Archive for May, 2010

Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic (2000)

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Monday, May 31st, 2010

The Leonard Peltier Story

Monday, May 31st, 2010

The Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute reports that Preston Randolph is pre-production for the movie, ‘Wind Chases the Sun The Leonard Peltier Story:  The imprisonment of an innocent man by the lies of a guilty government.’   Randolp and the Cactus Films production company is calling out for pre-production funds, and need to raise a total of $30,000 to cover costs in order to begin work on the film.

Between the years of 1973 and 1975, over sixty Native Americans were murdered during the Reign of Terror on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. On June 26, 1975 tension erupted with a shootout on the Jumping Bull Ranch between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)  and the American Indian Movement (AIM) members resulting in the deaths of two FBI agents and one American Indian.

In 1977, Indian Activist, Leonard Peltier was convicted for the murder of the two FBI agents and since has served thirty-four years in Federal prison.

For more information on the film and how you can support this project: and

Mr. Peltier released this note:

Willie Nelson: “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Photo:  Sam Jones

Willie Nelson has changed the lives of thousands of people, including my own.  More important, Willie Nelson also changed his life — and I do mean for the better.  After beating his hard head against the music business in Nashville during the fifties and sixties, Willie was on hard times.  He’d long ago sold some of his best songs — like “Night Life” and “Family Bible” — for a few tens in folding money.  His house in Nashiville had burned down, and he was sick and tired of trying to be something that he was not.

Making the wisest decision of his life, Willie decided that he cared more about his family, friends, and simply making music than he did about trying to be a star.  Moving home to Texas he wrapped himself in a concern of indifference to oher people’s opionions, and eventually unfolded his new wings and soared.

Willie puts it a little more simply.

“When I started counting my blessings,” he says, “my whole life turned around.”

– Turk Pipkin
   Introduction, “The Tao of Willie”
  by Willie Nelson, with Turk Pipkin

Willie Nelson: Every Show is a Blessing

Monday, May 31st, 2010

“Since life is a journey, let’s think of it as a road trip.  Ahead of you are untold opportunities for joy, learning, sharing, and a lot of fantastic sunsets and sunrises.  And every one of these opportunities will be at the intersection of your trip and a road called Now.

Unlike a real highway, it’s not a problem if you doze off and coast right through the corner of Now and Happiness avenues, because life is an infinite progression of these intersections, and each of them holds opportunity, surprise, and the promise of a smile.

But if you’re asleep at the wheel your whole life, you’re gonna miss a lot of places called Now.

Thousands of pages and millions of words have been written about living in the moment, but it is not a complicated idea.  All you have to do is open your eyes — and all your senses – to the world around you.

The easiest mistake on earth is to forget to appreciate what you have right now.

Take last year, for instance, when my hand started  knotting up on me and I found it almost impossible to play guitar.   I went to see a bunch of doctors and they got worried looks on their faces, and that put a worried look on my face, and that got my band and crew looking really worried.   When I don’t work, they don’t work.  And we all like to work. 

So I had to take a few months off for surgery.  And while my hand was healing more slowly than I wanted it to, I had a of time to appreciate all those gigs that I’d sometimes let myself think were just the okay gigs.

Away from the road, I realized that every show is a blessing.

I’m not trying to say that nothing goes wrong in my life.  Or in yours.  Your love life may not be perfect — okay, chances are your love life is definitely NOT perfect.   Work may have something lacking, and you may be a few coins shy of that Jamaican vacation you’ve been dreaming about.   But those are not causes of unhappiness.   Those are distractions, obstacles, and challenges to overcome.

You may carry a big chip on your shoulder about things that happened to you in the past, but that chip is nothing but a weight that’s anchoring you to intersections you’ve already passed.   Quit looking in the rear view mirror and set your sights on the road ahead.”

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

Hear Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie (Folk Uke) on the Red Peters Music Hour tonight

Monday, May 31st, 2010  

Cathy Guthrie and Amy Nelson will be featured on the Red Peters Comedy Music hour tonight on Howard 101 (Sirius/XM Radio).  Tune in at 7 and 11 p.m. (EST) to hear Folk Uke’s, ‘Shit Makes the Flowers Grow.

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Willie Nelson interview with Irish Times

Monday, May 31st, 2010

by Joe Breen

On his 77th birthday, with an acclaimed new album of classic country songs, and three Irish shows on the way, Willie Nelson is not letting the time slip away. 

‘Yes, I’m easy to get on with – as long as I get my way.”

You could never accuse Willie Nelson of overselling himself.  He doesn’t have to.  It is 2pm US eastern time when we finally hook up. He is sitting in Morgantown, West Virginia, resting before a show in the university town. It is his 77th birthday, a fact that when reminded of it, he quietly acknowledges with a soft “thank you very much. I appreciate that.”

Nelson is basking in the glow of yet another spike in his long and colourful career. His current album, with the definitive title of Country Music , is his best stab at his core genre for some time and he knows it. “It’s the latest one, so I like it . . . I think it is one of the better ones we’ve done in a while.” Produced by T-Bone Burnett, the man responsible for the acclaimed Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album, Raising Sand (“he’s just a great producer”), Country Music revisits a rich selection of country classics from the music’s heyday in the 40s, 50s and 60s, while remaining faithful to the original sound. This was important for Nelson as the songs are “the kind of country music I grew up listening to”.

Born in Abbott, Texas, in 1933, Willie Nelson started playing guitar and writing songs at a young age. It was a hard time, growing up in the shadow of the Great Depression. “It’s always tough for the working man. It’s been tough ever since I can remember. When I grew up on a farm it was tough for the working man. The poor man does and the rich man gets the money. That’s about the way life is. And I don’t know whether that is ever going to change.”

After graduation from high school he flirted with various careers, from disc jockey to agriculture college, before eventually moving to Nashville. There he got a songwriting contract and wrote some of his most famous songs which became hits for, among others, Patsy Cline (Crazy) and Ray Price ( Nightlife ). This fertile period also produced other classics such as Funny How Time Slips Away . However, while his songs were helping others, Nelson’s own career was proving a hard struggle.

“Well, that’s exactly true. That’s because in the beginning my singing style didn’t catch on like the songs did. So I was successful at writing songs long before I was successful at singing and selling records. It had a lot to do with my phrasing and everything – it was a little bit different for the hardcore down-the-centre country music people. It took a while to catch on.” Indeed, it was not until the early 1970s, when Nelson landed back in Texas, this time in Austin, that his own career took off in earnest.

After a decade in straitlaced Nashville, Nelson literally let his hair down (and then tied it in braids) in his native state and started making the kind of music that would become known as “outlaw country”. He wasn’t alone. Waylon Jennings was there, as was Kris Kristofferson. Later, in the mid-1980s, these three, joined by Johnny Cash, would form country “supergroup” The Highwaymen.

Something strange had happened. From being a writer of other stars’ hits, he now became a hit singer of other people’s songs. Asked did he suffer from writer’s block, he replies: “I’m not that kind of writer. I usually have to have something to write about. It’s kind of like labour pains when I get an idea that’s so good I have to write about it. [But] I’m that critical of my own songs, I don’t write much and it doesn’t bother me much that I don’t.”

His writing took a back seat to his singing as the hits kept coming and his fame grew throughout the 1980s and 1990s with a series of albums, some of which surprised his loyal country following. “I like change, a challenge. I like to try different things like Stardust [his hit album of standards from the American songbook]. It’s easy to do San Antonio Rose but I always like to do different things. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t, but I always have fun trying . . .”

Asked to describe his favourite music, he replies: “Somewhere between Bob Wills [legendary Texas western swing star] and Frank Sinatra there is a music I really can get into and like.”

Today, he has no idea how many albums have been released under his name. “There’s a lot of it out there and there is no way to control what gets released. I’ve recorded so much in the past that I’m sure it is going to keep coming back at me. As long as I can come out with a CD like Country Music every once in a while, that’s OK.”

He is quite aware that the genre of country music has run into difficulty, into a kind of artistic stasis. “I think we’ve been guilty of trying to branch out a little, of trying to cross all boundaries and sell in all markets: to be all things to everybody, and I’m not sure we can be that.” However, he is cool to the suggestion that country has a right-wing inclination: “Well, I don’t really know what to say about that . . . it seems to me that country music originated with country people, mountain people, who sang their music. And I don’t think it was right-wing or any wing. It was just honesty, it was the way people thought and felt.”

Aside from his musical adventures, Willie Nelson has also made major public stands: in Democratic politics, as a supporter of the peace lobby, as a founder of FarmAid (concerts to help distressed farmers) and, famously, as a leading figure in the campaign to legalise cannabis. His PR assistant had warned that he was reluctant to speak of these issues, particularly the latter, and he proves true to her word. Asked how publicly engaged he is, he replies: “I really don’t know how to answer that.” Pressed about his public role as an American icon, he says: “I don’t know. I’m just an individual. I think about things I would like to happen and that’s about it. There’s been some great FarmAids over the years, and at least we have been able to bring attention to the plight of the small farmer. I feel that an entertainer or a celebrity who can do something should try to do it. It’s that simple.”

Asked about the impact of right fringe groups such as the so-called Tea Party movement on the Obama presidency, he opts instead to state that he thinks Obama is “doing all right . . . The economy is bad everywhere and the quicker the economy turns around . . . but we’ll be fine, we’ll pull through.” He also has a neat line in soft-spoken self-deprecation.  Invited to describe his distinctive, character-filled voice, he whispers: “Old.”

As a dope-smoking, braid-wearing, peace-loving 77-year-old singer of country, reggae and whatever else takes his fancy, Nelson is predictably strong on the role of the American Individual. “One thing we’re proud of over here, and especially in Texas where I come from – we’ve always looked at Texas as being another nation anyway – I feel a lot of us are independent thinkers and we always have to fight our way through. If we didn’t have to fight for it, it probably isn’t worth it. But we always manage to keep our pride and fight for what we believe in. Americans and Texans will always do that.”

The clock is ticking over our time but he is happy, finally, to explain what keeps him going: “I think it’s the day-to-day challenge of getting up and seeing what you have to do each day. I don’t think I would be happy to wake up to nothing to do, to have nothing to look forward to. I still get a kick out of playing music, travelling, talking to people, debating this, arguing that – I just kinda like to get out there and mix it up with the folks.”

Country Music is available on Rounder Records. Willie Nelson and his band play three shows in Ireland in June: the O2, Dublin (3rd); Gleneagles Hotel, Killarney (4th) and the Royal Theatre, Castlebar (5th)

read entire article at:

Heads up, lucky Europeans! Willie Nelson’s on his way over

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Willie Nelson @ Paradiso 2 by Jelmer de Haas.

Photo of Willie Nelson in Amsterdam, 2004, thanks to

June 3, 2010 02 Arena Dublin, Ireland
June 4, 2010 Inec Killamey, Ireland
June 5, 2010 Royal Theatre Castlebar, Ireland
June 7, 2010 Caird Hall Dundee, UK
June 8, 2010 Clyde Auditorium Glasgow, Scotland
June 9, 2010 Edinburg Playhouse Edinburg, UK
June 10, 2010 Apollo Manchester, UK
June 11, 2010 Apollo Hammersmith London, UK
June 13, 2010 Vega Main Hall Copenhagen
June 14, 2010 Cirkus Sweden
June 15, 2010 Wrigthegarden Langesund, Norway
June 17, 2010 Tempodrom Berlin, Germany
June 18, 2010 Melkweg Amsterdam
June 19, 2010 Freilichtbuhne Stuttgart, Germany
June 20, 2010 Stadthalle Vienna, Austria
June 21, 2010 Circus Krone Munich, Germany
June 23, 2010 Grosser Festival Basel, Switzerland
June 24, 2010 Ancienne Belgique Brussells, Belgium
June 25, 2010 Glastonbury Festival Glastonbury, UK
June 26, 2010 Olympia Paris, France
July 4, 2010 The BackYard Austin, TX
July 18, 2010 Akron Civic Theater Akron, OH
July 20, 2010 Sovereign Performing Arts Cntr. Reading, PA
July 21, 2010 Patriots Theater War Memorial Trenton, NJ
July 23, 2010 nTelos Wireless Pavilion Portsmouth, VA
July 24, 2010 Charlottesville Pavilion Charlottesville, VA
July 25, 2010 Pier Six Pavilion Baltimore, MD
July 26, 2010 Luhrs Center Shippensburg, PA
July 28, 2010 Radio City Music Hall with Levon Helm NYC, NY
July 29, 2010 CMAC Canandaigua, NY
July 30, 2010 MGM Grand Theater Foxwoods Mashantucket, CT
July 31, 2010 Ives Concert Park Danbury, CT
August 1, 2010 Community Theater Mayo Cntr Morristown, NJ
August 3, 2010 Filene Center at Wolf Trap Vienna, VA
August 4, 2010 Count Basie Theater Red Bank, NJ
August 5, 2010 Community Arts Center Williamsport, PA
August 6, 2010 Ceasars Circus Max Theatre Atlantic City, NJ
August 8, 2010 Mountain Park Holyoke, MA
August 11, 2010 Merrill Auditorium Portland, ME
August 12, 2010 Cape Cod Melody Tent Hyannis, MA
August 13, 2010 House of Blues Boston, MA
August 14, 2010 Meadows Casino Washington, PA
August 15, 2010 Seneca Allegany Casino Salamanca, NY
September 3, 2010 Meadow Village Pavillion Big Sky, MT
September 4, 2010 Snow King Amphitheater Jackson, WY
September 5, 2010 Red Rocks Amphitheater Morrison, CO
September 7, 2010 Botanical Gardens Boise, ID
September 8, 2010 Knitting Factory Reno, NV
September 10, 2010 Red Butte Gardens Salt Lake City, UT
September 11, 2010 Cannery Casino Hotel North Las Vegas, NV
September 12, 2010 Ironstone Amphitheater Murphys, CA
September 13, 2010 Wente Vineyards Livermore, TX
September 14, 2010 Hanford Fox Theater Hanford, CA
September 16, 2010 Puyallup Fair Puyallup, WA
September 17, 2010 Les Schwab Amphitheater Bend, OR
September 18, 2010 Edgefield Manor Troutdale, OR
September 19, 2010 Cuthbert Amphitheater Eugene, OR
September 20, 2010 The Catalist Santa Cruz, CA
September 22, 2010 The Mountain Winery Saratoga, CA
September 23, 2010 Santa Barbara Bowl Santa Barbara, CA
September 24, 2010 Greek Theater Los Angeles, CA
September 26, 2010 Harrahs Rincon Valley Center, CA
October 5, 2010 Rialto Square Theater Joliet, IL
October 6, 2010 Grand Theater Wausau, WI
October 8, 2010 Mystic Lake Casino Prior Lake, MN
October 9, 2010 Mystic Lake Casino Prior Lake, MN
October 10, 2010 7 Flags Event Center Clive, IA
October 12, 2010 Northern Lights Theater Milwaukee, WI
October 15, 16 2010 L Auberge du Lac Casino Lake Charles, LA

**** Please always check with the venue, or Willie’s official website at to confirm anything  you read here on this tour page.

Nora Jones and the Little Willies sing Willie Nelson’s, “I Gotta Get Drunk”

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

The Little Willies perform a tune by their namesake Willie Nelson at the Living Room in NYC.  Band members:  Lee Alexander – bass,  Jim Campilongo – telecaster, Norah Jones – vocals, Richard Julian – vocals & acoustic guitar, Dan Rieser – drums.    Video by Anthony Pepitone.

“The Reflectacles blew the spectacles off the crowd” (Shelly Brown review)

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Hi Linda,

I was one of those privileged to attend the Folk Uke, Reflectacles, Willie concert in Maui last weekend.

Sure, we noticed his lovely locks were shorn, but most of us were too busy revelling in the incredible company of the man, and his talented offspring’s music.

I suppose quite a few of the folks at the concert were actually spell-bound. I certainly was after I spotted Kris Kristofferson in the control booth drinking a beer and laughing with Willie, just like they did in the Highwaymen days.

Kris seemed to particularly enjoy Cathy Guthrie and Amy Nelson’s witty Folk Uke performance, despite their insistence on pointing out how often they “mess up”. Eventually the crowd looked forward to these instances and broke out into a cheer for the gals when they had one of these brief but charming interruptions.

The reflectacles blew the spectacles off the crowd with their original music and engaging performance, so when Willie showed up with a new hairdo, it was not the highlight of the evening.

Regards, Shelly

Thanks, Shelly, for the stories and the pictures.

Happy Birthday, Johnny Gimble

Sunday, May 30th, 2010


Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Johnny Gimble

May 30, 1926, Johnny Gimble was born in Tyler, Texas

UK release of ‘Willie and the Wheel’ on June 7, 2010

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Proper Records and Bismeaux Records are very pleased to announce the UK release of ‘Willie & The Wheel’, an album collaboration between Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel on June 7th. A concept thirty years in the making, Willie & The Wheel is a collection of classic western swing songs hand-picked by the late Jerry Wexler.

“Jerry wanted us to do this album and I’m glad we got to do it for him, “says Willie Nelson. “And that he heard it before he passed on.”

“Willie & the Wheel is a CD whose time has come,” says Ray Benson. “Jerry Wexler originally came up with this concept back when Willie was on the Atlantic label. But, before the record could be made Willie left Atlantic for CBS records and so the idea was shelved.”

Better known as ‘Mr. R&B’, Jerry Wexler was a great fan of the original Western Swing bands like Bob Wills, Milton Brown, Cliff Bruner – all first introduced to him while he was studying journalism in Kansas City. Willie Nelson also had grown up on western swing and it has always figured heavily into his approach to music. Finally Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel (hailed as the modern kings of western swing) were added, resulting in a sublime album, surefooted in its mastery but still as playful and daring as the originals. Such a fitting collaboration certainly begs the question as to why this hasn’t happened already.

In 2003 Jerry Wexler, who was retired and living in Florida, called his old friend Ray. “’Ray!’” Benson recalls, “’I’m getting rid of my LPs! They collect dust and it bothers me. I have recorded them all and I am sending you all my western swing albums!’ I told Jerry thank you very much and how much I appreciated him thinking of me. Well, a few weeks later a box arrived with twenty or so LP’s from Jerry. They were collections of the music originally on 78 rpm records reissued on 33 1/3 rpm LPs and although I had a few of them they were a welcome addition to my collection. I noticed that a number of the song titles had two initials next to them: ‘WN.’ I didn’t think much about it but when I talked to Jerry to thank him I asked what they were. He explained that ‘WN’ stood for Willie Nelson.”

In 2007, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price and Asleep at the Wheel set out on the wildly successful Last of the Breed tour and PBS television broadcast – showcasing classic western swing and Texas country music. Not long after, Ray Benson got the call from Willie and his manager.

According to Ray, they asked, “’Jerry Wexler thinks now’s the time to do the western swing CD. You’ve got the LPs don’t you?’ It took me a second to realize what they were talking about and once I put two and two together I answered ‘Yes of course!’ I went to the shelf and pulled out the LP’s. Sure enough there were the penned-in ‘WN’s’ by certain songs and so I went to work.”

From a catalogue of nearly 40 selections Jerry and Ray painstakingly narrowed the list down to twelve. Always the producer with a vision, Jerry was involved in every way. He insisted that some of the tracks should include horns as well as a return to traditional fiddles and lap steel guitar associated with western swing.

As the sessions concluded and Willie finished his vocals the tracks were sent to Jerry.

“To my delight and relief,” says Ray, “he loved them.”

Not yet satisfied with the collection, Ray determined that an instrumental piece was – instrumental. For Ray, one tune kept coming up: South, originally done by Bennie Moten, it was also the song that Bob Wills opened his shows with for a number of years.

“I called Jerry up and he was in total agreement. He also informed me that South was a million seller when it came out in 1927. We recorded the song about the same time we were doing a benefit for Habitat for Humanity with David Letterman in Austin so it was natural for our good friend Paul Shaffer to join us for the session. We were also fortunate enough to have the talented Vince Gill lend his electric guitar licks on this track.”

“It was a sad day indeed when the news came in that Jerry Wexler had passed away,” says Ray. “We’re so proud to have had this opportunity to make this record with him.”

Willie and The Wheel
1) Hesitation Blues
2) Sweet Jennie Lee
3) Fan It
4) I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None O’ This Jelly Roll
5) Oh! You Pretty Woman
6) Bring It On Down To My House
7) Right Or Wrong
8) Corrine Corrina
9) I’m Sittin’ On Top Of The World
10) Shame On You
11) South (featuring Paul Shaffer and Vince Gill)
12) Won’t You Ride In My Little Red Wagon

Dave Sanger – Drums
Dave Miller and Kevin Smith – Bass
Floyd Domino and John Michael Whitby – Piano
Jason Roberts – Fiddle, Electric Mandolin, Vocals
Eddie Rivers – Steel Guitar
Ray Benson – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals
Willie Nelson – Vocals
Elizabeth McQueen – Vocals
Sam Seifert – Acoustic Guitar
Dave Alexander – Trumpet
Mike Mordecai – Trombone
Jonathan Doyle – Clarinet
Paul Shaffer – Piano (Featured on “South”)
Vince Gill – Electric Guitar (Featured on “South”)

Executive Producer: Jerry Wexler
Produced by Ray Benson

Willie Nelson’s Tribute to Cindy Walker

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

release date:  March 14, 2006

  1. Bubbles in My Beer
  2. Not That I Care
  3. Take Me In Your Arms and Hold Me
  4. Don’t be Ashamed of your Age
  5. You Don’t Know Me
  6. Sugar Moon
  7. I Don’t Care
  8. Cherokee Maiden
  9. The Warm Red Wine
  10. Miss Molly
  11. Dusty Skies
  12. It’s All Your Fault
  13. I Was Just Walkin’ Out The Door

Ms. Walker pronounces Mr. Nelson’s latest CD “wonderful.” While she was not directly involved, the disc does feature a number of her peers. The fiddler Johnny Gimble, credited as session leader, played with Wills’s band for many years, in addition to frequent stints with Mr. Nelson. Fred Foster is a close friend of Ms. Walker’s who produced Roy Orbison’s hit version of her “Dream Baby,” as well as her sole LP, the 1964 “Words and Music.” His arrangements on “Songs of Cindy Walker,” which include backing vocals by the Jordanaires, are retro but clean-lined, with a modern use of space.

Cindy Walker
by Will Hermes
March 13, 2006

At this point, Willie Nelson is a national monument. One of country music’s most fertile songwriters, tireless performers and distinctive vocal interpreters, he is also a longtime ambassador between red and blue states of mind; he has been pals with presidents, allegedly smoked marijuana on the White House roof (and just about everywhere else), founded Farm Aid to assist family farms and recently launched his own biodiesel fuel company.

And Mr. Nelson has made dozens of records and this year he’s on a roll. In addition to campaigning for hurricane relief and the usual endless touring, he has released ” in light of the media attention surrounding the hit film “Brokeback Mountain” a touching version of Ned Sublette’s gay cowboy homage “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each Other)” as an exclusive single on iTunes. And this month, Mr. Nelson, 72, will release a record of pop and country classics titled “Songs of Cindy Walker.”

So much for the lethargy of pot smokers.

In addition to being a tremendously likable, laid-back set of classics with jaunty, western swing-flavored arrangements by the veteran Nashville producer Fred Foster, “Songs of Cindy Walker” spotlights another monument of American music, one who might have been forgotten had she ever been properly known in the first place. Ms. Walker, who lives and works in the small East Texas town of Mexia, is a prolific songwriter whose works have been covered by Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Ernest Tubb, Roy Orbison and many others. Her tunes ” including “You Don’t Know Me,” “Dream Baby,” “In the Misty Moonlight,” “I Don’t Care” made regular appearances on the top 10 charts beginning in the 1940’s and are still covered today.

With hundreds of recorded songs to her credit, she is known as the dean of Texas songwriting and is generally considered the foremost female composer in country music history; in fact, the late Harlan Howard called her “the greatest living songwriter of country music” and he had some claim to that title himself.

“Her work as a writer, spanning so many decades, and still getting things cut, is unparalleled,” said Eddie Stubbs, country music historian and announcer for the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts on WSM-AM in Nashville. “A lot of the songs she wrote have become standards, although people may not know Cindy Walker wrote them.”

A good example of her direct, finely chiseled art is “You Don’t Know Me.” A hit for Eddy Arnold in 1956, Ray Charles in 1962 and Mickey Gilley in 1981, it was re-recorded by Mr. Charles with Norah Jones for 2004’s best-selling “Genius Loves Company,” and is the lead single for Mr. Nelson’s record. It telegraphs the silent longing of a man for a female friend:

You give your hand to me and then you say hello
And I can hardly speak my heart is beating so
And anyone could tell you think you know me well
But you don’t know me.

Some of Ms. Walker’s best-known songs — “Miss Molly,” “Cherokee Maiden,” “Sugar Moon” â” were written for Bob Wills, a fellow East Texan and master of the country-jazz hybrid known as western swing. In fact, she wrote more than 50 songs for Mr. Wills, the Texas Playboys bandleader.

“Wills was a big hero of mine,” Mr. Nelson said by telephone from his tour bus before a show near Fresno, Calif. “And Cindy is from Mexia, Tex., which is only a few miles from Abbott, where I was born and grew up. I didn’t know her personally in those days, but I was well familiar with her writing. I told her years ago I wanted to do an album of her songs; she’d probably given up on me.”

She hadn’t, but she was hardly holding her breath ” she was too busy writing. Ms. Walker began writing songs when she was around 12, and until a recent stretch of ill health, she never stopped. Each morning, she woke up before dawn, poured herself some black coffee, headed upstairs to her little studio, sat down at her pink-trimmed Royal typewriter (which graces the cover of Mr. Nelson’s CD) and set to work.

“Songwriting is all I ever did, love,” Ms. Walker said in an interview last month from her home. “I still can’t cook, to this day!”


Willie Nelson every Saturday night

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Budrock “The Illuminator” Prewitt, Lighting Director for Willie Nelson and Family,  took this picture, and shares it at