Archive for May, 2016
July 24, 2016
At Edgefield, during its seven-decade run as a poor farm, a remarkable array of personalities congregated under its roof: sea captains, captains of industry, school teachers, ministers, musicians, loggers, nurses, home builders, homemakers, former slaves and slave owners. There were Germans, Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Native Americans, African Americans; Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and Buddhist. Frankie of “Frankie and Johnny” notoriety was there. The nephew of celebrated Confederate General Stonewall Jackson surpassed age 100 while at Edgefield. The one common thread among them was, at one time (and perhaps others) in their lives, each needed a “leg up.”
Many of the residents, or inmates as they originally were called, supplied the labor for the 300+-acre farm. Overseen by a succession of well-seasoned, college-educated farm supervisors, Edgefield was a model of agricultural efficiency and production. The fruit, vegetables, dairy, hogs, and poultry raised on property was sufficient for feeding the population at the poor farm, as well as the county hospital and jail. Many years, surplus quantities were canned and sold on the open market.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for the farm supervisor was maintaining an adequate and capable labor force. Field “workers” were constantly coming and going and of course none were hired for their farming expertise. Outside labor gangs were periodically contracted-farm students, prisoners, prisoners of war, even some of Oregon’s first Braceros (migrant workers from Mexico)¬-to supplement the on-site force.
The Great Depression was one notable period when the labor supply was not an issue. In the early 1930s, when so many people needed “legs up,” Edgefield’s population swelled to over 600, nearly double its normal number. Closets were converted and residents put three or more to a room in an ongoing effort to accommodate the great demand. The poor farm’s basement quickly emerged as a veritable bazaar made up of booths operated by the legions of unemployed craftsmen and artisans living upstairs. The pool of talent and services available in those basement booths drew faithful patronage from Portland customers.
In the 1940s, when World War II put Americans back to work, Edgefield’s population shrank considerably, and those who remained were many Depression-era residents who had number of residents who had reached an advanced age or state of incapacity to prevent their departures. To better suit these needs, in the Post War years, Edgefield took on more of a role of a nursing home and rehabilitation center, though the farm operation continued through the 1960s.
In the 1970s, Edgefield saw fewer incoming patients as private nursing homes and in-home care became more accessible with the rise of Welfare and Medicaid. A shrinking population and a complex of aging buildings in need of daunting repairs forced the decision to close the old poor farm. In April 1982, the last patients were relocated and the place was locked up, though not too securely.
For the remainder of the 1980s, the elements and vandals¬-mostly bored teenagers¬-wreaked havoc on the property. Burst pipes sent water everywhere, windows were broken, every surface was spray painted with graffiti, and everything not bolted down was stolen. The place that for decades had been a refuge for thousands of needy souls was now a liability to the county. Arrangements to demolish the building were put in place.
It would have happened, too, if it weren’t for those pesky Troutdale Historical Society folks who decried such a move a “foul and unjust fate!” These courageous and resolute history-minded folks waged a five-year fight to save. Once victory was theirs, however, the bigger battle began: Who wants an old poor farm, anyway? A listing with a New York auction house prompted exactly no bids.
by: Steve Morley
The songs of George and Ira Gershwin defined American popular culture in the 1930s, when a very young Willie Nelson was absorbing his earliest influences. The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize that Willie received in November 2015 was the impetus for his new all-Gershwin collection, but the real story here is the kindred spirit linking Willie and George Gershwin, the music-writing half of the sibling team. Both are known for blurring stylistic boundaries and, indeed,Summertime points to the sophistication that informs such genre-transcending Willie originals such as “Crazy” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
While he’s done nearly a dozen yesteryear-based solo albums, this one is distinguished by its smartly chosen representation of the Gershwins’ musical breadth and the handpicked, multi-stylistic band (with Mickey Raphael’s winsome yet penetrating harmonica again providing a crucial link to Willie’s larger body of work) fittingly snazzing up the affair while making the most of Willie’s no-dress-code musical fusion.
A pair of duets finds Sheryl Crow out of her element but clearly at ease on “Embraceable You” and Cyndi Lauper mostly in hers, camping it up like a Bronx flapper in a Busby Berkeley movie on the amusing if slight “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”At times, it all sounds a bit too perspiration-free, but the 82-year-old summons spunk where needed and shines on the album’s blues-styled departure, “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”
While Willie’s formula is now well established, subtle signs of his ongoing artistic growth crop up on a revisited take of “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Displaying a deep, moving interpretation and an easy yet elegant shuffle rhythm, it far outstrips the more straightforward version on his groundbreaking 1978Stardust album—the original vintage-song venture that industry execs swore would derail his career.
As the Gershwins themselves said it in 1936, Who’s got the last laugh now?
Thanks Phil Weisman for sending to me.
Thanks, Phil Weisman. I love this cup.
by: Mathew Strother
LaGRANGE — Sweetland Amphitheatre at Boyd Park was packed Sunday for the big Summer Concert Series show headlined by Willie Nelson.
The program kicked off with a patriotic presentation and Memorial Day recognition, along with recognitions of the family of the late Jim and Annette Boyd, for whom the park is named.
American Aquarium opened the show with country musician Cam taking the stage before main act Willie Nelson and Family.
Note: Photographers were informed at the venue Sunday they were not allowed to take pictures of Nelson’s performance.
[Capital photo © Ben Droz Photography]
Willie Nelson holding the hemp flag that Mike Lewis of Growing Warriors and Joe Schroeder presented to him.
On this Memorial Day, where we pause, remember, and give thanks for those Americans who have died in the service of their country and our freedom, we’d like to share this beautiful photo of Mike Lewis flying a hemp flag.
A military veteran himself, Mike is founder of the Growing Warriors, whose mission is to equip, assist, and train veterans with the skills they need to produce high-quality, naturally grown produce for their families and communities. And more recently, he was one of the first farmers in the country legally allowed to grow industrial hemp.
We were honored that this flag, made from veteran-grown hemp, was flown at the Farm Aid concert in Chicago last year and then presented to Willie Nelson.
Learn more about the project and why Mike is one of our Farmer Heroes at: https://www.farmaid.org/
Willie Nelson, President Obama, John Fogerty, Mary J. Blige, and friends perform “On the Road Again” to Honor the TroopsMonday, May 30th, 2016
“We need to finish up with somebody who knows a little bit about music, knows a little bit about America, and loves our troops, Mr. Willie Nelson. Willie says I’m going to have to sing with him, so I’m going to try it out.” — President Obama
Dolly, Brenda, Kris & Willie
… The Winning Hand
Produced by Fred Foster
Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton
Johnny Cash hosted a television special to celebrate release of album, and also wrote the liner notes for this album, Dolly, Brenda, Kris and Willie. He wrote something about each artist, and here is what he wrote about Willie:
Like a thief in the night
Like the witch on her broom
The red-headed stranger
Came right through her bedroom
No, actually I’m kidding. He was a little reluctant to walk through the bedroom at eleven o’clock at night with Waylon Jennings and myself. They had come over to see me and I said, “Let’s go into my little back room and sit and talk and pick awhile.” We passed John Carter’s bedroom where he was asleep.
“Come on and follow me,” I said. leading the way through the master bedroom to my little get-away-from-it-all-writing-reading-picking-listening refuge.
“I’m afraid we’ll wake June,” said Willie, tiptoeing past the bed where she slept.
“C0me one,” I said, and the three of us walked Indian style through the dim lit room and into my private place.
“I’ve always been a dreamer. I mean, I have vivid technicolor, wide-screen stereo dreams. Oftimes I dream of things that are happening, sometimes I dream of things that will happen, sometimes I’m dreaming of things even before I’m sound asleep. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of a dream not knowing what the end was to be. I go back to sleep, commanding my mind to finish the dream.
Twenty years ago I had a dream about Willie Nelson. I hadn’t spoken with, nor seen him, in about three years.
In my dream, Willie and I were sitting in a dresing room, swapping songs. I sang him a song I had leanred from a demo which Gene Ferguson had given me called The Ballad of Ira Hayes.
Willie said, “You should do an album of Indian songs.”
“I will,” I said. “I never thought of doing a whole album of Indian stuff”
“You will,” I said. “I never thought of doing a whole album of Indian stuff.”
“You will,” said Willie in my dream. (It’s called Bitter Tears.)
Willie said, “Let me sing you one, John. I thought of you when I wrote it.” “They’re all the same.
The dream was over at the end of they’re all the same.
Next morning I called my secretary. “Try to find me a number where I can call Willie Nelson,” I said. “Willie Nelson, the songwriter. I think he’s living in Nashville.”
An hour later I was talking to him. I congratulated him on the success of some of his big songs he had written recorded by other artists. He kindly returned the compliments. “Willie,” I said. “You might think I’m a little weird, but I dreamed about you last niht.” There was silence on his end, so I went on. “I dreamed you sang a song to me, one you had written clled they’re all the same.”
:Do you have a song called They’re All the Same?” I asked.
“Yes, I do,” he said, barely above a whisper.
“Would you send it to me” I asked. “Maybe I can record it.”
A long pause, then willie said. “Sure, give me your address.”
Willie sent the song and I played it a hundred times, but I never recorded it. I was beginning to get heavily into something else and somewhere along the way, I must have lost the demo of ‘Thy’re All the Same.’
Now, back to 1979. Willie, Waylon and I were sitting in my room just off the bedroom where June was asleep, just off the bedroom where John Carter was asleep.
I hadn’t seen Willie in ten years. The hair was long and plaited. The beard was full and red, and the eyes were clear and intelligent. Waylon kept his hat on and sweated like I do.
I was a little shy myself because I was in the presence of two of country music’s all time greats. I was also a little awed by Willie Nelson for his amazing rise to super stardom.
We sang a few songs quietly. Willie was still concerned with waking June.
“Willie;,” I said, “do you remember ‘They’re all the same’?”
“Man,” he said. “That’s been a long tme ago. Didn’t I send you that?”
“Yes, but I lost it.”
“I’ll send you another tape of it,” he said. “Let me sing you this one.” And he sang a song which became a number one record for him. But he still hasn’t sent me a tap on ‘They’re All the Same.’ Maybe he forgot it, too.
Not more than an hour had passed when Waylon said, “We’d better go, John. I know you and June had already gone to bed.”
“Don’t go,” I said, and to Willie, “I haven’t seen you in so long and I want to spend some more time with you.”
They insised that it was too late to keep me up and again expressed their concern of waking June on the way out.
I led the way and June was still asleep. I stopped and went over and shook June awake. Only the night light was on and as I started to turn on the bedside light, Wilie said, “No, John, don’t do that.”
In the dim light, I said, “June, here’s some old buddies, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.” Waylon went over and hugged her, and Willie knelt down beside the bed and kissed her on the cheek.
“HOw have you been, Miss June?” he said.
June started talking up a storm. “It’s so good to see you both. Why didn’t you wake me, John? Waylon, how’s Jessi? Willie, it’s so good to see you. John and I are so proud for you.”
“Didn’t mean to wake you pu, Miss June,” said Willie, “But it’s good to see you.”
:Oh, that’s alright, stay, John, turn on the light.”
“No, Miss June, we’re going. Hope we didn’t make too much noise.”
“Come back anytime, Willie. Come back, Waylon, and bring Jessie,” said June.
Waylon tipped his hat and followed Willie past John Carter’s bedroom and on out the door.
I waived goodbye to them as they got in the car and closed the door. I started past John Carter’s open bedroom door, back into our bedroom, but he was awake and standing there. “Who’s that, Daddy?” he asked.
“Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.”
He started back to his bed and stopped, “I smell something funny,” he said.
“Like what, John Carter?” I asked.
“I don’t know, he said, crawling under his covers.
Crawling in bed by June, I thought of the miles and the troubles my visitors must have known in their lives. They had been everywhere and done everything, but then so have I, I thought. Maybe I smell funny.
Willie’s a mon on The Willing Hand
Nelson is his name
Some fly high and some fly low
But theyrenot all the same
For a winning man with a winning hand
You never see brought down
One year he might disappear
And no more be seen in town
He’s got lots of things I’ve not
An he’ll master the movie game
He’ll be back along to sing his song
nd they’re not all the same
This record made in this decade
Is this decade’s number one
There is no doubt in my mind without
Willie Nelson it could not have been done
Now my take is said
And I thaik yo, Fred
You are one might man
To work it out
And bring about
The platinum The Winning Hand
— Johnny Cash
Thanks, John Good
by: Steve Tool
While country music legend Willie Nelson wasn’t in Enterprise on Sunday evening, he drew a standing-room-only crowd into the Independent Order of Odd Fellows hall for the Hootenanny/Pie Social celebration of his life and music.
Nelson, 83, is a founder of the “Outlaw Country” movement that focused on the music scene in Austin, Texas, rather than Nashville. He also is the author of such country classics as “Crazy” and “Hello Walls.”
The fourth annual Hootenanny event was a fundraiser for the Wallowa Valley Music Alliance. About 20 musicians performed in various combinations of groups throughout the evening.
Local musician Jimmy Bivens served as emcee for the event, which started with Bivens reading a short biography of Nelson and playing a video of Nelson talking about his career. Opening the show were local music stalwarts The Brann Family, who did a first-rate version of Nelson’s gospel classic “Family Bible.” Meredith Brann later performed a stellar cover of “Crazy.”
Other performances included Bob Webb and Heidi Muller covering “Pretty Paper,” while Homemade Jam performed “Hello Walls.” Mike Midlo and Kristy Athens — armed with their Gretsch Country Gentleman and Danelectro Longhorn bass, respectively — performed a very compelling medley of Nelson’s “Sad Songs and Waltzes” coupled with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” followed by a line from Nelson’s “Crazy.” Parts of the medley were done in reverent country music fashion, while the Prince number pinwheeled into amp feedback and The Who-inspired playing before reverting back into traditional country.
The show closed with all the performers crowded on the stage performing a rousing, sing-along rendition of “On the Road Again” that ended to thunderous applause.
Local musician Laura Skovlin said she played the show because she loves the Hootenanny performances.
“It’s a great event, and it brings together a lot of musicians, and of course, the pie,” she said. Skovlin performed the Nelson song “No Place To Be.”
“Out of all his songs it’s one I relate to because the words strike a chord in me,” she said.
Bivens, no stranger to country music, said he had been asked to perform but filled in at the emcee post due to a death in the family of original emcee, Ted Hays. Bivens performed “Good Hearted Woman,” although it is not his Nelson favorite. That would be “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” (The song was written by Hank Williams Sr. cohort, Fred Rose).
“It’s my favorite because of how melodic it is,” Bivens said. “It’s heartbreaking — you’ve lost somebody … and it’s tough.”
Nelson’s attraction for Bivens lies in the legend’s anti-Nashville stance and his ability to bring both cowboys and bikers together in their mutual appreciation of country music.
“That’s what’s coming back out of Austin now,” Bivens said.
WVMA director Janis Carper said that the evening netted about $2,500 between the $10 ticket fees, the $1-a-slice pie sale and a 50/50 raffle. The evening was so successful that Carper is considering finding another venue for the event next year.
“It’s a great room, but we had an awful lot of people standing,” she said.
Always confirm shows and get tickets at www.WillieNelson.com, or the venue.
Florida Country Superfest
Daytona Beach, FL
La Grange, Georgia
Rose Music Center
Huber Heights, OH
Tailgate and Tallboys Festival
River Edge Park with Kris Kristofferson
Sumptur Amphitheater with Kris Kristofferson
Vetter Stone Amphitheater
Grateful Fest at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park
French Lick Resort
French Lick, IN
Fourth of July Picnic
Austin 360 Amphitheater
Red Butte Garden Amphitheater
Salt Lake City, UT
Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater
with Kacey Musgraves
The Steifel Theater
Topeka Theater for the Performing Arts
Sioux Falls, SD
Sturgis Buffalo Chip
Hinterland Music Festival
St. Charles, IA
The Colleseum at Caesars
Windsor, Ontario Canada
with Aaron Lewis
Sept 9, 10
with Aaron Lewis
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Coney Island Amphitheater
The Colosseum at Caesars
Windsor Ontario, Canada
Oct 15, 16
Silver Star Convention Center