Archive for January, 2008

Everybody looks good in a Willie Nelson Shirt

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

But, yeah, some people look better than others, like Jessica Simpson.

Willie Nelson and Kenny Chesney

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

by Brian Mansfield

Kenny Chesney’s already a multiplatinum recording artist and stadium headliner. This week, he adds a new accomplishment to his résumé: producer.

Along with Nashville producer Buddy Cannon, the Country Music Association’s reigning Entertainer of the Year produced Willie Nelson’s Moment of Forever album, as well as a bluegrass offering from Tim Hensley, who plays guitar in Chesney’s band. Both discs are out this week.

“I’ve always been comfortable seeing my vision and, with Buddy’s help, having it come to life in the studio,” says Chesney, who has been producing his own albums with Cannon since 2002’s No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems. “For the first time, I had to back out of the front chair as an artist and become sensitive to what another artist wanted their record to sound like, then mix it with my vision.”

Chesney initially worked with Nelson after inviting him to record the Frankie Laine hit That Lucky Old Sun for a future Chesney project. After hearing a rough mix of that duet, Nelson invited Cannon and Chesney to work on an album with him.

“I didn’t know whether (Chesney) would be willing to jump in and do something on one of my records, but I came to find out he was a fan,” Nelson says. “He was right there with every note that we were doing. He worked hard in there.”

Carlos Santana

Thursday, January 31st, 2008


“Willie Nelson’s impact on American music is indelible. He stands at the crossroads of all the sounds and colors of this country. What he reflects is true soul and sincerity. He’s also a pretty mean guitar player.”

— Carlos Santana

Willie Nelson Tax Advice Doll

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Willie Nelson’s not in a Superbowl ad this year, but here’s a great one that did air during a Superbowl. 


Willie Nelson, Troublemaker

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Willie Nelson’s Old Whiskey River

Thursday, January 31st, 2008


Drinks Americas Holdings, Ltd, a leading developer and marketer of premium beverages that partners with renowned icons, announced earlier today that case sales of its Willie Nelson’s Old Whiskey River Bourbon is up over 50% nationally as compared to prior fiscal year-to-date case sales. Total sales of all bourbon brands grew approximately 4% in 2007.

The key market of Florida has increased case sales over 1,700 percent over prior fiscal year-to-date sales. Texas, another key market for the bourbon, is up over 13%.

Willie Nelson’s Old Whiskey River Bourbon, an award-winning, small batch, six year old bourbon, is to be featured at 944 Magazine’s Super Village Celebrity Poker Tournament in Phoenix during Super Bowl week.

J. Patrick Kenny, Drinks Americas’ Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Willie Nelson’s Old Whiskey Bourbon, an award-winning, small batch, six year old bourbon, is growing well above both the national trend and the trend in its key states. Drinks’ sponsorship of 944 Magazine’s Celebrity Poker Tournament in Phoenix during Super Bowl week is the start of our high profile, targeted brand support that we think will continue to accelerate the brand’s growth. 944’s Super Village is expected to be one of the most star-packed places during Super Bowl week. Old Whiskey River is growing in almost every state where the brand is distributed.”

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

On the Bus Again: Willie Nelson’s Shelter from the Tax Storm

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Austin American-Statesman
January 13, 1991
Pete Szilagyi

Day in and day out, on the road again or at home in Austin, another $5,516 in penalties and interest is added to the income tax bill of Willie Nelson.

So far, he owes about $17 million, an amount that would send the average person staggering to bankruptcy court.  But not the laid-back country singer, who says he is unhappy but not intimidated about his debt and the Internal Revenue Service raids in November that seized the rewards of 15 years as one of America’s best known entertainers.

Nelson returned to Austin recently after several weeks in Hawaii observing from afar the fallout from the highly publicized IRS seizures, which included real estate in six states and Lake Travis hilltop home, movie ranch and the studio in which he has recorded dozens of familiar songs.

Nelson, 57, also poked fun at a recent National Enquirer cover story that portrayed him as homeless, distitute and suicidal.

“That’s some of the best reading I’ve had in a long time — 99 percent of it is bull,” Nelson said after several tiring hours in front of the cameras for the CBS TV movie Another Pair of Aces in which he will co-star with Kris Kristofferson.

“I don’t worry about money — fortunately I never did.  This situation is actually kind of comical to me.  I laugh when I think about how much it wasn’t my fault,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s friend and golfing partner, comedian Turk Pipkin, said it’s “not like he’s concerned because he wasn’t trying to pay it.  He’s missing that normal guilt that comes with bankruptcy or tax stuff because he’s still making money and still trying to pay it.  He just says, ‘What he hell.”

The singer is staying at the Lake Travis vacation home of Dallas Honda dealer Bill McDavid or aboard one of his leased tour buses, the Honeysuckle Rose II. The California movie company also has provided Nelson, his companion Annie D’Angelo and their two children with a suite at the Stouffer Arboretum hotel during filming this month.

Nelson and his high-profile New York attorney, Jay Goldberg, who lists Donald Trump as a client, say the entertainer has kept current on his income taxes since 1983, paying $8 million to the IRS for the years 1983-89.  The unpaid taxes that led to the raids on Nelson’s properties were from the late ’70s and early ’80s when Billboard’s charts were heavy with Nelson’s albums, and he was on the cover of Newsweek and Rolling Stone and earning millions from royalties and sold-out concerts.

The IRS sued Nelson for the unpaid tqaxes, and last June the singer agreed that he would pay 6.5 million in back taxes and about $10 million in penalties and interest, which the IRS says continues to accrue.

Nelson’s legal advisers acknowledge that the IRS and Nelson, through the years, have disagreed on numerous deductions he has claimed as business expenses.  But they blame the majority of his tax debt on what they say were disastrous investments Nelson made in cattle operations and federal home loan mortgage forward contracts similar to futures contracts.

The singer said the investments were proposed and handled by Price Waterhouse, which he hired in 1979 to overse his investments and file his taxes.  The mortgage securities and cattle investments were intened to shelter some of Nelson’s earnings from income taxes, but the IRS ultimately disallowed the massive deductions Nelson had claimed on his tax returns and then added millions of dollars in penalties and interest, his advisers say.

In a case that could go to a jury trial in a Dallas federal court later this year or in 1992, Nelson and hs manager, Mark Rothbaum of Danbury, Conn., have sued London-based Price waterhouse for fraud, seeking $45 million in triple damages under federal anti-racketeering statutes and an additionl $50 million in punitive damages.  Price Waterhouse, one of the so-called Big Six accounting firms, denies proposing the investments to Nelson and denies culpability for his tax deficiencies, according to documents filed in federal court.

“We do not believe as a result of any profesional servies to Willie Nelson, that we are responsible for any losses he might have suffered. We think we exercised due care and we acted resonsibily,” said Allen young, deputy general counsel for Price Waterhouse.  “If Willie Nelson incurred losses, it was because of decisions he made.”

Nelson and his attorneys express confidence that the singer will win a large enough judgment from Price Waterhouse to pay the heavy tax debt.  The IRS has taken the precaution of slapping a lien on any judgment or settlement that may result from the case.  The agency also has liens on his future roayalties from records and songwriting.

The IRS didn’t seize every possession of Nelson’s in raids the night of Nov. 9, but agents either removed or padlocked enough of his belongings, including cash in bank accounts, to serously inconvenience the singer and his family.  For example, his daughter Lana has been told by the IRS to leave the Hays County ranch house owned by her father, and the IRS seized the Evergreen, Colo., ranch that had been awarded temporarily in 1989 to Nelson’s estranged wife, Connie, by a Travis County district court.  She now lives in San Diego with the couple’s teen-age daughter; their divorce is still pending.

Also taken were more than a dozen other properties including the boyhood home Nelson was restoring in Abbott, and the centerpiece of his life in Austin, the complex in the Village of Briarcliff that included a nine-hole golf course, a recording studio, his hilltop home and movie sets.  Nelson is most upset by the loss of the recording studion. “You can play golf in a lot of places, but the studio was really my little temple where i liked to go and make music, a little church,” he said.

The IRS allowed Nelson to keep his secluded beach house on Maui, two leased tour buses, and the suite of some condominiums near the recording studio. 

“I had a lot of things I owned, I needed to get rid of,” he said. “I had a lot of people around and needed to back off and stop supporting half the world so I could stop and look at my situation.  It’s give me time to take inventory,” said Nelson, who manages to put a positive slant on everything.

“I’m not completely broke — I did a show in Hawaiii and promoted it myself,” he said.  “We didn’t make a lot of money, but I’ve got spending money ’till I can get out on the road again.”

Although Nelson is reluctant to accept charity, McDavid and other wealthy friends may buy back Nelson’s studio and other properties when they are auctioned by the IRS in a couple of weeks, and then sell them back to Nelson.  McDavid suggests but won’t confirm that it has been discussed.

Nelson said he has no doubt he’ll get it back, “I really can’t imagine it being that big a problem because I’ve already had a lot of people say, ‘Let me know when I can help.’  Hopefully, we could get it worked out before it could go up for auction — that the IRS could see the (moneymaking) potential of the studio.”

His immediate goal, discussed at a meeting with IRS officials last week, is the return of dozens of master audio tapes seized by the agency and the use of his studio. To pay the tax debt, Nelson hopes to release one or more albums called the IRS Tapes, of unreleased material from the seized tapes, which he contends were taken wrongfully because they belong to his record company, CBS.

I found it on ebay: Hand-written lyrics by Willie Nelson

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

starting bid:  $400.00

“Heartaches Of A Fool” lyrics handwritten on lined paper and signed “to Jim Love Willie” in black felt tip pen.  On reverse it reads in part: “Written by Willie Nelson for an Episode of “The Rockford Files” Recorded in Malibu, Calif Tuesday August 22, 1978.  These are the original Lyrics Willie used on the music stand during the recording…”Accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from a Garner family member.  16 by 13 inches, framed 

PROVENANCE:  From the personal collection of the Garner family

Willie Nelson and Jessica Simpson Sing for the Troops in Iraq (2005)

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008


Willie joined Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey on a USO tour to entertain the troops overseas at the Ramstein Airbase in Germany, and to Iraq.  It was filmed, and broadcast on television as “Nick & Jessica’s Tour of Duty.”  They were joined by Big & Rich, and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who intereviewed soldiers for a “man on the street” segment. 

Willie and Jessica treated the crowd to a duet from movie “The Dukes of Hazzard”, the movie they starred in together, ‘These Boots are made For Walking.”   Watch it here:


Nick and Jessica pay homage to Bob Hope’s years of service to the troops with a special rendition of “Thanks for the Memories,” and the concert concludes with a performance of “America the Beautiful” performed by Nick and Jessica and all of their musical guests.

Nick and Jessica take a lesson from the pros, as Nick trains to fly an F-16 fighter jet and goes for the ride of his life, while Jessica stops by the rifle range to learn how to shoot various weapons used by the military. They also make a special visit to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and visit the injured men and women to thank them for their sacrifice and service. Then Nick and Jessica make wishes come true for some deserving service people as they reunite them with their loved ones and surprise them with special video messages from home.  

Willie Nelson

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Medical Marijuana for Hawaii

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008


In 2002, Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano signed Senate Bill 862 into law, which removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a signed statement from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and that the “potential benefits of medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks.”

Because of conflicts with federal law, Hawaii residents do not have a safe and effective way to obtain marijuana.  A bill before the legislature is asking that patients be allowed to form collective and co-operative operations enabling patients to have their needs met immediately. By employing a “certified facilitator,” it will ensure that patients will have access to the right strains of medical marijuana most suitable for their ailment. has information on how you can help the residents in their efforts.

Willie Nelson Interview (Washington Post)

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
by J. Freedom du Lac and David Malitz

Willie Nelson called for a brief interview, and all you got was this lousy 550-word Q&A. (Space considerations and all.)

So now, for the rest of the story: The Willie Nelson Q&A (Writer’s Cut).

Iconoclastic country star Willie Nelson never wants for work. In between rounds of golf, he stays busy touring, acting, advocating, writing and recording. “Moment of Forever” (out Tuesday) is his third new album in just 15 months. It was co-produced by Kenny Chesney, who also sings with Willie. Nelson called from the road. Again.

Moi: Kinky Friedman once wrote: “When Willie’s not playing golf, he’s mystical almost to the point of autism, which is not particularly helpful if you’re trying to interview him.” Is this interview going to be a disaster?
Willie:Which disaster are you talking about?

Moi: You tell me.
Willie: I don’t know. There’s been a chain of those. (Laughs.)

Moi: I can’t even imagine what the backstage conversations were like when you and Dylan toured together. What did you guys talk about?
Willie: We didn’t really get a chance to hang out a lot. But he came on the bus a couple of times. Once, I was doing an interview with High Times magazine and he exited fairly quickly.

Moi: Can you hold a conversation with him?
Willie: I guess so. He’s kind of like me, though. He’s not a long conversationalist. But I’ve always found him to be intelligent, and he’s engaged and interested as long as he wants to be.

(Read more after the jump.)

Moi: What was your last conversation with Johnny Cash about?
Willie: John would always call me when he needed a laugh, because I was always telling him jokes. He called me just after June had died and we talked about how hard that was for him. I miss him and all the guys who have moved on.

Moi: If an old, gnarled oak tree could sing, it would sound like Johnny. What kind of tree would your voice would be?
Willie: Oh, probably one of them old Spanish oaks.

Moi: When you perform live, your against-the-meter phrasing makes it impossible to sing along. Do you do that so you don’t have to hear your fans singing?
Willie: I like to watch them singing with me. But I trick ’em with the phrasing. I enjoy watching ’em stumble through a line that was supposed to go one way but went another.

Moi: And that keeps it interesting for you?
Willie: Yeah, that’s the big show. There’s just five or six of us on stage; but there’s a bunch of them out there putting on a huge show for us.

Moi: If you had to give up either golf or music, which one would you quit?
Willie: Since I don’t have to really do anything I don’t want to do anymore, I don’t have to answer that question. No offense.

Moi: Is it true that you bought your golf course so you could play without minding the rules?
Willie: It’s a lot easier if you own the golf course to make up your own rules. Like no more than 12 in a foursome. No breaking wind in the tee box. If you have a bad lie, you never have to tell a bad lie. I like that one. And par is whatever you want it to be — depending on what the bet is.

Moi: Maybe you should buy an island, too, and move there. Get yourself some sovereignty.
Willie: Well, I do live on Maui a lot of the time. It’s a lot like that there.

Moi: When’s the last time you felt like The Man was trying to keep you down?
Willie: You have to say which man. I used to say of all the people that don’t like me, just think of the millions that’s never heard of me. But I know a lot of people out there are tying to make a name for themselves. I’m not naive enough to think one of them guys isn’t trying to get his name in the paper. So we try to dodge those folks.

Moi: You’re not always successful, though.
Willie: No, not always. (Laughs.)

Moi: Do you name your golf clubs like you named your guitar and your bus?
Willie: I rename ’em after each shot.

Moi: Like what? “You SOB”?
Willie: Yeah, things like that. I have a wall at the place in Maui with a bunch of golf clubs that are defective — the ones that wouldn’t work. It’s a big wall with a lot of clubs.

Moi: What sort of insurance policy do you have for your guitar, Trigger?
Willie: I don’t take my eyes off him. That’s the best policy. There’s no reason to try to put a value on Trigger because unless it’s the will of God or something, nothing is gonna happen to him. So I don’t have him insured.

Moi: How’d you learn to play like that, anyway?
Willie: I listened to a lot of different guitar players when I was growing up. I started listening to blues and jazz – Billy Bird and Django Reinhardt – and Bob Wills’s band. When I play, I just put together all the things I’ve borrowed and what I’ve managed to come up with on my own.

Moi: Are there any contemporary guitarists whose work you admire?
Willie: Derek Trucks – you know him? He’s a real good friend of mine; just visited with him not too long ago and jammed. Had a big time. He’s one of the best guitar players out there.

Moi: What’s an old outlaw like you doing with Kenny Chesney?
Willie: It turns out we have a lot in common and like a lot of the same things. He’s a good writer and good singer, and he’s good in the studio. He has a real good ear. I can see why he’s successful.

Moi: He’s no Jessica Simpson.
Willie: No, he’s not. (Laughs.) But he is who he is.

Moi: Is “Crazy” the greatest song you ever wrote?
Willie: It might be. I hate to compare ’em, but “Crazy” would definitely be up there.

Moi: If you’d written “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other),” that might get some write-in votes.
Willie: Ned Sublette wrote that song. Another one that I just wrote is “Brokeback Mountain.” It’s probably not something you want to go around singing, though.

Moi: You’ve been pretty prolific lately. Shouldn’t you be slowing down as you approach your 75th birthday?
Willie: I don’t think that’s a good idea. What’s the old saying? Don’t look back; somebody might be catching up. Well, don’t even slow down, much less look back.

Moi: It’s like Ben Franklin said: “In this world, nothing is certain but death, taxes and at least one new Willie album every year.” Though maybe not the taxes.
Willie: I think those are optional. But it’s mandatory that you get a record of mine every year; we’ll just put in on your phone bill.

Moi: You cut a new song, “You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore.” I think you’re pretty funny, though obviously that song is not about me.
Willie: It’s not. But the video, with Johnny Knoxville, is really hilarious. He’ll be going on MTV to talk about it when it comes out.

Moi: If this music thing didn’t work out, you could have had a career in stand-up.
Willie: More like fall-down comedy.

Moi: Kinky was wrong. You’re making a lot of sense today.
Willie: Well, it’s difficult for Kinky to really know when someone is making sense or not. With all due respect — which isn’t much.

Moi: Complete this sentence: If elected President of the United States of America, I, Willie Hugh Nelson…
Willie: Will stop the [expletive] war!


By the by, you must watch this video of Chesney performing “Stay A Little Longer” with Willie and Toby Keith. Chesney absolutely butchers his verse, then has the temerity to say: “I love that song!”

Sure, Kenny. Sure. You. Do.


Willie Nelson and Sara Evans at the Mother of all Tail Gate Parties in Phoenix (2/3/08)

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Country superstar Sara Evans will be performing for VIPs at the NFL Super Bowl XLII Tailgate Party outside of the University of Phoenix Stadium on game day February 3.  After performing a full concert for those in attendance, Evans will join Willie Nelson on-stage during his set to sing the Willie classic “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.”  The duet will be televised on the FOX pre-game festivities.  To make the day even more special, Evans will be attending her first Super Bowl game with her son Avery and friends. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be performing at the Super Bowl,” shares Evans. “It’s the first time for me so I’m taking my son, his friend and my nephew with me and we’re going to have the best time. And of course, getting to sing with Willie Nelson is definitely one of the high points to my entire career!”

Willie Nelson Releases 1,032nd album today

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008


I’m glad someone’s counting!
by Jeffrey Lee Puckett

Willie Nelson releases his 736th album today with “Moments of Forever.” Counting best-of collections, it’s actually his 1,032nd.

This one has been percolating for a while as Nelson and producer Kenny Chesney have taken their sweet time. Apparently there were frequent beach and cocktail breaks. Nelson wrote a couple of new songs and covers material by Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan and Randy Newman.