Bill Mack and Willie Nelson


“Willie called me from his bus Tuesday to check things out. He said he was “somewhere in North Carolina, didn’t know exactly where”. He and his group will be performing in Charlottesville, Virginia Wednesday, May 25.

“That’s tomorrow night, isn’t it?”, he asked.

I replied, “Yep.”

He mentioned seeing former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, seated on the front row at the Chastain Park Amphitheater in Atlanta Friday night. They are true fans of Willie. They sang along as he crooned “Georgia On My Mind”, then shared the stage with him for a moment, waving at the applauding audience of almost 7000 “Willie lovers”.

Merle Haggard was set to play the Atlanta show with Willie earlier this year. Kris Kristofferson replaced Hag after a “make-up” date was set for l last Friday. Willie said, “Kris did a super job.” “As expected,” I said. Will, like so many others, is still super sad over the passing of our old friend, Haggard. “Merle was like a brother to me,” said Willie. I replied, “I feel the same.”

Changing the subject, Will jokingly asked, “How long have you been in radio, Bill? As I recall, when you started they hadn’t even invented microphones!”

I replied, “Right. Since we didn’t have microphones, we used ‘smoke signals’. From what I hear, you still use ‘smoke signals’ don’t you?”

He laughed loudly and said,”Well, it’s always good to talk with you, pal. Guess I’d better take a short nap … or somethin’.”

I said, “Be careful on the bus, Will.”

He said, “Shut up, Bill! It’s my bus, I’ll do as I please. Maybe I’ll be careful … maybe I won’t.”

End of a needed bit of chatter with a super pal.

— Bill Mack

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