Archive for the ‘Awards and Honors’ Category

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014



Willie Nelson, CMA Entertainer of the Year 1979

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

In 1979 the Country Music Association ratified what everybody already knew: Willie Hugh Nelson was named Entertainer of the Year, the highest award country music can give. Of the five nominees — Kenny Rogers, Barbara Mandrell, the Statler Brothers and Crystal Gayle — Willie was probably the dark horse. The clear favorite was Kenny Rogers, riding the huge success of ‘The Gambler.”

After sitting through the entire awards show and watching Kenny Rogers grab every award in sight, Willie figured he was off the hook.

“I thought Kenny was about to clean sweep,” Willie says. “So I was surprised. I was shocked.” He was wearing his usual jeans and a neat cowboy shirt, his long hair pulled back in braids. He took the microphone and thanked the audience modestly, started to turn away, then turned back to the audience.

“When you talk about entertainers,” Willie said, “Entertainers for years, not just one year, but entertainers over the years — I like to think about people like Little Jimmy Dickens, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky and all those people, and “I’d like to see these guys up here one of these years, because they certainly deserve to be.”

The applause was deafening.

Afterwards, Willie spoke again about his heroes, country music stars from the 1950s who had a tremendous influence on the country music stars of the 1970s. If Willie Nelson had his way, they would never be forgotten.

Later, he was asked if he thought he was singing with more confidence. He paused for a long time before he answered.

“Yes, there’s a lot to that,” Willie said. “There were a lot of years when I felt like I was singing to myself. A lot of times I was.  There was me and two couples out on the dance floor, and that was it. The crowds have gotten bigger, and as the crowd gets bigger, your confidence grows. Maybe you’re doing it right.”

Again, it seemed that Willie Nelson’s career couldn’t get any bigger. Even The New York Times gushed the praises of the leather-tough singer from Texas.

“He plays with the vibrant enthusiasm of a Fats Waller,” wrote Al Rheinhart in the Times, “With the gleeful fulfillment of an artist who has finally found his audience, and through them, himself. He is truly happy to be there, playing is music, and it shows.”

“An objective look at the prsent state of Willie Nelson’s nearly three-decade-long career indicates that he not only learned form the error of his ways, but he’s in fact gone a step further and turned them all into triumphs,” wrote Willie-watcher Bob Allen in country Music Magaine in 1980. “For at least the last three years, some journalists have been predicting that his career was bound to peak any second now, and that it would all be downhill from there. But the fact is it just seems to be gaining more and more momentum, almost by the day, and his universal popularity continues to grow.”

Willie, as usual, was philosophical — “I feel like I’ve made all the mistakes,” he says, “and I hope I’ve learned from them.”

by Michael Bane

Rhonda Vincent duet with Willie Nelson No. 1, “Only Me”

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014


by: Larry Holden

Rhonda Vincent, known as the queen of bluegrass, is No. 1 on the charts again — this time with country legend Willie Nelson.

Vincent holds the top spot on the national bluegrass airplay chart for the month of December with song “Only Me,” — the title track on her newest album– a duet with Nelson.

It marks the first time Nelson has been at the top of the Bluegrass Unlimited national airplay chart.


“What a perfect Christmas gift, here in December,” Vincent said. “Thanks to the fans, to our friends, to our djs and everyone who has played this song. We appreciate it so much!”

The Billy Yates/Roger Brown penned track features the exact same guitar riff played in the 1980 No.1 smash, “On the Road Again.”

Last month Vincent was at the top of the charts with “Busy City,” which served as the lead single from “Only Me.”

For more on Vincent check out

Willie Nelson honored with Future Farmers of America Degree (October 2014)

Thursday, December 4th, 2014


In October, Willie Nelson received the Honorary American FFA Degree, one of the highest honors FFA can bestow, for his love for American agriculture and support of American farmers.

Grammy Foundation to honor Willie Nelson for humanitarian work

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Willie Nelson_13-137-35_300
hoto:  Ebet Roberts
by: Andrew Leahey

It’s been nearly 30 years since Willie Nelson teamed up with Neil Young and John Mellencamp to launch Farm Aid, a nonprofit organization and annual benefit concert supporting American farmers. That sort of charitable spirit — along with one of the most enduring catalogs in country music — has landed him a spot in the upcoming Grammy Foundation Legacy Concert, which helps kick off Grammy Weekend on February 5, 2015.

Formerly called the Music Preservation Concert, the Grammy Foundation Legacy Concert combines live performances with video footage from the Grammy archives. February’s show, dubbed “Lean On Me: A Celebration of Music and Philanthropy,” will shine a light on some of the industry’s leading humanitarians, including Nelson, education philanthropist Bryan Adams and gay rights activists Melissa Etheridge and Cyndi Lauper. Songwriter-producer Darrell Brown, who co-wrote Keith Urban’s Grammy-winning “You’ll Think of Me,” will reprise his usual role as the show’s music director. The concert will take place at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, and will also feature performances by Robin Thicke and Aloe Blacc.

Meanwhile, Nelson — who celebrated the 50-year anniversary of his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry last Friday — is gearing up for the release of his newest album, Willie’s Stash, Vol.1, December Day: which hits stores tomorrow. Watch the icon duet with his sister, Bobbie Nelson, on one of the album’s most storied songs, “Who’ll Buy My Memories?” here.


This day in Willie Nelson history: Grand Ole’ Opry Debut (11/28/64)

Friday, November 28th, 2014

On November 28, 1964, Willie Nelson made his Grand Ole Opry debut, as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly Saturday night country music radio program broadcast live on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the oldest continuous radio program in the United States, having been broadcast on WSM since November 28, 1925. It is also televised and promotes live performances both in Nashville and on the road.


The Grand Ole Opry started out as the WSM Barn Dance in the new fifth floor radio station studio of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company. The featured performer on the first show was Uncle Jimmy Thompson, a fiddler who was then 77 years old. The announcer was program director George D. Hay, known on the air as “The Solemn Old Judge.” He was only 30 at the time and was not a judge, but was an enterprising pioneer who launched the Barn Dance as a spin-off of his National Barn Dance program at WLS Radio in Chicago, Illinois. Some of the bands regularly featured on the show during its early days included the Possum Hunters, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, the Crook Brothers and the Gully Jumpers. They arrived in this order. However, Judge Hay liked the Fruit Jar Drinkers and asked them to appear last on each show because he wanted to always close each segment with “red hot fiddle playing.” They were the second band accepted on the “Barn Dance.” And, when the Opry began having square dancers on the show, the Fruit Jar Drinkers always played for them.

In 1926, Uncle Dave Macon, a Tennessee banjo player who had recorded several songs and toured the vaudeville circuit, became its first real star. The name Grand Ole Opry came about in December, 1927. The Barn Dance followed NBC Radio Network’s Music Appreciation Hour, which consisted of classical music and selections from grand opera. Their final piece that night featured a musical interpretation of an onrushing railroad locomotive. In response to this Judge Hay quipped, “Friends, the program which just came to a close was devoted to the classics. Doctor Damrosch told us that there is no place in the classics for realism. However, from here on out for the next three hours, we will present nothing but realism. It will be down to earth for the ‘earthy’.” He then introduced the man he dubbed the Harmonica Wizard — DeFord Bailey who played his classic train song “The Pan American Blues”. After Bailey’s performance Hay commented, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry.’” The name stuck and has been used for the program since then.

As audiences to the live show increased, National Life & Accident Insurance’s radio venue became too small to accommodate the hordes of fans. They built a larger studio, but it was still not large enough. The Opry then moved into then-suburban Hillsboro Theatre (now the Belcourt), then to the Dixie Tabernacle in East Nashville and then to the War Memorial Auditorium, a downtown venue adjacent to the State Capitol. A twenty-five cent admission began to be charged, in part an effort to curb the large crowds, but to no avail. In 1943, the Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium.

On October 2, 1954, a teenage Elvis Presley made his first (and only) performance there. Although the public reacted politely to his revolutionary brand of rockabilly music, after the show he was told by one of the organizers that he ought to return to Memphis to resume his truck-driving career, prompting him to swear never to return. Ironically, years later Garth Brooks commented in a television interview that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry was that he got to play on the same stage Elvis had.

The Ryman was home to the Opry until 1974, when the show moved to the 4,400-seat Grand Ole Opry House, located several miles to the east of downtown Nashville on a former farm in the Pennington Bend of the Cumberland River. An adjacent theme park, called Opryland USA, preceded the new Opry House by two years. Due to sagging attendance, the park was shuttered and demolished after the 1997 season by the Opry’s current owner, Gaylord Entertainment Company. The theme park was replaced by the Opry Mills Mall. An adjacent hotel, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, is the largest non-gambling hotel in North America and is the site of dozens of conventions annually.

Still, the Opry continues, with hundreds of thousands of fans traveling from around the world to Nashville to see the music and comedy on the Opry in person.

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Wanted: The Outlaws” — 1st country album to go platinum

Monday, November 24th, 2014

On November 24, 1976, “Wanted: the Outlaws” became the first country album to receive the new platinum certification, signifying one million units shipped.

The album, featuring Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and Jessie Colter was certified gold on March 30, 1976.

This day in Willie Nelson history, on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists List (11/23/11)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

photo:  Paul Natkin, Photo Reserve, Inc.

Like his conversational singing, Willie Nelson’s guitar playing is deceptively laidback, playfully offbeat and instantly recognizable. Amazingly, Nelson has been playing the same Martin M-20 classical guitar, nicknamed Trigger, since 1969; it has defined his sound, a nylon-stabbing mix of country, blues and Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz. Though  the guitar now has a large gaping hole, Nelson still plays it nightly. “I have  come to believe we were fated for each other,” he said. “The two of us even look alike. We are both pretty battered and bruised.”

We assembled a panel of top guitarists and other experts to rank their favorites and explain what separates the legends from everyone else.  Read about The Voters.

1. Jimi Hendrix; 2. Eric Clapton; 3. Jimmy Page; 4. Keith Richards; 5. Jeff Beck; 6. B.B. King; 7. Chuck Berry; 8 Eddie Van Halen; 9. Duane Allman; 10. Pete Townsend; 11. George Harrison; 12. Stevie Ray Vaughan; 13. Albert King; 14. David Gilmore; 15. Freddie King; 16. Derek Trucks; 17. Neil Young; 18 Les Paul; 19. James Burton; 20. Carlos Santana;  21. Chet Atkins; 22. Frank Zappa; 23. Buddy Guy; 24. Angus Young; 25. Tony Iommi; 26. Brian May; 27. Bo Diddley; 28. Joey Ramone; 29. Scotty Moore; 30. Elmore James; 31. Ry Cooder; 32. Billy Gibbons; 33. Prince; 34. Curtis Mayfield; 35. John Lee Hooker; 36. Randy Rhoads; 37. Mick Taylor; 38. The Edge; 39. Steve Cropper; 40. Tom Morello;  41. Mick Ronson; 42. Michael Bloomfield; 43. Hubert Sumlin; 44. Mark Knofler; 45. Link Wray; 46. Jerry Garcia; 47. Stephen Stills; 48. Jonny Greenwood; 49. Muddy Waters, 50. Richie Blackmore; 51. Johnny Marr; 52. Clarence White; 53. Otis Rush; 54. Joe Walsh; 55. John Lennon; 56. Albert Collis; 57. Rory Gallagher; 58. Peter Green; 59. Robbie Robertson; 60. Ron Asheton; 61. Dickey Betts; 52. Robert Fripp; 63. Johnny Winter; 64. Duane Eddy; 65. Slash; 66. Leslie West; 67. T-Bone Walker; 68. John McLaughlin; 69.  Richard Thompson; 70. Jack White; 71. Robert Johnson; 72. John Frusicante; 73. Kurt Cobain; 74. Dick Dale; 75. Joni Mitchell; 76. Robbie Krieger; 77. Willie Nelson; 78. John Fahey; 79. Mike Campbell; 80. Buddy Holly; 81. Lou Reed; 82. Nels Cline; 83. Eddie Hazel; 84. Joe Perry; 85. Andy Summers; 86. J. Mascis; 87. James Hetfield; 88. Carl Perkins; 89. Bonnie Raitt; 90. Tom Verlaine; 91. Dave Davies; 92. Dimebag Darrell; 93. Paul Simon; 94. Peter Buck; 95. Roger McGuinn; 96. Bruce Springsteen; 97. Steve Jones; 98.  Alex Lifeson; 99. Thurston Moore; 100. Lindsay Buckingham.

Read about all 100 at Rolling Stone site. 
CONTRIBUTORS: David Browne, Patrick Doyle, David Fricke,  Will Hermes, Brian Hiatt, Alan Light, Rob Tannenbaum, Douglas Wolk

Monday, November 17th, 2014

living legend award

Willie Nelson at grand opening of new exhibit: “Living Legend of Willie Nelson” (11/7/14)

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

rbz Willie DKR Exhibit 02
photo: Ralph Barrera

The Briscoe Center for American History has created a display honoring the Living Legend in Willie Nelson with an exhibit inside the Red McCombs Red Zone within the north endzone of the Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium on the University of Texas campus. Nelson arrived to a ceremony opening the exhibit Friday night November 7, 2014 with Don Carleton, Executive Director of the Biscoe Center, who are the curators of an extensive Willie Nelson collection. (


“It was a wonderful night at the Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium UT Texas,
celebrating a Texas Icon Willie “Papa Bear” Nelson. With the Armstrong and the Nelson family.”

— Paula Nelson



Paula Nelson, and her nephew Zack


Paula Nelson and Shannon Armstrong


This day in Willie Nelson history: “On the Road Again” #1 on Billboard Country Singles Chart (1980)

Saturday, November 8th, 2014


On November 8, 1980, Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” rose to #1 on Billboard Country Singles chart.

Willie Nelson performs “On The Road Again” live at the US Festival, 1983. “On the Road Again” became Nelson’s 9th Country & Western No. 1 hit overall in November 1980. In addition, the song reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his biggest pop hit to that time. Nelson won Grammy Award for Best Country Song a year later. Buy the entire concert here at:…

Willie Nelson Honored in Abbott, Texas (November 1973)

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Nov 4, 1973
Abbott, Texas, honors its best-known hometown boy with Willie Nelson Day

Billboard Magazine
November 24, 1973

Abbott, TX.   Some 10,000 country music fans were in the neighborhood when Willie Nelson’s hometown honored him at it’s 1973 homecoming last week.  With Willie, who now makes his home in Austin, were his friends who put on a 12-hour stage show for the town’s 375 people and their thousands of guests.   Appearing on stage with the Atlantic recording artist were Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kinky Friedman, Johnny Bush, Michael Murphey, Kenneth Threadgill and Sammi Smith.

It was quite a cast for a show sponsored by the Abbott PTA.   The audience played no favorites.  It responded uniformly and favorably to all of the entertainers.  Most of the audience was college and post college age.

People began arriving Saturday night for the Sunday show and the 300-acre site reserved for the event was dotted with campers, pickups, mobile homes, tents and bedrolls.   Some of the latecomers had to park several miles away, but were offered lifts in cars and pickups of those who were willing to chance finding parking closer in.

Willie and his band had to drive across Texas to make the event, having worked for the Saturday Terligua Chili Cook-Off.  He worked the morning stint, then closed the show with Sammi Smith.

This day in Willie Nelson history: ‘City of New Orleans’ (#1 Billboard) (Nov. 3, 1984)

Monday, November 3rd, 2014


On November 3, 1984, Willie Nelson’s recording of the song, ‘City Of New Orleans” is #1 on the Billboard country chart.

Here is a great video of scenes from old trains, set to Willie Nelson’s recording of the song.


Willie Nelson, Engelbert Humperdinck duet, “Make You Feel My Love” makes first round of 2015 Grammy Nomination (Vote if you can)

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Willie Nelson has made the first rounds of the 2015 Grammy Nominations for Best Country Duo/Group Performance with “Make You Feel My Love,” a collaboration he did with UK artist Engelbert Humperdinck, off his album ‘Engelbert Calling.’

If you are a voting member of the Recording Academy, please vote to make it to the next round. The ballots need to be in by 5PM on Wednesday November 5th.



Ben H. Dorcy, III named, “Bandera Music History Project Hall of Fame Living Legend”

Friday, October 17th, 2014

By Mary Allyce

The voting membership of the Bandera Music History Project Hall of Fame has never elected a Living Legend quite like Ben Dorcy – but then there is no one quite like Ben Dorcy.

How many people can claim the first induction into the Roadie Hall of Fame during Nashville’s 2009 “Roadie Palooza,” or have an annual day in their name at Floore’s Country Store? How many have an “Ode” written to them by Waylon Jennings? How many can boast a lifetime spanning a stint in the United States Navy, time with the Ice Capades and a turn with Hollywood’s Nudie Cohn, the man who put rhinestones on rhinestone cowboys like Porter Waggoner?

Dorcy’s also featured in Kinky Friedman’s – BMHoF Living Legend 2009 – “Roadkill” novel and forged friendships and working relationships with the likes of John Wayne, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.

Access to virtually any tour bus, known by virtually every musician in the business, a fixture at every venue in Bandera for decades, Ben Dorcy is the definition of unique and he’s spent most of his life in service to the music industry and musicians.
Ben H. Dorcy III was born on May 19, 1925 in Dallas and grew up in San Antonio where he attended Jefferson High School. He joined the Ice Capades in 1940, touring the United States and Europe for three years. In 1943 he enlisted in the US Navy, completing his service in 1946 and then it was back to the entertainment business.

Dorcy worked for John Wayne as a gardener and chauffeur and played a Tennessee volunteer in Wayne’s “The Alamo,” adding film to his resume. Always drawn to the music business, he found his way to Nashville in 1950 where he hooked up with country swing legend, Hank Thompson. He was with Ray Price when he met Willie Nelson in 1961. “He’s still a roadie,” Nelson said. “He’s a hard worker.”
BMHoF 2013 Living Legend, Walter “Tooter” Ripps talks of a gig where it started to rain. “Ben jumped up,” Tooter recalled, “and started unplugging and helping. I never saw anybody move so fast!”

Almost everyone who knows him has at least one “Ben Dorcy story.” There was the birthday party, meticulously planned for him. Everyone showed up except Ben. “I kept that cake in the trunk of my car until I finally caught up with him,” the hostess said. “Of course, by then it was mostly mold, but darned if he didn’t take it anyway and thanked me! I was so mad and he actually seemed pleased!”

As for Dorcy himself, in an Internet interview he offered, “The most amazing thing that ever happened to me was one time in Las Vegas when Ann Margaret asked me to dance!”

At 3 pm, Sunday, Nov. 9, join Ben at The Farm off FM 2828 as he accepts the 2014 BMHoF Living Legend award. There’ll be plenty of the music that’s defined Ben’s life.