Archive for the ‘Birthdays’ Category
by: Written by Selena Dieringer, Jack Gorman, Chris Gray, Matthew Keever, Chris Lane, David Rozycki and Jesse Sendejas Jr.
*** His new album, God’s Problem Child, includes a song called “Still Not Dead.”
*** The album will be released this Friday, the day before his 84th birthday.
*** He drew 75,008 fans to his RodeoHouston 2017 concert, helping set a new single-day total attendance record of 185,667.
*** He co-founded Farm Aid.
*** He tosses bandannas to the crowd at most every show.
*** He has the most concise definition of his genre: “Three chords and the truth – that’s what a country song is.”
*** His instantaneous and deeply felt kinship with Snoop Dogg.
*** His picnics.
*** Yesterday’s Wine
*** “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”
*** B.B. King’s version of “Night Life”
*** He kept Trigger when the FBI took everything else.
*** Bruce Robison’s “What Would Willie Do?”
*** Willie’s Reserve, retail marijuana
*** Against corporate cannabis.
*** Mickey Raphael, harmonica badass
*** Robert Earl Keen’s “Picnic” story on 1996 live album No. 2 Live Dinner.
*** Supports Bernie Sanders.
*** Across the Borderline
*** “On the Road Again”
*** Patsy Cline’s version of “Crazy”
*** Dislikes Donald Trump (perhaps the only person alive he does).
*** Has made many, many, many, many, many appearances on Austin City Limits.
*** He owns his own biodiesel firm, and it’s called BioWillie.
*** He made long hair braids acceptable among the manliest men around.
*** Sister Bobbie and “Down Yonder”
*** He got sewed up in a sheet and beaten with a broom by his ex-wife…and forgave her.
*** He was BFFs with Waylon Jennings
*** Waylon and Willie
*** “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”
*** The Supersuckers’ version of “Bloody Mary Morning”
*** Represents what Texas should be about: freedom, individual rights and individuality.
*** He smoked a joint on the roof of the White House during the Jimmy Carter administration.
*** He made the most successful commercial recording artist in Europe at the time, Julio Iglesias, into a household name in America.
*** His statue in downtown Austin.
*** The Raelyn Nelson Band (Willie’s granddaughter)
*** Willie just said no…to taxes.
*** He is the only known person in human history to be accused (if that is the correct word) of completing a nine-hour sex marathon with a full somersault while still engaged in the act with his partner.
*** Shotgun Willie
*** “Hello Walls”
*** Chris Stapleton’s brand-new version of “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning”
*** Luck, the Old West town/movie set he owns.
*** He and late University of Texas coaching legend Darrell K. Royal were thick as thieves.
*** His 1993 “Graceland” duet with Paul Simon on Saturday Night Live.
*** He stood up for Charley Pride when nobody else would.
*** Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real (Willie’s son)
*** He’s a Taurus, the astrological signifier of practicality, ambition, dependability and sensuality.
*** His Gershwin Prize For Popular Song, awarded in 2015.
*** “Angel Flying too Close to the Ground”
*** Alison Krauss’s cover of “I Never Cared For You”
*** He makes great gospel music, too; listen to 1976’s The Troublemaker.
*** He’s the only watchable part of the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard movie.
*** He adores golf.
*** He knows Bob Wills is still the king.
*** The Highwaymen
*** Honeysuckle Rose (the movie)
*** Honeysuckle Rose (the tour bus)
*** “Always On My Mind”
*** Norah Jones’s version of “Hands On the Wheel”
*** No other octogenarian rocks the pigtails like he does.
*** His friendship and occasional collaborations with the late Ray Price.
*** His mugshot from the Pasadena (TX) PD, c. 1960
*** He has inspired three (count ’em) excellent, very different biographies — Willie by Bud Shrake; Willie Nelson: An Epic Life by Joe Nick Patoski; and his autobiography (with David Ritz), It’s a Long Story: My Life.
*** Timekeeping brothers Paul and Billy English
*** He and Kinky Friedman co-wrote a book called Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.
*** He is a major character in Friedman’s 1997 mystery novel Roadkill.
*** Phases and Stages
*** “Me & Paul”
*** Elvis Presley’s version of “Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away”
*** Old Whiskey River bourbon
*** He used to go by “Wee Willie Nelson” as a DJ in the Pacific Northwest.
*** Instant conversation-stopper whenever people bag on Texas for being a right-wing loony bin: “Willie Nelson is from there.”
*** Bee Spears (RIP) and current Family bassist Kevin Smith
*** He wrote his first song before he learned long division.
*** That cameo in Half Baked.
*** Django and Jimmie, his 2015 joint album with Merle Haggard
*** “Pancho & Lefty”
*** Willie’s version of “Write Your Own Songs”
*** He’s the only pothead my dad ever liked.
*** He’s still playing live shows at a rate that should humble musicians half his age.
*** Happy birthday, Willie!
photos: Janis Tillerson
Janis Tillerson took this photo, in Luck, Texas
Micah and his big brother, at Red Rocks.
Micah Nelson: When It Comes to Willie Nelson’s Youngest Son, expect the unexpected
by Steve Uhler
Micah Nelson has been screwing with everyone’s expectations since before he was even born.
His dad originally wanted to name him Jake — a “cowboy name” — but the still-gestating prodigy had other ideas. “Apparently, when my mother was pregnant with me, she had a dream in which I came to her and said, “Hey, listen. I’m gonna be showing up soon, so I want to let you know ahead of time. My name is Micah. You can call me whatever you want, but that’s my name. Micah. OK, great — see you soon.” Then she woke up and turned to my dad and said, ‘Hey, uh… so his name is Micah, apparently.”
“That wasn’t enough convincing, however. “They settled on Jacob, Jake for short,” he continues. “But then I showed up and said my name is Micah. Only doctors and cops and people at the DMV call me Jacob.”
Anyone expecting Willie Nelson’s youngest son to reflect the spitting image of his iconic father is likely to be simultaneously disappointed and amazed. Flying in the face of preconceptions — ore -re-anything — is a lifelong motif for the 24-year-old musician. his music is as similar to his dad’s as John Cage is to Johnny Cash. Same canvas, wildly different colors. “Micah has never followed the herd in anything he odes,” says his older brother, Lukas. “To follow any formula would limit him, which he knows. He’s as unique as he is creative.”
Even as a toddler, Nelson was messing with people’s heads. “I started playing harmonica in my dad’s band when I was about three,” he recalls. “I thought I was just getting harmonica lessons. I was oblivious to the thousands of people watching. My Aunt Robyn asked me if I was nervous in front of all those people? I said, “If I don’t see them, they can’t see me.’ Eventually I got pretty decent at the harmonica, and my dad would throw me the nod to take a solo or two.”
Like his iconoclastic father, Nelson does things his own way — and he does a lot of things. In addition to being a full-time musician, both with his band, Insects vs Robots, and as a solo artist, he’s an accomplished painter, photographer, filmmaker and animator. Imagine H.R. Giger channeling John Audobon at a seance with David Lynch, and you’ll get some idea of Nelson’s vision.
As a musician, he eschews the formulaic and polished in favor of the ragged, unformed and spontaneous. As such a conduit as a creator, Nelson conjures “found sounds” into complex musical works of astonishing depth, imagery and surprising humor. An intuitive sonic forager, he finds inspiration in serendipitous places: the rhythm drip of a leaky faucet, the arthritic, groan of an old rocking chair, the distant howl of hungry coyotes in the night. “When I was in high school, every morning on Maui I’d wake up to the most psychedelic bird calls right outside my window,” he recalls. “the weirdest riffs. A human couldn’t write those melodies. I had a growing suspicion that all birds were just musical robots flying around with little tape decks built into them with old warped tapes that would loop the strangest, tweekiest sounds.”
So do inanimate objects, “I know a guy named Lewellyn with an old creaky rusty cat,” he continues. “Every time he opens his door it sings the strangest creaky melodies. I”ve ripped his car’s riffs off countless times. Sometimes I see music as this mysterious forest to be explored. Or like archeaology. You never know what treasures and artifacts you might find, but you can’t know unless you start digging.”
Nelson meticulously builds layers of tracks, weaving a tapestry of songs that are often otherworldly. Anyone expecting echoes of his dad’s distinctive voice and mainstream op sensibilities will find Nelson’s oeuvre disorienting. It’s a beguiling mash-up of traditional folk, psychedelia and world beat, peppered with guileless vocals, dissonant chordings and shifting time signatures. It’s musical Chaos Theory.
“A lot of popular music is so safe, so predictable, like it was processed in a factory,” he explains. “You can literally go in and buy it at Target next to the Tupperware. Not that there’s anything wrong with that .. except that a lot of it tends to sound like Tupperware. Some folks want ot make a pop hit that sells deodorant and plays every five minutes at Walgreens and gets them a Super Bowl halftime show. I tend to get bored with that intention. It spooks my horse.” Perhaps the closest he’s ever come to a traditional love song is “Mosquito,” his bizarre ode to the pesky insect.
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All Willie, all weekend.
That’s what you’ll hear if you tune to 98.9 KUTX-FM April 29-30.
In honor of Willie Nelson’s 84th birthday, the radio station will air “wall-to-wall” Willie from 6 a.m. April 29 to 6 p.m. April 30. That’s 36 straight hours of Nelson’s music – everything from the classics we all know to deep album tracks and even two airings of “Amazing Grace: The Story of Willie Nelson,” a documentary.
From a KUTX news release: “Were it not for Nelson, the Austin music scene would not be as vibrant. As Joe Nick Patoski wrote in the ‘Texas Music Almanac,’ ‘… it wasn’t until the night of Aug. 12, 1972, when Willie Nelson walked onto the stage of the Armadillo (World Headquarters) that everything changed. That performance in front of a mixed crowd of hippies and rednecks is recognized as the starting point of the modern Austin music scene.’”
The full schedule:
Saturday, April 29
- 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Wall-to-wall Willie Nelson
- 6 to 7 p.m.: “Amazing Grace” documentary
- 7 to 11 p.m.: Willie Nelson tribute with Rick Daddy
Sunday, April 30
- 6 to 7 a.m.: “Amazing Grace” documentary
- 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Gospel/jazz Willie Nelson with Jay Trachtenberg
- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Wall-to-wall Willie Nelson
Happy Birthday Loretta Lynn, who turns 85 today.
photo: Janis Tillerson
Happy birthday to Kevin Smith, bass player for Willie Nelson & Family.
Mickey Mouse turns 88 today in California. In 1978, Willie Nelson joined others to wish Mickey Mouse Happy 50th birthday, on a televised special. Other guest appearance on the show were made by: Gerald Ford, Billy Graham, Lawrence Welk, Gene Kelly, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Edgar Bergen, Jodie Foster, Goldie Hawn, Eva Gabor, Anne Bancroft, Jo Anne Worley, and Burt Reynolds.
Ray and Leon singing a song for Willie at his birthday concert.