Archive for the ‘Awards and Honors’ Category

This day in Willie Nelson history: Country Music Award (1982)

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

2015 Grammy Hall of Fame

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

by: David Beckett
By Kurt Wolff

Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Willie Nelson and the groups Kraftwerk and ABBA are among the artists who will have their songs or albums inducted into the 2015 GRAMMY Hall of Fame.

The 2015 list consists of 14 songs and 13 albums, including Williams’ 1947 single “Honky Tonkin’,” Otis Redding‘s classic “Try a Little Tenderness,” western swing maestro Bob Wills‘ “San Antonio Rose,” Chic‘s “Le Freak” and Aaron Neville‘s “Tell It Like It Is” as well as albums by Nelson (Stardust), Dylan (Blood on the Tracks), Neil Young (Harvest), Leonard Cohen (Songs of Leonard Cohen) and the Sex Pistols (Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols).

Willie Nelson, Red Rocks Hall of Fame

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Willie Nelson received this  Hall of Fame award from the City of Denver and Red Rocks Amphitheater.

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Stardust” album certified quadruple-platinum (1/9/90)

Friday, January 9th, 2015

On January 9, 1990, Willie Nelson’s “Stardust” album was certified quadruple-platinum. I don’t know what that means, it sounds like a top-of-the line heart surgery or something. I do know it means a lot of those albums sold, and a lot of people fell in love with Willie Nelson because of that album.

1. Stardust
2. Georgia on My Mind
3. Blue Skies
4. All of Me
5. Unchained Melody
6. September Song
7. On the Sunny Side of the Street
8. Moonlight in Vermont
9. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
10. Someone to Watch over Me
11. Scarlett Ribbons
12. I Can See Clearly Now

Willie Nelson one of top Austin Bands of all time (not really news)

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Willie Nelson Bobbie Nelson Dan Bee Spears and Paul English
by: Michael Corcoran

First a word about the elephant not in this room. I love the late Doug Sahm, the musician who best epitomized the Austin scene because he grew up in clubs and could play it all, but you won’t find his name in this list because his two greatest bands–the Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados–were based in San Antonio, not Austin. This is a ranking of bands, not solo artists and the musicians who backed them up, so although Sahm, guitar whiz Eric Johnson, songwriter Butch Hancock, and other true Austin trailblazers fronted some terrific groups, none made this 25-band salute. When you think about the thousands of bands that have made Austin home since the 1940s, a lot of very good groups did not make the list.

While ranking these bands, innovation was an important consideration, as was national prominence. But maybe most of all, these groups were chosen on the basis of how much they contributed to the lovin’ cup of Austin sounds we still drink from.

It’s different here when it comes to music. In the early ‘70s, Austin had the lowest cost of living of any of the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. It was also the only city in Texas where you could live without getting beat up for no reason besides your long hair, your measure of masculinity, or your artsy ways. Bands started moving here from all over in the late ‘60s and they keep coming, though Austin is now one of the most expensive cities in which to live.

So there was a lot to mull. In the case of a tie, I would think about walking into a club without any idea what to expect – just like my first night in town in April 1984 — and each band coming onstage and playing. Who would knock me on my ass or make the neck fuzz tingle? A great band can take me where a thrilling movie or interesting book can’t.

Great bands are the best thing about Austin and lousy bands are down there with traffic. So we took 25 great ones, added an “-est,” and here we go:

1. Willie Nelson and Family

A brother and sister who’ve been playing together for 77 years. Mickey on lonesome harp. Paul, Jody, Bee, and the kids who’ve filled the stages around Willie’s phrases in recent years. The classics: one after the other, in virtually all styles of American music. Played with the feel of a bluesman, the adventure of a jazz musician. After moving here from Nashville in 1972, the folk hero and his band established Austin as a town where the music mattered more than the money and the fame. It brought people together. The family? That’s you, too.

Read about the other 24 here:

Willie Nelson’s album, ‘Stardust’ in 2015 Grammy Hall of Fame

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

1. Stardust
2. Georgia on My Mind
3. Blue Skies
4. All of Me
5. Unchained Melody
6. September Song
7. On the Sunny Side of the Street
8. Moonlight in Vermont
9. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
10. Someone to Watch over Me
11. Scarlett Ribbons
12. I Can See Clearly Now

by:  Carrie Horton

Recordings by Willie Nelson and Hank Williams will be joining the illustrious Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015.

Nelson’s 1978 standards album ‘Stardust’ will enter the Hall of Fame, along with Williams’ 1947 hit, ‘Honky Tonkin.’ Bob Wills’ ‘San Antonio Rose’ is another country recording recognized this year.

Honoring songs and albums from any genre that are at least 25 years old and showcase cultural and historical significance, the Grammy Hall of Fame aims to highlight the diversity and quality of excellent music. The contributions from Nelson and Williams will join 25 other inductees this year, making the current list – on display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, Calif. – almost 1,000 titles strong.

“With recordings dating as early as 1909 through the late ’80s, this year’s Grammy Hall Of Fame entries not only represent a diverse collection of influential and historically significant recordings but also reflect the changing climate of music through the decades,” says Neil Portnow, President and CEO of the Recording Academy. “These memorable, inspiring and iconic recordings are proudly added to our growing catalog — knowing that they have become a part of our musical, social, and cultural history.”

Along with ‘Stardust’ and ‘Honky Tonkin,’ other notable additions in 2015 include Bonnie Raitt‘s 1989 album ‘Nick of Time,’ Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood on the Tracks’ album from 1975, and Neil Young’s 1972 record, ‘Harvest.’

For more information about the Grammy Hall of Fame, including a full list of inductees, visit

Willie Nelson’s, “Stardust” album selected for 2015 Grammy Hall of Fame

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

1. Stardust
2. Georgia on My Mind
3. Blue Skies
4. All of Me
5. Unchained Melody
6. September Song
7. On the Sunny Side of the Street
8. Moonlight in Vermont
9. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
10. Someone to Watch over Me
11. Scarlett Ribbons
12. I Can See Clearly Now

Three classic country recordings have been selected for the 2015 Grammy Hall of Fame Inductees.

Willie Nelson’s classic 1978 standards album, Stardust, is going into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The honorees also include “Honky’ Tonkin,” by Hank Williams and His Drifting Cowboys from 1947, and Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys’”San Antonio Rose,” from 1939.

The Grammy Hall of Fame honors recordings that are at least 25 years old that have made a big historical or cultural impact. There are currently 987 titles in the Grammy Hall of Fame, on display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

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On August 13, 1988 Willie Nelson becomes the first artist ever to have an album spend 10 years on the Billboard country chart as “Stardust” logs its 520th week.

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