Archive for 2017

Mickey Raphael, on harmonicas

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Born and raised in the Lone Star State of Dallas Texas, Mickey Raphael’s career as Willie Nelson’s Harmonica player has spanned almost three decades. His intelligent playing style has become a hallmark of Nelson’s crossover sound, earning him a large audience worldwide. As a teenager, Raphael gravitated toward the Dallas folk music scene and fell under the spell of legendary harmonica great Don Brooks. “I went to this little coffee house one night and saw him playing and it just impressed me so much,” Raphael recalls. “He had moved to New York and was kind of a legend around Dallas. He sat me down one night after a show and showed me this little lick that went all the way up and down the harmonica, just a little pattern. Right away I just jumped about twenty steps from the little I already knew about the harp.” Raphael eventually joined singer B.W. Stevenson’s band. One of his most enthusiastic boosters was University of Texas Football coach Darrell Royal, a passionate fan of country music. One night in 1973, Royal invited Raphael to a post-game party in a Dallas hotel room and asked him to bring along his harps. The resulting informal jam session included Charley Pride and Willie Nelson, who passed around a guitar and took turns singing.

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“I played a little with Willie and he asked me to come and sit in with him sometime. A while later he played a fireman’s benefit in a high school gym somewhere outside of Dallas and I showed up there and played a little. Later, we were sitting there talking and he said, “Why don’t you come to New York with me in a couple of months – we’re going to play Max’s Kansas City.’ So I went up there and played with Willie. He really wasn’t touring that much then; it was still a couple of years before he left Texas again on real tours.” Raphael moved from Dallas to Austin, Nelson’s home base, and began a crash course in country music. “When I joined Willie’s band, I really didn’t know anything about country music. I’d never really listened to it at all. I was a folk blues player. I just wanted to play in a country band and ride around in a bus.”

Raphael credits blues great Paul Butterfield and rhythm and blues saxophone genius King Curtis as two of his biggest influences. “Charlie McCoy was the first harmonica player I really listened to in country music.”

Willie Nelson and his fans

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
Image result for willie nelson and family

Willie Nelson & Family with Dwight Yoakam in Savannah (Oct. 20, 2017)

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Willie Nelson, “Desperados Waiting for a Train”

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

"Desperados Waiting For A Train" – Willie Nelson from Luck Films on Vimeo.

Buddy Cannon interview on the Paul Leslie Hour

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017


Buddy Cannon is a large part of the equation when it comes to the success of several iconic country music recording artists.  He is the longtime producer for the bulk of Kenny Chesney’s discography and for the last 5 years he has been the producer of choice for country music legend Willie Nelson.  Other artists he has produced include George Jones, Chely Wright, Reba McEntire, and Merle Haggard.

Buddy Cannon has also been very successful as a songwriter.  With country artists Bill Anderson and Jamey Johnson, Buddy Cannon wrote the hit song “Give It Away.”  He’s written and co-written songs for artists as diverse as Vern Gosdin and Willie Nelson.

Although this interview covers many topics, it takes a close look at the acclaimed Willie Nelson album “Heroes,” which featured guest appearances by Merle Haggard, Lukas Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Billy Joe Shaver, Sheryl Crow and Snoop Dogg.

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Willie Nelson Thrills in Spokane

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
by:  Kathy Plonka

Although country icon Willie Nelson’s guitar and face were worn from many years on the road, he proved his talent and tunes stand the test of time.
Eighty-four-year-old Nelson played with special guest Kacey Musgraves at Northern Quest in Airway Heights on Tuesday night.

Country queen Musgraves’s 45-minute performance and youthful spirit were integral elements of the show. Her easygoing and fun personality shone like the glitter on her microphone stand.

Obviously, most of the fans came for Nelson – except for one who repeatedly shouted, “Kacey,” during her set – but Musgraves’s smooth-as-butter voice and skillful guitar playing kept them engaged as they waited. She executed vocal runs with ease.

It was clear that the singer-songwriter connected with her songs’ stories about her hometown, love and loss. She also played unique covers that surpassed the original tracks’ quality, including “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert and a feminine, Southern spin on “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. I have heard many musicians cover Barkley’s song but none have impressed me quite like Musgraves.

Before Musgraves exited the stage, she paid tribute to country legend Glen Campbell, who died Tuesday, with a performance of his hit “Rhinestone Cowboy.” A complete gamut of human emotion was on display: nostalgia, sorrow and celebration.

A deafening roar filled the outdoor space when Nelson appeared donning his signature long, gray braids. I immediately realized that not many musicians – young or old – can play a guitar as skillfully as the legend. Musgraves said that he “might be bigger than Jesus” in her home state of Texas, and the way his fingers flew across the frets and strings suggested divine inspiration. Nelson’s “little” sister Bobbie – who’s actually two years older – also showcased her dazzling piano skills, which equaled her brother’s knack for playing the guitar.

Every time Nelson transitioned to a new song, a hush fell over the crowd. After more than 50 years of making music, his nasally baritone continues to mesmerize an audience.

When Nelson sang the 1981 track “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” you could hear a pin drop apart from the occasional cheer. The spectators were basking in the nostalgia while listening to the song. Soon after, he sang “On the Road Again” and his grin echoed the song’s sentiments: Nelson was clearly happy to be performing.

Despite his age, Nelson could sing in his higher register and the audience gladly filled in when he could not. The most memorable performance of the night was “Always on My Mind,” which elicited a standing ovation from a large chunk of the audience. His expertly executed guitar riffs and haunting vocals proved worthy of praise and quite a few tears that sneaked down my cheeks.

Throughout the night, Nelson paid tribute to late country stars, including Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams. He played his and Jennings’s song “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” Haggard’s “It’s All Going to Pot” and Williams’s “Hey, Good Lookin’.”
But a tribute to his duet partner and friend Campbell was noticeably absent. Perhaps the wound was too fresh. Regardless, I think Campbell would have been proud of another legend’s continued efforts to spread joy through music.

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Farm Aid: Beyond the Music

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Farm Aid’s annual concert, an all-day music and food festival, will take place on Sept. 16 in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.

Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Jack Johnson and Sheryl Crow will be headlining, among many other prominent musicians. Proceeds from the concert will benefit small family farms by providing farmers with resources and support.

Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp started Farm Aid as a benefit concert in 1985 to “raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on the land.” Since its inception in 1985, Farm Aid has flourished into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. In 2001, Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid board of directors.Farm Aid has raised more than $50 million to support the family farm system in America. In addition to raising money, Farm Aid provides a hotline for farm families in crisis, 1-800-FARM-AID, and has created an online platform called the Farmer Resource Network to help farmers find important farming resources. The nonprofit has granted more than $22 million to 300 organizations across the nation, part of an effort to enhance local and regional food systems.
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Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Willie Nelson and the Recordmen

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Willie Nelson and Family and Friends, “I’ll Fly Away”

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Willie Nelson’s Thurs., Aug. 17 gig at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium broke out into a star-studded gospel jamboree.

Longtime friend and collaborator Kris Kristofferson and supporting act Kacey Musgraves joined Nelson for three gospel standards. The selections were “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?,” “I’ll Fly Away” and Hank Williams’ “I Saw The Light.”

Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius/XM Radio (Channel 59)

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

SIRIUS XM Willie’s Roadhouse (Channel 59) is Willie Nelson’s 24/7 channel for Traditional Country Music.

6:00 am – 12:00 pm

Willie’s Roadhouse with Charlie Monk/  Charlie Monk is called “The Mayor Of Music Row” because he knows everybody in Nashville and worked in every facet of the country music biz. He brightens your mornings with the stories about all the celebrities he knows, and of course classic country from Conway Twitty to Waylon Jennings.

12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Willie’s Roadhouse with Dallas Wayne.  “I’ve always wanted a job I could do in my underwear without a pole being involved,” Dallas Wayne says of broadcasting from his home outside Austin, TX, “But you’re welcome to drop by Stately Wayne Manor and stick a dollar in my garter anytime!” Or, just hear him play classic country.

6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Willie’s Roadhouse with Paula Nelson, Founder of the Paula Nelson Band and daughter of Willie Nelson spins classic country from the SiriusXM studios on Willie Nelson Blvd. in Austin, TX.

10:00 pm –  12:00 am

The Grand Ole Opry Recognized around the world for showcasing the best in live American country music, The Grand Ole Opry is the oldest running radio program in the U.S. Its legendary stage has welcomed important music stars, performances and moments in country music history. That tradition continues…

New Album from Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017
by:  Hal Horowitz

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Few bands come with the pre-approval of not only Willie Nelson, but Neil Young. The former is somewhat of a given since Lukas is Willie’s son, but the association with Young is far more significant.

The legendary singer-songwriter not only hired Lukas and his group to record his Monsanto Years album, but replaced a long-standing relationship with the fabled Crazy Horse when he took Promise on the road with him as his backup band. The latter resulted in the live Earth but more importantly the two years spent touring behind Young infused both confidence and the Canadian’s notorious professionalism into Nelson and his group, already well established through nearly a decade of live work.

Since Promise of the Real had a history of meshing rock, blues, soul, folk and country, the Young connection just molded those genres into a mix that’s raw and authentic. The one time four-piece has also expanded its lineup for this Fantasy debut, adding three musicians to the established trio that backed up frontman Lukas. The new seven man outfit flexes its muscles quickly on the ruminating opener “Set Me Down on a Cloud.” It’s a slow brooding piece that builds over seven minutes to an explosive crescendo with powerful churchy backing singers but oddly fades out as things are getting really hot. Just to show that they can reel things in, the following “Die Alone” southern soul rocker crackles at a compact 2:37.

While there are other examples of how effectively P.O.T.R. works in the longer formant — specifically the Little Feat-influenced “Find Yourself” and lovely, languid ballad “Forget About Georgia,” both over six minutes — the tunes typically stick around the three minute mark. They also occasionally reflect the storytelling traits of some of his dad’s Texas peers such as Joe Ely and Guy Clark, especially on “Runnin’ Shine,” the tale of a moonshiner who is “doing fine, running ‘shine,” over languid pedal steel and banjo. Willie lends his inimitable lead acoustic guitar to the breezy “Just Outside of Austin” with its sunshiny “Everybody’s Talkin’” lope. While “Carolina” hews a little too closely to Jimmy Buffett “Margaritaville” territory, it displays the younger Nelson’s lighter side. 

You can hear Willie’s timbre in Lukas’ voice as he croons the honeyed “Breath of My Baby,” a love song with added strings sweetening an already tender track (with whistling) that will bring a tear to the most jaded eye. The closing “Starting Over” waltz time retro country weeper ballad is an original — as are all these songs — but sounds like something daddy Nelson might sing in his most vulnerable moments.

Ultimately, Lukas is carrying on Willie’s tradition, pushing the outlaw boundaries his famous father established in the ’70s and proving that the musical apple truly does not fall far from the tree.

Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Don Meredith’s son working on new movie about his dad, “First Cowboys”

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Michael Meredith was, he says, the child of two nomads, two bohemians. During the late 1960s, when his parents were still married and living in Dallas, their frequent live-in guest was a songwriter named Willie Nelson, who sang a song his dad loved and would later immortalize on Monday Night Football by crooning it comically when the outcome was no longer in doubt. The release of “(Turn Out the Lights) The Party’s Over” also happened 50 years ago.
by:   Michael Branberry

He will tell the story by focusing on his dad, who played from the team’s inception in 1960 through his ninth season, 1968, which also ended in a heartbreaking loss. The elder Meredith suffered devastating injuries, both physical and emotional, that belied his nickname, “Dandy.”

He and his mom lived in Italy and an ashram in India. He dotted the U.S. map, living in Fort Worth (her hometown), Houston and two places his dad lived — Beverly Hills, Calif., and Santa Fe, N.M.

He was, he says, the child of two nomads, two bohemians. During the late 1960s, when his parents were still married and living in Dallas, their frequent live-in guest was a songwriter named Willie Nelson, who sang a song his dad loved and would later immortalize on Monday Night Football by crooning it comically when the outcome was no longer in doubt. The release of “(Turn Out the Lights) The Party’s Over” also happened 50 years ago.

Read article in Dallas News here.