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Archive for November, 2010
Thanks to Mark Hughes, of the Willie Nelson General Store for sending along pictures he took at the celebration at the Ryman in Nashville to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. The show featured Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Terry Clark, Lorrie Morgan, Little Jimmy, Mel Tillis and others.
Visit the Willie Nelson General Store when you are in Nashville, or you can visit their website to see their extensive collection featuring Willie Nelson and music history at
FARM AID 25 REPLAY
SIRIUS XM Willie’s Place (Sirius 64, XM 13)
Sunday, November 28 1-8 pm ET
Today you have another chance to listen to the great music and interviews from farm Aid 25. SIRIUS XM Willie’s Place celebrated Thanksgiving and America’s family farmers that put good food on our tables, with a special rebroadcast of the 25th annual Farm Aid concert “Growing Hope for America,” held last month at Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI. If you missed the broadcast on Thanksgiving day, here’s another chance this afternoon.
This seven-hour holiday special will feature complete sets from Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews (with Tim Reynolds) — as well as performances from Jamey Johnson, Norah Jones, Jeff Tweedy, Band of Horses, Jason Mraz, Amos Lee, Randy Rogers and The Promise of the Real, featuring Willie’s son Lukas Nelson – along with exclusive backstage interviews with Willie’s Place DJ Dallas Wayne.
To sign up and listen today: www.sirius.com
by Michelle Jones
Estel Gallery’s Art Defining Music features work by seven artists — Cole Closser, Wes Freed, Steve Keene, Brian Kershisnik, Jon Langford, Bob Masse and J. Michael Nelson. The gallery will host a reception for the artists from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
This group of visual artists has been associated with a number of musical artists, including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Pavement, the Dave Matthews Band, Tori Amos and Hillbilly Casino.
In a suite of portraits by Jon Langford, bright blue and red backgrounds contrast with black and white images of iconic musicians. A musician himself, Langford is a member of The Mekons and the Waco Brothers. His Jerry Lee Lewis captures the singer mid-wail, and a cigarette hangs languidly from Johnny Cash’s mouth in Cash in London 1966.
Large etched wood portraits by Steve Keene, one of JD Souther and one of Linda Ronstadt, hang nearby.
Limited edition giclée prints of Bob Masse’s poster designs include one of Stevie Nicks channeling a pre-Raphaelite muse in a burgundy dress with roses pooling around her. Masse was one of the definitive poster designers of the 1960s, and his work maintains a graphic link to the psychedelic designs of the West Coast music scene, particularly those associated with the Fillmore and other Bay Area venues.
Art Defining Music remains on view through Dec. 18 at Estel Gallery, 115 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. The gallery’s hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Friday and noon-3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call 251-8997 or go to www.estelgallery.com.
Micah Nelson has a website featuring his art at:
“Willie Nelson arrested in Texas for 6 ounces of cannabis; God, who produces it naturally across the globe, still at large” John FugelsangSaturday, November 27th, 2010
By Scott Galindez
n a major coup for the border patrol’s war on drug smuggling on the Mexican border, authorities seized 6 ounces of marijuana and detained notorious pot-smoking outlaw Willie Nelson. Nelson was detained after a border patrol officer heroically boarded his tour bus after detecting a pungent scent in the air
US Border Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks said Nelson’s tour bus was stopped at a checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas, at about 9 a.m. on Friday. He said an officer smelled pot when a door was opened and a search turned up 6 ounces of marijuana.
Brooks said Nelson was among three people arrested.
Nelson and his crew were reportedly on their way to Austin following a gig in California. The arrest did not take place on the border, but at a checkpoint well inside the United States.
When news of the arrest leaked to Twitter, tweeters were shocked and Nelson shot up to the top of the trending list.
Comedian John Fugelsang pointed out that while Willie Nelson was arrested in Texas for 6 ounces of cannabis, God, who produces it naturally across globe, is still at large.
A popular retweet: “They arrested Willie Nelson for weed?!? That’s like arresting Santa for breaking and entering.”
Rock guitarist Slash tweeted: “All things considered, Willie Nelson should have a federal issue, no limit marijuana license. End of story.”
However, others tweeted that they would be able to sleep better knowing that Nelson is off the streets.
It didn’t take long for Sage Francis to start a new “hash” tag: #FreeWilly.
According to multiple media sources Nelson was released after posting bail in the amount of $2,500.
While I mixed in a little satire, the sad thing is that this is a true story. How many of you would have even looked for the pot? I think I would have told Willie to make sure the driver didn’t get stoned, and to have a nice day. After I got his autograph of course.
At the Farm Aid Concert in Milwaukee last October, Farm Aid Board Member Neil Young implored everyone attending to “Read the Labels”. Know what’s in the food you’re eating and know where it’s coming from.
This is the label from soap made by Margie Lemons and the folks at Hill Country Haiku. Her soap is the best, it’s all natural, it smells wonderful, lasts forever, and her family supports Farm Aid. What more could you ask for from a soap?
If you live in Texas, near Austin, you can meet her and buy your soap directly from her at the Under One Roof Artists Coop, at 106 Wimberley Square, Wimberley, TX (Look for the RED door), and at the Hope Farmers’ Market, in Downtown Austin on December 5th and 19th. Also, you can visit her website at www.HillCountryHaiku.com for more information about her soap. Try some; you’ll thank me later.
Lots of great pictures of Willie Nelson and Family at
Watch Paula Nelson’s music video of her song sung with Willie Nelson — “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” at the GAC (Great American Country) television website. Look under “Videos” — it’s the #6 top pick right now.
This duet appears on Paula’s latest album, Little City, which is available for purchase at cdbaby.com and on iTunes.
Willie Nelson arrested by Border Patrol — one of their 70 – 100 drug-related arrests a week at checkpointSaturday, November 27th, 2010
by Jeff Taylor
All kinds of wrong here.
First, understand that the Border Patrol runs its own TSA-like operations across the Southwest — throwing up “checkpoints” across federal interstates to harass US citizens because it is easier than patrolling the actual border. It was at one such papers-please interrogation site on I-10 in Sierra Blanca, TX that Willie Nelson’s tour bus rolled up on Friday.
A wily and courageous Border Patrol agent smelled pot — gasp! — and arrested Nelson. Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West via the El Paso Times:
“It’s kind of surprising, but I mean we treat him like anybody else,” West said.
“He could get 180 days in county jail, which if he does, I’m going to make him cook and clean,” West said. “He can wear the stripy uniforms just like the other ones do.”
A court date has yet to be set.
The Border Patrol checkpoint along Interstate 10 at Sierra Blanca averages 10 to 15 drug-related arrests a day West said, and he expects several more arrests during the weekend as holiday travelers pack the road.
Uh, sheriff — no it is not surprising. It is Willie Nelson. Perhaps one of the best known pot smokers on the planet. And why oh why is the Border Patrol making 70 to 100 “drug-related arrests” a week at a single US interstate barricade? That is not its job.
Mother Earth News
Farm Aid’s Founder:Â Willie Nelson
It’s midwinter in Tampa, Florida, and as usual the weather is warm going on stifling. Willie Nelson really needs the air conditioner humming peacefully in his mobile home away from home, the Silver Eagle Honeysuckle Rose.
In his own, quiet, careful way, Willie’s all business today. Waiting in the cool, dark comfort of the bus for the horde of people his presence will draw to town tonight, he’s working hard: poring over snapshots of himself and his sister Bobbie outside the Abbott, Texas, church in which they learned to sing, for the cover of a genuine hard-core Christian mail-order gospel album; making little decisions about the set he and his band of honky-tonk gypsies will play tonight; ordering up a carefully nutritious chicken dinner from the kitchen bus that travels with his five-vehicle caravan, then forgetting to eat it; talking business with little haste or waste of words or energy, on the radio telephone at his elbow.
The business concerns the usual megastar matters — movie promotion, investment opportunities, the touring schedule, a $1.5 million book contract — but also something seemingly out of place in this context: the Farm Aid cause, Mr. Nelson’s foray into public service. Cocooned amid Tampa’s concrete consumerism, the former Bible salesman, and latter-day multimillionaire is taking time to help the family farmers of his country fight back against government policy, big business and the economics of scale.
There is something rather special about Willie Nelson. It was he, after all, who united the rednecks and the hippies and the surburbanites of the 1970s in appreciation of a style of country music considered both archaic and impossibly uncommercial by the Nashville powers-that-were. Likewise his image — a lovely blend of longhair, cowboy, rebel, hardcore party legend and wise old man — is suggestive.
It’s no wonder he’s such an institution. You can look up to some entertainers (Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Paul McCartney), but Willie invites involvement, not distance. The dominant element of his stare — a thoroughly savvy serenity — is mighty trustworthy.
That invitation to trust must have been part of his image all along. Certainly it was during his late teenage years, when he was already trying to get ahead in the world by promoting dance concerts throughout east Texas, earning his percentage from acts like Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Milton Brown and the Brownies, Spade Cooley, and the legendary Ernest Tubb while he watched from the wings and learned the ropes.
It also impressed the folks in the Nashville big leagues after Willie had decided to forgo his studies for the Baptist ministery in favor of a full-time career in the hillbilly highway nightlife; you need a lot more than even the kind of devasting song-writing talent Willie possessses to become a primary source for the Music Row hit machine the way he did in pretty short order. And when eventually his ambitions outstripped what Nashville was willing to offer and he made his legendary end-run around Music Row, his aura so impressed the college hippioes of Austin, texas, that not too long after he’d been among them they began to buy posters proclaiming, “Matthew, Mark, Luke and Willie,” and to enshrine them in their places of fun and meditation.
A Nashville executive describes his experience: “It was amazing, just wonderful,” says the Nashville executive. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Neil Reshen (Willie’s manager) was so bad — I mean, you really wanted to have the man arrested; the secretaries used to run for the bathroom when he showed up. But when you talked to Willie, it was like negotiating with Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and you were so relieved you didn’t have to deal with Neil that you gave Willie whatever he wanted. But, of course, what Neil wanted and what Willie wanted were the same things. They were working the good cop, bad cop routine, the oldest con in the world, but they did it so well you didn’t realize what was going on till it was all over. And by then you’d done a deal you’d never have even dreamed of otherwise. Willie just outplayed me, and he ended up getting what he really deserved. And all that means is he’s smarter than I am. He just has to turn that smile on you, and you’re hooked. But now I take him seriously. He may be beautiful, but he’s not dumb.”
Such a man — with his hard-earned combination of country compassion, common sense and carefully honed business skills – would have been the perfect choice if American farmers had gone looking for a leader in their hour of need. That’s not how it happened, though. It was Willie who went unbidden to the farmers.
September 1985 was when it began, in Champaine, Illinois, as a notion kicked around between Willie and his crew in the wake of Bob Geldof’s Life Aid marathon. As Willie recalls, in the low-to-vanishing key for which he is renowned, “I have no idea how it got started. I was just sitting in the bus….”
Like a large proportion of the projects Willie judges worthy, the 14-hour Farm Aid benefit moved from the idea to action with little further ado. It was set up with minimum fuss and executed with slightly less toll and craziness than usually attends a mammoth outdoor music festival featuring multiple major entertainers. (Which figures. After more than a decade of organizing and hosting his legendary Fourth of July picnics, Willie is perhaps the world’s premier mastermind of such events.) When it was all over — when Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, Alabama, Billy Joel, Kris Kristofferosn, Bon Jovi, Joni Mitchell, Waylon Jennings, Kenny Rogers, Neil Young, Merle Haggard, John Cougar Mellencamp and some 45 other acts had done their thing and the TV viewers who watched them had sent in their donations — Willie and his crew suddenly found themselves in temporary possession of a great deal of donated money.
That came as something of a shock. “I figured people would respond,” says Willie, “but not nearly as well as they did, and as all that money started rollin’ in, I had to rethink my position. I realized I had to do a lot more than make some calls and go out and sing. My name was attached to that money, so by necessity I had to take responsibility and decide that I would be the one who writes the checks. So that’s what happens, nothing goes out without my signature on it. And so far, I know that every quarter of that money has gone to benefit the family farmer in some way.”
After Farm Aid One in Illinois and Farm Aid Two, held in Austin on the Fourth of July, 1986, the approximate total for which Willie has taken responsibility is $14 million.
And Willie doesn’t just sign the checks, he approves them.
“He makes the final decision,” says Caroline Mugar, the director of Farm Aid (Willie is Chairman of the Board). “We just do the research on what’s going on, who’s doing what where, what they hope to do and how they’ve used the money they’ve already gotten, and we make recommendations Then Willie decides.”
by Stewart Oksenhorn
ASPEN — To get a certain family member to practice her cello, I have pleaded, cajoled, bargained and threatened. So it makes me jealous to hear that, when Lukas Nelson’s dad wanted Lukas to start playing guitar, all he had to do was ask. Just once. And from then on, the younger Nelson never had to be pestered again.
Of course, I’m not Willie Nelson, and Lukas Nelson’s dad is.
“I was talking with my dad one day, when I was 11 or 12, and asked him what he wanted for his birthday,” Lukas Nelson said from his home in Los Angeles. “He said he wanted me to play guitar. So I said sure. And I fell in love with it.”
On “Brando’s Paradise Sessions,” a five-song EP recorded nearly two years ago, when he was 20, Nelson demonstrates an impressive command of the instrument. (The playing was so notable that I was prompted to check the liner notes, to make sure it actually was Nelson responsible for those mercury-like, electric licks. It was.) On the debut full-length album by Nelson and his band, Promise of the Real, a self-titled work due for release next month, Nelson takes on an assignment that only a self-assured guitarist would: He covers Hendrix. (Specifically, “Pali Gap,” an instrumental tune from “South Saturn Delta.”)
“Guitar is a tool, like yoga or surfing. It’s a meditation,” Nelson, who performs Saturday at Belly Up, said. “It’s the way I reach that bliss. I don’t do it now for my dad’s approval.”
But Nelson adds that guitar is not his primary form of expression. “My strength is my writing. Even beyond my guitar playing,” he said. “I need my guitar to express how I feel in my songs; it’s more a part of the songs. It’s not show-offy, or playing fast.”
So while Nelson is an accomplished guitarist, and a devoted songwriter, the aspect of music that has given him trouble is singing. Nelson’s singing voice is uncommonly high-pitched; if anything, it is even higher when he speaks. And it wasn’t as if he could hide it easily, since he was touring with his father from the time he was a kid, often taking a turn on stage.
“I didn’t like my voice,” Nelson, who spent his teen years playing — first percussion, then rhythm guitar — in his father’s band, said. “I had it in my mind what my voice sounded like, but I couldn’t do it. I thought I sounded like a girl. So I stopped once I started playing guitar.”
At the end of his high school years, Nelson tried out his voice again. It is still high — with a hint of his dad’s Texas drawl — but this time, he was more comfortable with it. While studying music at Los Angeles’ Loyola Marymount University, and then, after dropping out, becoming a street performer on Venice Beach, he was pleased enough with his sound to consider a career that included getting onstage and singing. He formed a series of bands, and eventually founded Promise of the Real, which made its debut by playing five shows at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, opening for his father. Two weeks later they were in the studio, recording the “Brando’s Paradise” EP, which features Nelson’s singing as much as his picking.
“I’m pretty happy with it now,” Nelson said of his voice. “I’m learning what keys sound best, and how to sing lower. Singing low is important because you get a full, round sound to it. It doesn’t sound like I’m on helium anymore.”
Nelson has had plenty of opportunity to see how audiences respond to his voice. His band has toured as the opening act for B.B. King and done dates with the Dave Matthews Band. With next month’s release of “Promise of the Real,” Nelson’s voice is exposed to a wider audience. The album, recorded at Pedernales Studio, a facility near Austin developed by Willie Nelson, features a cover of Neil Young’s “L.A.” and a song written by Lukas’ father and sister, Amy.
While his guitar playing owes more to Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan than it does to his father, Nelson makes clear that his father ranks among his idols.
About the decision to play guitar, Nelson said, “It was a moment: ‘This is something I can do for my dad.’ I’m always seeking his approval, and I’m happy when I can make him proud. He’s a hero of mine and I try to live my life by the philosophies he handed down to me.”
While the music he makes with Promise of the Real doesn’t immediately have much in common with his father’s acoustic-based country sound, Nelson says it all comes from the same family.
“It kind of all ties together — blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll,” he said. “It’s interpretations of the same things. There’s less room between Hank Williams and Robert Johnson than people think. Of course, I wouldn’t ever compare myself to Hank. But I’m trying to make music that touches people’s soul in a similar way.”
by Carlos Rosales
EL PASO, Texas — Country music legend Willie Nelson was arrested Friday morning in Sierra Blanca, Texas at a Border Patrol checkpoint for allegedly possessing 6 ounces of marijuana.
According to Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West, Nelson was traveling in his tour bus from California to Austin when Nelson was detained by Border Patrol agents at about 9 a.m. Friday. Hudspeth County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the checkpoint and then booked Nelson into the Hudspeth County Jail on a $2,500 bond. He posted the bond and was on his way back Austin, West said.