Archive for February, 2016

Willie Nelson on ‘The Muppets’ — Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Monday, February 29th, 2016


Willie Nelson, Bobbie Nelson, Paul English, Bee Spears (in the studio)

Monday, February 29th, 2016


Leon Bridges on Twitter: “Willie Nelson will forever be my favorite cat.”

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Another Willie Nelson Impersonator

Monday, February 29th, 2016


Thanks, Lisa Pittman

Willie Nelson, “I’ve Loved You All Over the World” for Suburu

Monday, February 29th, 2016

The bond between a man and his dog is as strong as the Subaru Impreza. In his furry best friend’s golden years, the pair finish the dog’s bucket list while Willie Nelson’s “I’ve Loved You All Over the World” plays in the background: filling shopping carts up with tennis balls, 14 and 3/4 birthday cakes, a brand new leather shoe to chew on and fixing mends with old girlfriends. Make the most out of every mile with Subaru.

Dogs are the best. No, this isn’t a subtle shot at cat lovers, but dogs make loyal companions who will form a bond with you that you’ll never be able to find anywhere else. Besides, the feelings you get when you walk through the door and a dog sees you is amazing. Imagine being greeted by your dog for the very first time, only this happens every time. So whether we see a laundry basket full of puppies or an older dog with a little salt and pepper on his face, it warms the heart and makes you feel all fuzzy inside. Dogs are pretty awesome.

This is the case in this 30-second ad from Subaru highlighting the Subaru Impreza. Willie Nelson’s “I’ve Loved You All Over the World” plays in the background setting the right mood. We see a man and his best friend going through a bucket list, full of items and to-do experiences. From one hundred tennis balls, an almost-there birthday cake, a brand new leather shoe to chew on, to even breaking a few rules and getting a swim in at the local motel pool that doesn’t allow dogs, the owner doesn’t hold back on his list. He even sets up a reunion between his dog and the dog’s old girlfriend! That deserves some kind of awesome owner award doesn’t it? It’s sweet to see an owner provide as much happiness and joy as he can for his beloved companion, just like the dog has provided for his owner all his life. Editorial

Willie Nelson and Farm Aid

Monday, February 29th, 2016


photo:  Paul Natkin
by:  David Ritz

It all began with a few words from Bob Dylan onstage at the Live Aid concert in July 1985, asking: Couldn’t some of the money raised go to help American farmers?

“The question hit me like a ton of bricks,” remembers Willie Nelson, who was on the road that day, watching the event on his tour-bus TV. He immediately began looking into the state of American agriculture. This was a time when family farmers were suffering mightily. Thousands were being forced off their land and driven into bankruptcy.

1987: Mellencamp (left) and Nelson testified before the U.S. Senate with Sen. Tom Harkin.

1987: Mellencamp (left) and Nelson testified before the U.S. Senate with Sen. Tom Harkin.Farm Aid

Enter Nelson, who, a few days after Dylan’s remarks, met with his friend Jim Thompson, the then governor of Illinois, at the St. Louis Fair. With Thompson’s help — and the collaboration of John Mellencamp and Neil Young — the first Farm Aid concert took place that same summer, on Sept. 22 at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign. More than $7 million was raised. Thirty years later, Farm Aid, an annual and much beloved American institution, has grown that number to $48 million.

Today, the 82-year-old Nelson remains fervently committed to the nonprofit that he helped to create.

What are your earliest memories of giving back?

Church. Ours was the United Methodist in the little town of Abbott, Texas, where I grew up. We had a collection box, and even though we were struggling financially, I knew there were folks with far greater struggles. As part of a loving community, I was taught the moral responsibility of helping those in need.

1990, Indianapolis: The fourth concert had environmentalists and consumer advocates join the cause. Pictured: Bonnie Raitt. 

1990, Indianapolis: The fourth concert had environmentalists and consumer advocates join the cause. Pictured: Bonnie Raitt. Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Of all the causes you might have championed, why Farm Aid?

Farming was my first job. I picked cotton. I pulled corn. I knew firsthand what it meant to farm. I knew damn well how tough it was. In high school, I was a proud member of Future Farmers of America. My farm roots are deep-seated in the soil of my personal story.

Willie Nelson Sick, Concerts Affected

In Farm Aid’s three decades, what is your most memorable moment?

It might have been that first one, because back then there was still uncertainty. Who knew if the idea would work? So it was a real thrill when the show sold out and 80,000 fans showed up. Beyond Dylan, Young and Mellencamp, we had B.B. King, Waylon Jennings, Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and a slew of others. Everyone was eager to pitch in.

1985, Champaign, Ill. The inaugural Farm Aid raised more than $7 million with a crowd of 80,000. From left: Cash, Nelson and Jennings. 

1985, Champaign, Ill. The inaugural Farm Aid raised more than $7 million with a crowd of 80,000. From left: Cash, Nelson and Jennings. Paul Natkin

Through Farm Aid’s history, what is your proudest accomplishment?

The fact that we’ve raised the public consciousness. There’s awareness today about the challenges of farming and the benefits of buying products on a local level — especially organic food — that was missing 30 years ago. Farmers’ markets have sprouted up. People realize the downside of shipping in food from hundreds of miles away — wasting money on costly fuel — when wholesome food can be grown and bought within a local area.

Do you believe the plight of the farmer has significantly improved?

There’s lot of work still to be done, but yes, I do believe real progress has been made. The proliferation of social media, for example, has been a good thing. All forms of communication help, especially when communication starts at the grass-roots level. Corporate-owned newspapers and magazines can be biased, but nowadays folks are looking beyond that; they’re hungry for the truth. Consumers are educating themselves about where and how food is grown.

2005, Tinley Park, Ill.: The 20th anniversary brought then-senator Barack Obama, who introduced Wilco. 

2005, Tinley Park, Ill.: The 20th anniversary brought then-senator Barack Obama, who introduced Wilco. Rick Diamond/WireImage

In addition to Farm Aid, for years you have been involved in the fight to legalize marijuana and recognize the benefits of hemp products. Are you still passionate about that cause?

More passionate than ever. I was recently encouraged to read about parents traveling to Colorado and Oregon where they could legally obtain marijuana so that, under a doctor’s care, their children’s seizures could be effectively treated. When it comes to pot, the dark ages may finally be behind us. It has been 25 years since I campaigned for Gatewood Galbrath, a Lexington, Ky., lawyer running for governor with a let’s-legalize-pot policy. We lost that battle, but now it looks like we’re winning the war. The decriminalization of marijuana is a growing and unstoppable movement. The good uses of hemp — for agriculture, clothing or the relief of serious pain — are well documented and irrefutable. Old prejudices die hard, but the anti-pot bias of a misinformed establishment is not long for this world.

2013, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.: Pete Seeger, at age 94, served as the surprise guest, joining Nelson, Mellencamp, Young and Dave Matthews onstage for “This Land Is Your Land.”

2013, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.: Pete Seeger, at age 94, served as the surprise guest, joining Nelson, Mellencamp, Young and Dave Matthews onstage for “This Land Is Your Land.”Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Do you think the world of today is a more charitable one than the world you knew as a younger man?

I’d like to think so, but I’m no social scientist. I’m just a picker from Hill County, Texas, who has led a very fortunate life. When I look back on that life, I remember acts of remarkable charity. My grandmother, the woman who raised me, was the most giving woman I’ve ever known. And of course during the different wars, you had many artists donating their services to entertain our troops abroad. But the advent of Farm Aid and many of the causes that followed brought on something new, something I hadn’t seen before.

Artists began banding together around urgent sociopolitical causes. In the past 30 years, that impulse — to address the pressing issues of our times — has strengthened. It goes beyond respecting the folks who grow our food. It even goes beyond the quality of the food itself. It’s about loving Mother Earth. Because we love her, we study her. And that study reveals her desperate state. It demands that we protect her from greedy and lethal exploitation. We need to be proactive about championing the causes that will preserve our natural resources and maintain a high quality of human and animal life. It’s a monumental task, but I have a deep belief in humanity. There are millions of good people committed to do the right thing. It’s just a matter of harnessing our energy, staying positive, remaining organized and fighting the good fight. Man, I’m ready to go! offers concert videos, in-depth news on food issues and a donation link.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 24 issue of Billboard.

Willie Nelson, Harlan Howard, Hal Smith

Monday, February 29th, 2016


Willie Nelson, Harlan Howard, with Hal Smith.  Smith, along with Ray Price, owned Pamper Music. Pamper published  Patsy Cline hits including “Crazy”, written by Willie Nelson,  and  “I Fall To Pieces”, written by Harlan and Hank Cochran,  and “She’s Got You”, written by Hank Cochran.

The “Quonset Hut” is the legendary studio on Nashville’s Music Row, built by Producer Owen Bradley, where some of the greatest songs in music history were recorded.


The “Quonset Hut” was regarded for years as the foundation of Nashville’s country music industry. It had the distinction of being the first recording studio in what would later become “Music Row”.

Owen Bradley, along with his brother Harold bought the property at 804 16th Avenue South in 1954 which had previously served as a rooming house. Over the next year it would become the most successful re…cording studios in Nashville. It initially opened it’s doors as Music City Recordings but had changed it’s name to Bradley’s Film & Recording Studio by 1957/58 after they moved the recording facility from the basement into the Quonset Hut attached to the back of the house. The “hut” was used for filming musical performances until the late 1950’s.

In just a few short years , artist of every genre of music walked through it’s doors–creating some of the biggest records in music history such as Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”, Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry” and Bobby Vinton’s “Blue Velvet” to name a small few.

Owen Bradley is credited as a pioneer in creating the “Nashville Sound”.

The Bradley’s would sell the studio in February 1962 to Columbia records although they continued to record there until late 1965 when Owen moved his operations to his new state of art facility in Mount Juliet, TN dubbed, “Bradley’s Barn”.

In the years that followed Owen Bradley’s exit, the “Quonset Hut” continued to be used as a viable recording space. In 1965 Columbia had demolished the old rooming house and built a new studio known as A–the Hut became studio B.

Pop acts such as REO Sppedwagon, Bob Dylan, Edgar Winter, The Beach Boys, Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Bobby Vinton, Connie Francis, Patti Page, Anita Bryant, Clyde McPhatter, Trini Lopez, Dave Loggins, Johnny Ray, Helen Shapiro etc all came to Nashville to record here. In 1982 shortly after John Anderson recorded his crossover hit, “Swingin’”, the facility was closed and gutted for office space. Columbia continued to build around the structure leaving few traces of the original such as the distinguishable curved roof which is still visible today.

During the next 25 years, the “Quonset Hut” would be nothing more than a memory until music mogul, Mike Curb ( Curb Records ) stepped in and purchased the property–which was now up for sale–and began plans to restore the historic structure.

In 2009, the studio was reopened to serve as a teaching facility for Belmont University students.

Plans were to open the studio for tours in the future–stay tuned. –Alan Cofer



Owen Bradley:

Owen Bradley was born October 21, 1915 outside of Westmoreland, TN, and raised in Nashville. He began playing piano professionally when he was a teenager, playing in local juke joints, clubs, and roadhouses. When he turned 20, he began working at WSM radio, and within five years he had established himself as an integral part of the station.

In 1940, he was hired full-time by WSM, working as an arranger and instrumentalist. Two years later, he was made the station’s musical director, and started playing regularly on the programs Noontime Neighbors and Sunday Down South. During this time, Bradley was also leading his own dance band, which played parties throughout Nashville’s high society. The group stayed together until 1964

Bradley began working for Decca Records in 1947 as an assistant to producer Paul Cohen. By working at Cohen’s side, Bradley learned to produce, and assisted in making records by Ernest Tubb and Red Foley, among many others. Eventually, Owen began producing records by himself, whenever his mentor couldn’t travel to Nashville from New York.

Owen and his brother Harold opened a film studio in 1951, moving its location to Hillsboro Village within a year. It stayed there for two years, before it was moved again, this time to a house at 804 16th Avenue South with a Quonset hut attached to the main building. The Quonset hut was converted into a studio in 1955 — it was the first studio on the street that would become known as Music Row. Two years later, RCA built a studio a block away from the Bradley hut.

Cohen left Decca in 1958, and the label offered Bradley a position as vice president of the label’s Nashville Division. At Decca, he began pioneering the Nashville sound, incorporating orchestration and pop production techniques into country music. Patsy Cline was Bradley’s most successful country-pop production. He had worked with her when she was with Four Star, but when she signed with Decca, Cline’s music shifted toward country-pop and she began a string of Top Ten hits. Following her success, other artists that he produced in that style, most notably Brenda Lee, became successful as well. During this time, Bradley also produced harder-edged hits by Webb Pierce and Kitty Wells. In addition to his record production, Owen released a handful of records by his instrumental quintet, including the minor 1958 hit “Big Guitar.” With his brother Harold, Bradley produced a half-hour television series, Country Style U.S.A., during the late ’50s.

Bradley bought a farm outside of Nashville in 1961, converting a barn into a demo studio. Within a few years, the barn was upgraded to a first-class recording studio called Bradley’s Barn, and over the next two decades it became one of the most popular and legendary studios in country music. In 1980, it burned down, yet it was rebuilt with a few years in the exact same spot.

Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Bradley worked with many of Decca’s most famous artists, including Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. In 1974, Bradley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In the early ’80s, he retired from full-time producing, yet he continued to work on the occasional special project. His last major work was k.d. lang’s 1988 album, Shadowland.

Bradley had begun working with Mandy Barnett on a new album when he died January 7, 1998 at the age of 82.

~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music GuideSee More


Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, “Songwriter”

Monday, February 29th, 2016

At the 1985  Oscars, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson performed “How Do You Feel About Foolin’ Around” from the film ‘Songwriter’ and the Oscar-nominated “On the Road Again,” from 1980’s ‘Honeysuckle Rose.’

Willie Nelson and Cyndi Lauper

Sunday, February 28th, 2016


When Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” on March 3, 1984, another song with “girls” in the title — Cyndi Lauper‘s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” — was already at No. 3 on the same chart.

Some 32 years later, Nelson and Lauper are trading duets on separate new albums. Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin (Feb. 26, Legacy) employs Lauper on “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” while Lauper’s Detour (May 6, Sire) pairs the two on the Nelson-penned “Night Life.”

Other “girls” in the two sets include Sheryl Crow, who joins Nelson on “Embraceable You” and three female contributors on Lauper’s project: Emmylou Harris, on “Detour”; Jewel, “I Wanna Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart”; and Alison Krauss, “Hard Candy Christmas.”

Willie Nelson, “On the Street Where You Live”

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Sunday, February 28th, 2016


photo:  David McClister

Willie Nelson Interview at Luck, Texas

Sunday, February 28th, 2016
by: Paul Venema

BRIARCLIFF, Texas – Talking a break from his busy tour schedule, Willie Nelson put his unique spin on pot and politics during a relaxed visit at his Texas Hill Country ranch he calls Luck.

“When you’re here, you’re in luck. When you’re not here, you’re out of luck,” he declared.

Nelson chuckles when the topic turned to politics, “It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Nelson said about the 2016 presidential campaign. “I’ve seen the circus a few times but this beats any circus I’ve ever seen.”

“Seems like they’re just tearing each other down,” he said. “They can’t wait to say something negative about somebody and then they still want us to vote for them.”

Nelson said he is moving forward with his venture into the recreational marijuana business and plans to open stores marketing his brand that he calls “Willie’s Reserve” in Colorado this spring.

Asked whether he sees legalized marijuana in Texas he said, “We’re not totally stupid down here and all the old people are looking around and seeing all of the money they’re taking in in Colorado, Oregon, Washington and California.”

“Somebody’s got to be saying, ‘What the hell’s going on?’” Nelson said.

He was presented the Gershwin Prize by the Library of Congress this past November. The prize is the nation’s highest honor for popular song and he is the first country music artist to receive the Gershwin Prize.

Among past winners are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.

As for his unique singing style Nelson said “I like to sing it the way I feel it, and I feel it differently every time so I don’t get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again.”

As he approaches his 83rd birthday in April, Nelson said he is still in good health and has no plans to slow down.

“I’m going as slow as I want to. I’m almost stopped,” he laughed.

But with a tour schedule that includes over 100 dates a year, slow is a relative term.

“I seem to be doing pretty good,” Nelson said with a smile. “I made it up this morning.”

Saturday, February 27th, 2016


Reese Witherspoon on Twitter: “Who else is feeling Willie Nelson today?”

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

Willie Nelson, “They All Laughed”

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

by: Clive Morgan

As a country artist, Willie Nelson may not be the first singer that you think of when it comes to recording an album of pop standards, especially ones by George and Ira Gershwin.

But, given that he was the recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2015, the first country artist ever to do so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That album is called Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin.

One song that appears on the album is They All Laughed, which was written for the 1937 film Shall We Dance.

Here Nelson premieres the video for his interpretation of the song.

Describing the feeling of receiving the Gershwin award, Nelson says: “To get a Gershwin award for anything is great but to get one for songwriting is especially great because Ira and George Gershwin were just fantastic writers. They wrote some of the greatest songs ever.

“The Gershwin songs have been here for many, many years. When I was just a small guy, I remember hearing all these great Gershwin songs and they’ll be around forever because great music like that just does not go away.”

Willie Nelson’s distinctive vocal delivery meshes perfectly with the unforgettable melodies of the Gershwin brothers’ songs he has chosen for Summertime.

Among the 11 Gershwin classics recorded by Nelson are two duets: Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, with Cyndi Lauper, and Embraceable You, with Sheryl Crow.

Other songs include But Not for Me (Ella Fitzgerald’s version won a Grammy in 1960); Someone to Watch Over Me (which also features on Nelson’s 1978 album Stardust); the Thirties jazz standard I Got Rhythm and Summertime (an aria originally written for the 1935 pop/gospel opera Porgy and Bess).

Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin harks back to Stardust, the 1978 album of pop standards that secured Nelson’s reputation as pop balladeer (in addition to his status as one of the architects of outlaw country music).

Among his other albums are Heroes (2012), a collection of pop-country songs featuring Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Sheryl Crow; To All the Girls… (2013), a collection of duets with the cream of pop-country’s female singers including Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Alison Krauss, Carrie Underwood and Emmylou Harris.

These were followed by Band of Brothers (2014), December Day: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1 (2014) and Django and Jimmie (2015), a collaboration between American outlaw country music contemporaries Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, the pair’s first number one Country Album since 1983’s Pancho & Lefty.