photo: Andrew Shapter
2012 really was a great year to be a Willie Nelson fan, because Willie gave us more of what we love –more Willie Nelson! Willie made it so much fun, with new albums, new songs, new book, book signings, interesting collaborations, and constant touring so we can go and see his shows all over the country.
He continues to inspire with his fearless, tireless work for family farmers and many other important causes he generously gives his time and attention to. He signed at every show were the fans could get close enough to him, and made so many people happy with autographs, hugs, kisses, photos.
This is just a sampling of how he spent 2012; there’s so much he does that we don’t hear about, that doesn’t get any press.
Thank you, Willie Nelson for a great year of music and inspiration and good times, and keeping your fans so close.
And thanks so much to the Willie Nelson Family, band, crew and fans who so generously share their photos and stories, news clippings, anecdotes, hugs, hotels, gossip and friendship with me; your generosity is overwhelming, really. Most of you I have never met, but we share that love and appreciation for Willie Nelson & Family. Willie Nelson fans are the nicest people.
Happy New Year to everyone. I look forward to seeing you at a Willie Nelson & Family show in 2013!
Peace and love,
|Willie Nelson and Family began 2012 in Austin, Texas, at his New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Austin City Live Moody Theather, and that’s where the band closed out 2012. The band toured extensively throughout the U.S., 41 states and Washington DC.. They played familiar and favorite Texas venues, like the Back Yard, Floores Country Store, Billy Bob’s Texas, Gruenes, and amphitheaters, opera houses, casinos, summer festivals, vinyards, under tents and in private living rooms.|
|Willie Nelson released his “Heroes” album in May, the first album released under his historic new record deal with Legacy Recordings/ Sony Music Entertainment. The album features contributions from family and friends, including Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Sheryl Crow, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Price and Nelson’s musician sons Lukas and Micah. The 14-track project includes songs ranging from classic country tunes from the 1930s and ’40s through covers of rock songs made famous by Pearl Jam (“Just Breathe”) and Coldplay (“The Scientist”). The video made from the song, “Just Breathe’, was voted one of CMT’s 50 top videos of 2012. and continues to be a fan favorite.|
|Willie Nelson released a new memoir, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me (When I Die)”, another chapter in his life story, with stories from the road and contributions from family and friends and crew. The book was a New York Times book seller and charted high on Amazon.com. The book gave us fans more insite into Willie’ long and eventful life, and included the artwork of son Micah. Willie and Micah attended book signings in Austin and New York City, another chance for fans to meet and greet Willie, and get their book signed.|
|Willie Nelson was honored by the Country Music Association, at the 46th Annual Country Music Awards show, with their first annual Willie Nelson Humanitarian Award, and was recipient of first annual award. The award show was broadcast on CMT.|
|Chipotle Mexican Grill’s animated short film, “The Scientist”, featured Willie Nelson singing the Coldplay song, “The Scientist”, was named among the five best ads of 2012 by The Wall Street Journal on Monday. over 7 mil views The video has gotten over seven million views, and continues to raise money for Chipotle’s sustainaable living causes. It has been lauded by many as the best TV campaign in the world. The two-minute ad, Back to the Start, which has won the grand prix award in the blue riband category at the Cannes international festival of creativity, provoked a storm of debate and received acclaim when it was first aired on TV in the US during the Grammys in February. The video first aired during the Grammys Award show in February, and received more buzz the next day than many of the performances and songs featured on the show. named the best TV campaign in the world.|
|Willie Nelson and fellow Farm Aid Board members Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews celebrated the 27th Farm Aid concert in Hershey, Pennsylvania, helping to raise awareness and funds for America’s family farmers and ensuring we have healthy food to eat here in America. The sold out show, included performances by Willie Nelson & Family, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Jamey Johnson, Kenny Chesney, Grace Potter, Bill Anderson, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real.|
|Willie Nelson appeared on the cover of magazines, two times on “Texas Monthly” (April, December), and on the November issue of Austin Fit magazine.|
|Willie Nelson was honored by City of Austin with a statue erected in his honor on Willie Nelson Boulevard in Austin. Kris Kristofferson spoke at the statue’s unveiling in April, which was also attended by Cleve Shields, the sculpture’s artist, Austin dignataries, Willie Nelson’s family and friends, and several hundred lucky fans who packed the streets.|
|Willie paid tribute to his friend and fellow Highwayman Johnny Cash at two separate events in 2012. In April, he joined other artists in Austin Texas, at Moody Theater at Austin, for “Walk the Line: Johnny Cash Tribute”. Then, late in the summer, he joined Rosanne Cash, Derks Bentley, the Civil Wars and other artists at the the second annual Johnny Cash Music Festival, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and helped raise over $200,000.00 for the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Restoration Project.|
|Willie Nelson invited family and friends to celebrate the fourth of July with him in the Stockyards of Fort Worth, at Billy Bob’s Texas. Ray Price, Billy Joe Shaver, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Paula Nelson Band and dozens of others performed on three stages for the day long festival.|
|We got to see lots of Willie Nelson on television, when he appeared on talk shows to talk about his new book, ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” He appeared on the Piers Morgan Show, the Today Show, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, the View, and on Dan Rather show. Willie did radio interview on National Public Radio, and gave extensive print interviews.|
|Willie collaborated on many albums by other artists. This year he was featured on new albums by Randy Travis, Lionel Riche, Tony Bennett|
|Willie Nelson helped the Dumb Friends League of Colorado raise $700,000.00, at a fundraiser/silent auction — even though he had to cancel owing to altitude sickness, and was able to attend the event.|
|In June, Willie Nelson & Family joined Lee Ann Womack, Eric Church, and the Dixie Chicks at a benefit in Greenwich, Conn., for the China Care Foundation, to benefit Chinese orphans.|
|Willie was presented with a Planet Defender Award, from Rock the Earth, a national not-for-profit environmental organization that partners with the music industry. The award, given in celebration of Earth Day, pays tribute to those individuals work to protect the planet.|
|Willie Nelson was once again urged to run for president, with tee shirts, lawn signs posters appearing all over the place, but he didn’t actively support any presidential candadite, other than an honorable mention he made for Gary Johnson, early in the campaign.|
|Willie Nelson joined musician Jamey Johnson and other artists in “Living for a Song”, a tribute to singer/songwriter Hank Cochran. In October, Willie accepted Jamey Johnson’s invitation to celebrate the album’s release at a concert in Nashville, along with Johnson, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Ronnie Dunn.|
|Willie Nelson and Family attended Texas Coach Darrell Royall’s Picking Party in Texas in 2012, and later joined the country to mourn the popular coach’s his friend’s passing this year.h|
|WN continued to provide his visionary guidance with his support of decriminalizing marijuana, with videos and promos in support of Washington’s campaign. On book tour at end of year, people honestly answered questions about his own drug use, and his opinion regarding legalization of marijuana and industrial hemp.|
|Willie Nelson was busy on satellite radio, too. He took part in Town Hall question and answer session in NYC, hosted by Johnny Knoxville in Sirius/XM NY Studio, with son Micah, and took questions from local fans who won a contest to attend the show. Willie and son Lukas performed live from the Sirius/XM NY studio, singing the Pearl Jam hit, “Just Breathe”, the duet from Willie Nelson’s “Heroes” album. During the broadcast, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder called into the show to talk with Willie about his recording of the song. Willie also Willie’s Roadhouse during the “Heroes” album release special. Willie also called in to talk with Dallas Wayne on the Sirius/XM radio station that bears his name, Willie’s Roadhouse, and Willie was guest on ”The Big Ass Happy Family Jubilee” with Johnny Knoxville. Also, Susie co-host an hour of Willie & Family Gospel recordings from his 1976 #1 album The Troublemaker, direct from the Luck World Headquarters in Luck, TX.|
|Movie Producer Harvey Weinstein asked Willie Nelson to sing on the soundtrack for his alcohol prohibitioin era movie, “Lawless” about gangsters and bootleggers. Weinstein is pushing for an Oscar Nomination for Willie Nelson’s, ‘Midnight Run’. Willie Nelson attended the Austin premiere of the movie.|
|Willie signed offered his autograph to help raise funs for good causes, including the acoustig Martin Guitar, which was signed by Pat Simmons and Michael McDonald, and auctioned off to support a sick friend in Hawaii. He autographed many other guitars, too, many for fans, and of course many are now on e-bay, as people continue to make a buck of Willie.|
|Willie performed at the first annual Celebrity Golf Tournament Concert in June, at his Pedernales Country Club in Spicewood, Texas.|
|Willie Nelson offered his support to Operation Firing For Effect, Inc., a coalition of veteran’s organizations gathered to address issues of importance to our veterans and their families.|
|contributes to sound track Original song “Hell And Back” Music and lyrics by J. Ralph, performed by Willie Nelson with J. Ralph on Guitar and Mickey Raphael on harmonica for the documentary “Hell And Back Again” directed by Danfung Dennis, 2011 Rumor Mill Records|
|Maui-based Pacific Biodiesel began selling “BioWillie Biodiesel” fuel at its retail pump in Kahului, Hawaii.|
|Willie Nelson attended book signings in Austin and NYC, with son Micah Nelson, on his book tour for “Roll Me UP and Smoke Me When I Die.”|
|Willie Nelson took part in question-and-answer session at the Billboard Country Music Summit in Nashville in June.|
|Fans continued to get new Willie Nelson tatoos, and create his likeness in many other media, and post them on the internet to share with the world.|
|Willie Nelson recorded “The Moon Song”, with granddaughter Raelynn Nelson, available for download on itunes.|
|Willie Nelson released a new classic Christmas album in 2012.|
|Willie was featured in “Wild Horses & Renegades”, along with Sheryl Crow and Daryl Hannah, in support of efforts to save the wild horses in America. In addition, Willie brought home rescued horses Whisper and Traveler, to his Austin ranch||.|