Archive for October, 2007

Willie Nelson’s Martin

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Willie Nelson’s Picnic at Carl’s Corner (1987)

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Workers prepare stage

Willie’s July 4th Picnic Saturday at Carl’s Corner
The Reporter
July 2, 1987

Willie Nelson returns to his native Hill Country to stage his annual Fourth of July Picnic this year at Carl’s Corner

Last minute details are being taken care of for the concert to be held along Interstate 35 at Carl’s Corner north of Hillsboro.

Chainlink fences surrounding the complex have been erected and work on a revolving stage for the concert got underway earlier this week.

Some of the top entertainers in the business are expected to appear.

Scheduled to appear with Abbott native are Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Roger Miller, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, the O’Kanes, Jerry Jeff Walker, the Geezinslaws and Asleep at the Wheel.

Also, Eric Johnson, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Rattle Snake Annie, Billy Joe Shaver, Emmylou Harris, Billy Roy and Heart of the Night, Bennie Kirby and His Country Dummies, Roy Garrett and Linda Elaine and Mack Abernathey.

Still others scheduled to appear are David Allen Coe, Don Cherrie, Dwight Yokum, Cherokee Rose, Delbert McClinton, Joe Ely, Nitty Ditty Dirt band, Gary McClung Band of Hillsboro and others.

Camping for the concert will be available Friday night, July 3; free parking will open at 4 a.m. Saturday; gates to the concert site will open at 7 a.m.; and the music will begin at 10 a.m. lasting until midnight.

According to Zeke Varnon of Hillsboro, there will be free parking for about 17,000 vehicles on the concert grounds; after that, parking will be available in the area for a fee.

Persons entering the concert will not be allowed to carry alcoholic beverages, glass containers, fireworks or weapons onto the grounds.

Ice chests, food, lawnchairs and caneras will be allowed, according to Varnon.

Food items, soft drinks, beer and ice will be available on the concert grounds.

A special crew of medical technicians, headed by Hillsboro native Dr. Red Duke, will be on hand for minor medical emergencies that ight arise during the day.

The mmedical crew will be located in a large metal barn at the concert site.

Final preparations for the concert also are being made by security consultant Mike Simpson.

Simpson has been involved with concerts since 1973 and has served as security consultant for the picnic since 1984.

Over 400 law enforcement and security personnel are expected to be in the concert area the day of the event, acording to Simpson.

Ranger Security Systems of Austin and Southwest Concert Security will provide security personnel for the interior of the concert grounds according to Simpson.

Additional Department of Public Safety troopers, officials from the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, Hill County Sheriff’s Department and Hillsboro Police Department are expected in the area also.

Hillsboro Police Department will assist Carl’s Corner Police Department as needed.

Hillsboro Police Chief Ed Wheat said that a supervisor will be in the concert site area to evaluate the need for Hillsboro officers and the length of time they will be at the site.

No less than eight Hillsboro police officers will be on duty at all times during the holiday weekend according to the police chief.

The Hill County Sheriff’s Department also will be fully staffed during weekend to cover the county.

Fifteen deputies, including reserves, will be available during the weekend to cover the county.

Sheriff Brent Button said the primary concern for his department was the load the holiday weekend might place on the Hill County Law Enforcement Center which is currently operating near it’s 40 man capacity.

Besides the concert, a large crowd is anticipated at the Lake Whitney Cycle Ranch for a national motorcross race and the parks on Lake Whitney are expected to fill to capacity.

Simpson said, “There has been a great cooperative effort between all agencies involved in the preparation for the concert to make it safe and pleasant for the patrons as well as the residents fo the areas.

Tickets for the event are $21 and are available at several locations in Central Texas.

In Hillsboro, tickets are available at Carl’s Corner Truck Stop, Sherry’s Hitch ‘N Post Western Wear, Ramada Inn, Darlene’s Restaurant and Thunderbird Restaurant.

Other ticket outlets include Hitch N Post, Cheyannes, Herrington Insurance Agency, all in Whitney, Adams Tour and Travel in Itasca and Night Owl in West.

Tickets also are available through Rainbow Ticket Masters in the Dallsa-Fort Worth metroplex.

While a large number of tickets have been sold, Varnon said no estimates have been established.

Willie Nelson and Randy Rogers

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Thanks to Cherie for sharing this picture taken by a friend of a friend of hers, at the Dallas show last week.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007


This is a full thickness jack-o-lantern carved in a real pumpkin weighing approx 25 lbs. It was displayed at the 2006 Keene Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire.

Willie Nelson, at 65

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

by Gary Cartwright
Texas Monthly
April 1998

I first met Willie Nelson on August 12, 1972, a few hours before his first gig at the Armadillo World Headquarters, in Austin.  Both of us were in our late thirties and relatively new to psychedelics and long hair.  A couple of friends and I were in the small office that the Armadillo had set aside for Mad dog, Inc., a shadowy organization that Bud Shrake and I had founded at roughly that same time.  Artist Jim Franklin was decorating a wall of the Mad Dog office with a portrait of a crazed Abe Lincoln when we spotted Willie and the band across the hall.

I didn’t recognize him at first.  I had been a fan since 1966, when Don Meredith handed me a copy of Willie’s album that was recorded live at Panther Hall in Fort Worth.  The album cover pictured a straight-looking country singer with short hair and a bad suit.  He clutched a guitar, but from his looks it could have easily been a pipe wrench.

Willie was different now.  His hair fell almost to his shoulders, and though he was still clean-shaven and passably middle class, he was obviously undergoing a metamorphosis.  “I saw a lot of people with long hair that day,” Willie recalls.  “People in jeans, T-shirts, sneakers, basically what I grew up wearing.  I remember thinking:  ‘F— coats and ties!  Let’s get comfortable!'”

The real eye-opener for me came that night.  Who in his right mind could have predicted that the same audience that got turned on by B.B. King and Jerry Garcia would also go nuts for Willie Nelson?  This Abbott cotton picker had merged blues, rock, and country into something altogether original and evocative.

Another Willie Tattoo

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Chillie Willie.  Is he in an ice cream cone?


(Thanks to Todd H., from San Jose, for sending me this pic.)

Willie Nelson and Billy Samek, from the Peru Catholic School

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Willie Nelson with Billy Samek and his mother, Tammy, before the ‘Concert for a Cause’ on September 22, 2007, at the Lou LaGrotto’s in Peru, Illinois.

Staff and students from 62 schools in the Illinois Valley wrote to Merry Noonan and her six-member committee that work the “Concerts For a Cause” series.

While all those schools needed help, one stood out.”I wrote an elaborate three-page letter on behalf of our school,” Peru Catholic School Principal Steve Brockman said. “Unfortunately, mine wasn’t picked,” he said with a laugh.

“Fortunately, a letter from one of our kindergartners, Billy Samek, was chosen. I couldn’t have been more surprised and I couldn’t have been more pleased.”

Billy wrote a letter about the lack of a playground at his school.

“I like art and PE classes. I really like recess but all we do is walk around and kick a ball around on the blacktop,” he wrote. “We usually end up moving because we get in the way of the big kids. If we had a playground, we could share it with the big kids.”

That letter touched the hearts of all the committee members.  “Each person went behind closed doors with the letters and each one came out with that letter as the winner,” said Noonan. “It was unanimous.”

Willie met with Billy and his mom, Tammy, just before walking on stage.  “It was pretty exciting,” Tammy said. “Willie hugged Billy and said ‘Nice letter, kid.’ Then he posed for a photo before taking the stage.”

When the staff and students learned Willie was playing, colored ink and pencils flew as all the children designed posters with the same message.

“Thank you, Willie!”

Everyone expressed gratitude and appreciation throughout the evening about Nelson and his band helping build a playground for the kids — so much so that the Peru Catholic School, along with Noonan made sure Nelson knew how important he and his concert was to the students.

“We gave him one of our white school concert volunteer shirts with a drawing of a playground and Willie playing on it,” Tammy said. “I told him that all of the kids were just so grateful for what he was doing that they all made posters and wrote letters thanking him. He told me he already knew. Merry had given him a couple of bags of letters and posters.

“‘I plan to read them all,’ he told me.”

Here’s a slideshow of some of the posters and cards given to Willie that night:


Principal Brockman e-mailed me with an update about the school’s playground today:

We have ordered the playground equipment and it should be on-site within a couple weeks. An actual ground breaking date has not been determined.  We are excited, and of course, very grateful.

Steve Brockman

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

“Different songs often mean different things to different people.

“Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” for instance, is one of my favorite songs, and it’s one that’s inspired great passion.  Many members of the Hells Angels, for instance, feel certain that “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” is about one of their members who died.  Now, I’d be the last person to tell a big group of kickass bikers that they’re wrong.  As far as I’m concerned, whatever they feel the song means is just fine.

Theirs is far from the only interpretation of the song, and I make it a point not to disagree with any of the interpretations (as long as you’re not trying to sell your junk food or your god our your war with my song.)

It’s not up to me to tell you what my songs mean.  The meaning is already in the song.  And the song is the meaning.

“Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” is the Tao of Willie.  It and a whole bunch of other songs I’ve written are the reflection of what I’ve learned on a really great ride on the merry-go-round called Earth.

And if the ride keeps going for a while longer, I may learn more and thereby cast a biger reflection.  So keep the wheel turning, I say.  And keep your angels flying high.”

The Tao of Willie
a Guide to the Happiness in your Heart
by Willie Nelson, with Turk Pipkin

Willie and Connie Nelson (1980)

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Willie Nelson, Texas Star

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

We are the World

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007


Harry Belafonte initiated the idea for a fundraising effort. His manager, Ken Kragen,  suggested the multi-artist approach, inspired by the success of the British supergroup Band Aid and their 1984 fundraising single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

The performers gathered at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood, California, on January 28, 1985.  Kragen selected the night of the American Music Awards  to ensure as many artists as possible could attend. Jones famously advised them, in his written invitation, to “check your egos at the door.” In all, 45 musicians attended the recording session, including Bob Geldof, who had arranged the Band Aid effort in the United Kingdom. Lead vocals were rotated among 21 of the performers, including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Billy Joel,  Steve Perry, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

Columbia Records donated their manufacturing and distribution costs to the effort. “We Are the World” hit stores on Tuesday, March 7, 1985 and all 800,000 copies sold out before the end of the weekend. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number twenty-one. On April 5 (Good Fridayin that year), more than 5,000 radio stations played the song at the same time. It became the United States’ number one single on April 13 and held the position for four weeks.

The song went on to win 1985 Grammys for Song of the Year,  Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.

Ultimately, the single sold 7.5 million copies in the US. It was released on an album, We Are the World,  which sold over three million copies. In addition to “We Are the World,” the album included previously unreleased songs by Prince,  Springsteen, Turner and other artists. It also included another famine relief fundraising song, “Tears Are Not Enough”, which was performed by Canadian upergroup Northern Lights.

Including revenues from the single, the album, the video and related merchandise, “We Are the World” raised about $50 million for famine relief

Willie Nelson and Jody Payne, Lake Charles, LA

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Thanks to Carol S. for taking this picture and sharing it with Willie’s fans to enjoy!

Tougher Than Leather, Willie Nelson

Monday, October 29th, 2007

by Matt Bjorke

Released a month after his duet album with Merle Haggard (Pancho & Lefty) Willie Nelson’s “concept” album Tougher Than Leather more or less “fell through the cracks” when it was overshadowed by that classic album. In its own right, Tougher Than Leather is a classic. The album tells the story of a western gunslinger who is haunted by the memory of his last victim’s girlfriend. The album goes on to tell the story of a man who is reincarnated into the “urban cowboy” era and finds the same woman. This is an album that skips through time and presents interesting songs and characters.

The melody is bittersweet and the lyrics are poignant as “Changing Skies” tells the story of that gunfighter as he struggles with his sin as he sees his foe pass away. As with any great Willie Nelson song, “Changing Skies” has an awesome guitar solo played on his legendary guitar named “Trigger.”

The title track is the song that tells the story of the gunfighter; “tougher than leather, should’ve known better, when he picked up the rose in his hand, and the town’s people froze when his hand crushed the rose and the rose petals fell crushed into the sand.” This memory of the death of that man and the “maiden” who lost him haunted him so much that he eventually died from his memory of the sin. Once again, Willie features a bluesy solo towards the end of the song.

“Little Old Fashioned Karma” tells a story of how you will reap what you sow. Karma says what goes around comes around and that you must treat others how you want to be treated, thus this harmonic track with a memorable melody doesn’t need to say much to get Willie’s point across.

“The Convict And The Rose” tells the tale of the urban cowboy man who reconnects with “Rose” only to be taken away from her by a crime (robbery) he didn’t commit. It is a neat tale of how in his second life, he gets to connect to the reincarnated woman who he hurt in the past. It’s tells a tale that finds the man falling in the hands of fate once again.

Tougher Than Leather features only 7 full-length songs and a several short instrumental interludes; it is a story album, a concept about reincarnation that Willie skillfully connects together. While the protagonist of the story is doomed to fate both times, at least in his second life he was able to connect to the woman. Fans of Willie Nelson who either missed this recording or are too young to remember it will most certainly enjoy Tougher Than Leather and the artistic statement it made and continues to make today.

Song List:

  1. My Love For The Rose
  2. Changing Skies
  3. Tougher Than Leather
  4. Little Old Fashioned Karma
  5. Somewhere In Texas (Part 1)
  6. Beer Barrel Polka
  7. Summer of Roses
  8. Somewhere In Texas (Part 2)
  9. My Love For The Rose
  10. The Convict And The Rose
  11. Changing Skies
  12. I Am The Forest
  13. Nobody Slides, My Friend
  14. Summer Of Roses/December Day (Previously Unreleased Bonus Track)

Welcome, Willie Nelson

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Willie Nelson and Family in Concert at the Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Alabama (11/1/07)

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Willie Nelson and Family
November 1, 2007
VonBraun Center
Huntsville, Alabama