Festival Tour, featuring Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan as co-headliners. Isbell is still getting over seeing his name plastered on a headline with the two songwriting legends. “It’s like Jesus, Santa Claus and me. I hate the word ‘surreal,’ but that’s what it is,” he says.

Getting to tour with heroes like Nelson, Dylan and John Prine – for whom Isbell still regularly opens – is, in fact, a large part of the appeal of life on the road for the 38-year-old, who has spent the last decade touring more or less non-stop.

“You’ve got to find things about touring that make you happy, because the money won’t make you happy, and the people applauding won’t make you happy, not in the long run,” Isbell says. “People can get used to any amount of accolades or any amount of money or success, but you’ll never get used to being around Willie Nelson – and if you do, there’s something wrong with you.”

Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie

May 17th, 2017

Willie Nelson and Family, “Luckenbach, Texas” (Farm Aid 1986)

May 17th, 2017

Another Willie Nelson fan, “his songs helped her get through her treatments”

May 16th, 2017

“Five-year-old Ava, who has a gastrointestinal disorder, wished to meet and play guitar with Willie Nelson.  Ava chose this wish because his songs helped her get through her treatments”.

Make-A-Wish North Texas

Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings

May 16th, 2017

www.entertainment-focus.com

Waylon Jennings sadly passed away in 2002 following complications from his diabetes. Battling drug addiction until the mid-80s, Jennings was plagued by health issues in later life and died at the age of 64. Despite his personal issues, Jennings had a successful career that hailed the arrival of outlaw country, a subgenre of music that offered a sound steeped in tradition rather than adhering to the more polished country sound of the 60s and 70s.

In 2015 Don Was and Buddy Cannon organised a tribute concert to celebrate the impact and enduring influence of Jennings’ music. Featuring stars such as Chris Stapleton, Lee Ann Womack, Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson, Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings was recorded at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in Austin Texas. Almost two years on from that event, it has finally been released as a CD/DVD package.

In a time when the age-old debate about ‘what is country music?’ rages on, it’s timely to revisit the music of Jennings. Outlaw kicks off with Chris Stapleton performing I Ain’t Living Long Like This, which was a number one hit for Jennings in 1979. Stapleton is one of the current crop of country stars that have taken on the outlaw country mantle so it’s fitting that his presence builds the bridge between Jennings and his own music. It’s an uptempo start to a collection of performances that pay touching tribute to Jennings fantastic catalogue of songs.

Over the course of Outlaw, some of Jennings’ past collaborators make appearances. Jessi Colter takes on Mona and Willie Nelson appears throughout, flying solo on the highlight Till I Gain Control Again. Alison Krauss reprises her cover of Dreaming My Dreams With You, which was released in 1999 as part of her album Forget About It. Her emotive performance has the audience whooping and hollering in the middle of the song and it’s a stunning version of the track.

Elsewhere on the release Kacey Musgraves puts her on spin on The Wurlitzer Prize, Bobby Bare impresses on the punchy Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line, and Ryan Bingham rasps his way through Rainy Day Woman. Jennings son Shooter also performs Whistlers and Jugglers early on the set.

The DVD part of the release features the entire evening. It’s a shame that I Can Get Off On You by Willie Nelson and Sturgill Simpson was omitted from the CD but I’m glad it’s present as part of the DVD. Simpson is another artist, like Stapleton, who is leading the charge when it comes to modern outlaw country music. Extras on the disc include several featurettes, one of which sees the stars from the event talking about the influence of Jennings on their own music and careers.

Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings does exactly what it says on the tin. The assembled musicians honour Jennings’ incredible songs while putting their own spin on it. If you’re not overly familiar with Jennings’ music, you’d be forgiven for thinking that some of these could be original recordings that are relevant in today’s country music. If nothing else, this collection will have you digging out your Jennings records and remembering just what an incredible artist he was.

Track List: 1.

I Ain’t Living Long Like This – Chris Stapleton
2. Whistlers and Jugglers – Shooter Jennings
3. Mona – Jessi Colter 4. Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line – Bobby Bare
5. Ride Me Down Easy – Lee Ann Womack
6. Yours Love – Lee Ann Womack & Buddy Miller
7. Freedom to Stay – Jamey Johnson
8. The Wurlitzer Prize – Kacey Musgraves
9. Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way – Robert Earl Keen
10. I Do Believe – Kris Kristofferson
11. Rainy Day Woman – Ryan Bingham
12. Dreaming My Dreams with You – Alison Krauss
13. I Ain’t the One – Alison Krauss & Jamey Johnson
14. Honky Tonk Heroes – Toby Keith
15. Lonesome, On’ry and Mean – Eric Church
16. Till I Gain Control Again – Willie Nelson
17. Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys – Willie Nelson & Toby Keith
18. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys – Willie Nelson & Chris Stapleton
19. Highwayman – Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Shooter Jennings & Jamey Johnson
20. Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love) – Willie Nelson & Full Ensemble

Release Date: 14th April 2017 Record Label: Sony Music

Rest in Peace, Larry Butler. Thanks for the music

May 15th, 2017

photo:  Rachel Parker

So sad to learn of the passing of the great Larry Butler today.  Rest in peace.  His dear wife passed away last year.

May 15th, 2017

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic 2017

May 15th, 2017

 

For ticket information:
www.WillieNelson.com

It’s a Bloody Mary Morning at Threadgills

May 15th, 2017

Who needs a Bloody Mary? No shame if you do! We open at 11am – come see us if your baby left you without warning sometime in night. #WillieNelson

— Threadgill’s (@threadgills)

Dinner with Willie Nelson

May 15th, 2017
That’s a room with a view….
Gary Murphy / Culinary & food biz are my passion / Love coaching entrepreneurs / Former soya CEO “Make it Happen”
“Nothing like having breakfast with an icon watching…

Willie Nelson, B B King, “Nightlife”

May 15th, 2017

Why Willie Nelson’s Still Cool, by Joe Nick Patoski (April 2003) (Texas Monthly)

May 15th, 2017

Why Willie’s Still Cool
by Joe Nick Patoski
A Texas Monthly Magazine Tribute to Willie!
April 2003

Ever since I was a kid, when his grinning visage first flickered at me over the black-and-white on Channel 11 live from Panther Hall, in Fort Worth, Willie Nelson has been a fixture in my life. I swear I heard him introducing 45’s when he was a disc jockey on KCNC-AM, my first exposure to country and western music. Like him, I saw the neon Stars and Stripes that once flew over the Tarrant County courthouse at night. Like him, I was moved by the blind couple who sold pencils in front of Leonards Department Store downtown (Willie paid tribute to them by writing “Pretty Paper,” the best Texas Christmas song ever). Growing up in Texas back then, you couldn’t help but hear Faron Young’s recording of “Hello Walls” and Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” jukebox staples that never went away; Willie wrote the lyrics of both songs. When I finally met him fact to face in the offices of KOKE-FM, in Austin, the station that revolutionized radio by playing a brand new mix of music called progressive country. I remember thinking that he was unlike any musician — any person, for that matter — I’d ever seen or heard.

Who’d have guessed that after all these records, picnics, scandals, and road miles later, he’d still be so much in his prime? At a time when his peers have either hightailed it to Branson or are being wheeled out onstage to show they’re still alive, Willie’s till Willie — on the road again, on the bus again, worthy of tribute songs and accolades and whatever else you can throw at him.

Which raises the question: What keeps him going? What makes Willie Willie, who turns seventy on April 30, more of an icon that ever? Everyone has his opinion. Willie surely has his own. Here’s mine.

He’s a family man. Four marriages and what can be charitably described as an unconventional lifestyle explain why a lot of people thing Willie and family values don’t go together.  They’re wrong. He’s the epitome of family. It’s not just that he’s a father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather or that his sister plays piano in his band or that his eldest daughter goes out on the road with him and writes the band’s official Web site diary (www.willienelson.com).  Not for nothing is his band called Willie Nelson and Family; they’ve stayed together longer than most blood relations. His steadfast followers are likewise called family. To them, he’s more than a star; he’s a combination of daddy, patron, sage, boss man, fearless leaders, beloved outlaw, and benevolent shepherd tending his flock.

He’s a uniter, not a divider. The original cosmic cowboy came to Austin and brought rednecks and freaks together, mainly because he’s a little of both (he was the first hippie I ever saw wearing a diamond pinkie ring). His audience today is the face of America, bringing together folks who’d never darken the same door — from baby boomers to yahoos, academics to convicts — and making them want to stay all night and a little longer.

He’s the Teflon Troubadour. From unpaid bar tabs and pistol down payments to high-dollar lawsuits and high-profile tax hassles, he has nimbly stepped around buckets of excrement without getting any on him in a manner unrivaled this side of Ronald Reagan. Think about it: In just ten years he seamlessly segued from IRS target to A-plus patriot, leading the likes of Tome Cruise and Julia Roberts in a stirring rendition of “America the Beautiful” on the nationally televised post-9/11 telethon.

He’s loyal. It works in the White House. It works in the Mafia. And it works in Willie’s world, where the operating rule of thumb is Darrell Royal’s “Dance with the one who brung ya.” Following the first Willie Nelson Picnic, in Dripping Springs, he severed ties with the hippie crew from the Armadillo World Headquarters who’d helped put on the show after hearing one of them complain about his pal’s toting firearms backstage. “If my friends aren’t good enough for you,” Willie told them, “then I’m not good enough for you either.”

He’s an activist without being overly political. He championed small, independent farmers by starting Farm Aid, a no-brainer fit of inspired populism that pays back the culture he was part of growing up in Abbott. On almost the opposite end of the spectrum, he has had a thirty-year relationship with NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), making a public service announcement here and there. And he’s even raised money to rebuild the fire-damaged Hill County courthouse in Hillsboro. yes, he lends his name to causes, bu the causes don’t define him: his Williness transcends all controversy.

He’s a jack-of-all-trades. No one slides in and out of so many musical skins. He’s country as all-get-out, but he’s also a folkie for the ages, a great gospel artist (look no further than Family bible and Healing Hands of Time), a connoisseur of pop standards (Stardust is one of the best-selling albums of all time), and an organic-rocker who can take a jam on on a trip farther out than even . The Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead may have preceded him in their two-drummer setup, but only Willie Nelson’s band has sported two bass players as well. Reggae?  Been there (though the album has yet to be released). Sentimental schmultz? Done that (“On teh Sunny Side of the Street?) Dance times? Yes, thsoe were disco whistles you heard on a recent single, “Maria (Shut Up and Kiss Me).” He has sung credible duets with Julio Iglesias, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Little Joe, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt; B. B. King, Kid Rock, and Nora Jones.  Now that’s versatility.

He’s an extraordinary talent. He can jump from genre to genre so effortlessly because he’s so gifted musically — the greatest all-around Texas player born in the twentieth century. He writes songs that have   As a singer, he’s surpassed only by Sinatra.  He’s an American original, right up there with Hank, Miles, and Elvis.

He’s a crossover dream. unlike Mariah Carey and Madonna, he has managed to transition form music to movies (Honeysuckle Rose, Wag the Dog) and television (the edgy detective series Monk) without being ridiculed — mainly because he’s smart enough to play a version of himself, if not the real thing, and act naturally. What you see is what you get.

He’s Ours. Willie is Texas and Texas is Willie, pure and simple, no one represents the brand like he does. The spiritual descendant of Bob Willis, who blazed trails by welding together seemingly incompatible styles to invent western swing. Willie is responsible for birthing this think called Texas Music and taking Texas to the world. Bonus points for making red-bandanna headbands, braids and running shoe symbols of Texas culture.

He’s cool. He has lived a thousand lives and died a thousand deaths, having been wrongly written off more times than any other cat in showbiz. While he could be resting on laurels that include a discography ofmore than two hundred albums, he’s plahying 145 nights ayear, cranking out sets in excess of two hours, while on the side pitching booze (Old Whiskey River Kentucky Straight Bourbon), financial services (Frost Bank), and blue jeans (the Gap) in television commercials and on a billboard overlooking Broadway.

Wilie and blue jeans? Could there be a more perect match? It isn’t so much that the was made for them as they were made for him. And you can’t get any cooler than that.

[Joe Nick Patoski is author “Willie Nelson: An Epic Life,” among many other great documentaries on Texas music and history.  His latest is The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America”.