Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

“Willie Nelson is an inspiration to us all” — Joe Nick Patoski

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Willie Nelson: An Epic Life
by Joe Nick Patoski
www.JoeNickP.com

He’s just celebrated his 75th birthday: Wanna bet that country music icon Willie Nelson is in better shape than you?

He’s an avid jogger, a serial golfer and has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He’s still on the road performing more than 100 dates annually, and in the studio so often he averages two albums a year at a time when most artists struggle to put out an album once every three years.

There’s no shortage of energy on the activism front, either: He still hosts the annual Farm Aid concert that he co-founded to help the farming community he feels the U.S. government has all but abandoned, and recently he lent his name to a biodiesel fuel brand partly due to his concern for the environment.

Those are only the somewhat recent accomplishments in a pioneering career that has seen its fair share of ups and downs. His albums may not be selling in the millions anymore, but there was a time in the mid-to-late ’70s when Willie was everywhere: the radio, the concert stage, the silver screen. He was country music’s most pervasive superstar.

And you all know the hits: “On The Road Again,” “Crazy,” “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Night Life,” and many, many more. He’s recorded and released close to 300 albums, and if he isn’t in the Guinness record books for issuing the most duets (he’s sung with everyone from Julio Iglesias (“To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before”) and Ray Charles (“Seven Spanish Angels”) to Waylon Jennings and even Aerosmith ) he should be.

As Selena and Stevie Ray Vaughan biographer Joe Nick Patoski so succinctly summarizes in the title of his latest work, Willie Nelson has indeed lived An Epic Life“ a life that includes four wives, eight children, a battle with the Internal Revenue Service, and the respect of the world.

For those who haven’t read Nelson’s 1988 self-penned tome Willie, An Epic Life is a good way to get caught up and perhaps even burst some of the myths and perceptions you have about this Lone State wonder.

Born in Abbott, Texas, on April 29, 1933, the son of a blacksmith and a singing teacher was actually raised by his grandparents from the age of 6 months, due to his parents’ split.

Nelson got into heavy living early: not only did he receive his first guitar and write his first lyrics when he was 6 years old, but he also smoked his first cigarette. Labour in the cotton fields followed a year later, and he got drunk for the first time on beer at the age of 9.

At 10, he joined a local polka band and received $6 for playing guitar, a catalyst for Nelson to realize his dream of making a living at music.

Now the way most of these stories go, you’d expect Nelson to be a troublemaker who spent more time in jail than on his education, but that wasn’t the case at all with Willie. He was an exceptional student, an accomplished athlete and one of the most popular kids at school.

However, his restless gypsy spirit was best suited to music, although it took him quite a while to achieve that goal, toiling as a D.J. and a salesman to make ends meet and support his family. Nelson was also a prolific songwriter, and when times were especially lean, he thought nothing selling future hits like “Night Life” which included the potentially lucrative publishing rights – for cash.

In fact, his future classics “Crazy,” “Night Life” and “Funny How Time Slips Away” were offered to a bandleader for $10 apiece, but Larry Butler refused and just lent Nelson what he needed. “Night Life” eventually landed with another party for $100.

Nelson tried to sell the song “Hello Walls” to Faron Young for $500 when he reached Nashville in 1960, but Young also did Nelson the favour of lending him the money rather than take the publishing rights. When “Hello Walls” hit No. 1, Nelson received his first royalty cheque for $14,000.

Willie was on his way, although it would take awhile for him to establish himself as a major country artist. In the 1970s, he recorded the bare-bones Red Headed Stranger and later married pop and country together for the standards album Stardust. But where Nelson really broke out was through an RCA Record compilation album called Wanted: The Outlaws, on which he was paired with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser.

The album sold more than one million copies and began a phenomenon, and Willie fever exploded. In 1976 alone, seven Willie Nelson albums dominated the charts, a trend that was to last well into the ’80s, spurred on by the Urban Cowboy movement.

With his rickety nasal voice, unique style of phrasing and a tempo-challenged guitar technique that felt somewhere between jazz and country, Nelson has been an unlikely influence on today’s generation of Americana and roots-driven country talent.

He wasn’t perfect – he had battles with the bottle and has been a womanizer – but the Country Music Hall Of Fame legend has shown five consistent qualities throughout his career: confidence, composure, productivity, persistence, and modesty.

Still going healthy and strong midway through his eighth decade, Willie Nelson has done it his way and is an inspiration to us all.

Willie Nelson, “The Face of Texas”, by Michael O’Brien

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

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http://blog.chron.com

A book blog with Maggie Galehouse

“The Face of Texas,” coming Sept. 30 the University of Texas Press, is so much more than one face.

It’s 75 faces. Of wrestlers and beauty queens, artists and presidents, golfers and filmmakers, teachers and kids, the celebrated and the ordinary.

All from – or deeply associated with – Texas.

Michael O’Brien’s color and black-and-white portraits represent 32 years of work – assignments from Texas Monthly and other publications, as well as images he discovered on his own. Each is accompanied by a short profile of the subject, written by O’Brien’s wife, Elizabeth.

It’s an eclectic group: Kinky Friedman to Lady Bird Johnson to Troy Aikman to ZZ Top.

“The Face of Texas” was first published in 2003. The second edition, with 17 new and 16 updated images, will be released in hardcover and paperback later this month.

Michael O’Brien spoke to the Chronicle from his Austin home.

Q: I have to ask: Are you from Texas?

A: I grew up in Tennessee and then I worked in Miami and New York. But I fell in love with Texas. I came here in the early ’80s to work for Life magazine. … In 1989 I got an assignment to photograph Austin for National Geographic. I came to Austin several times, taking portraits. Then I met D.J. Stout, who was the art director at Texas Monthly. In 1993 I moved to Austin with my family. My wife and I raised three children here. It’s what I consider home.

Q: Is there something special about Texas or Texans that you try to capture in your photographs?

A: It’s the humanity and the warmth. The people of Texas have hearts as big as the sky. When I came to Texas I connected with the people and the openness of the land. There’s not a rigidness and formality that I would see in other places. … And in the mid ’80s, I got an assignment from Life magazine to take pictures of Willie Nelson while he was making the film “Red Headed Stranger” on his ranch out in Spicewood. I don’t think I have met a nicer and kinder human being. That’s another reason I fell in love with Texas.

Q: Willie Nelson’s face is on the cover of both editions of the book. There must be something special about it.

A: Willie Nelson has such an amazing face it’s hard for a photographer to go wrong. His profile is beautiful. The sloping forehead. I think he has some Indian blood in his heritage. The character and humanity is evident.

Read the rest of the interview at houstonchronicle.com.

Read article there.

“The Right Words at the Right Time”, Marlo Thomas and Friends

Monday, September 1st, 2014

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“If I had to break it down, I’d say about 99 percent of the people in my life were telling me I wasn’t going to make it.  All that adversity and lack of faith ended up just strengthening my own convictions.  All that negativity really helped me in the end, because there’s no better inspiration for doing something than having somebody say that you can’t do it.”

Willie Nelson
The Right Words at the Right Time, Marlo Thomas and Friends
2002

“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die”, by Willie Nelson

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

http://blog.sfgate.com
by: David Downs

Poet-philosopher and outlaw country music legend Willie Nelson released memoir Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die Nov. 13 in hardcover. The breezy, funny chapbook mixes never-before-heard stories, life lessons, and loads of jokes; with a foreword by author, singer, and cult provocateur Kinky Friedman.

An author of 35 books himself, Kinky took a few minutes to chat with Smell the Truth via phone from his ranch in Texas, where he was preparing for the second phase of his Bi-Polar Tour, which starts Nov. 30 in Kansas City, MO. and ends Dec. 20 in Eugene, OR.

Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die began as a co-writing project with Willie, Kinky says, but Nelson’s editor wanted one star, and Willie didn’t want an editor at all.

“The editor only wanted one voice, then Willie says ‘I’m not going to write it if you’re not going to write it’. It was like Tom Sawyer painting a fence. I had to write 27,000 words of which the foreword is all that survived.

“But that title makes sense and is brilliant and a great statement,” Friedman says. “The book gives you some insights into Willie’s actual mind, which are always interesting and diverting and funny and enlightening. It’s music. It’s jokes. It’s a story about farting on an airplane – things like that. And it’s kind of where he is today.

“He is pushing 80 and he was concerned about his mortality – as anybody would be,” Friedman said. “God knows how you feel at that age. Most of Willie’s friends and contemporaries are dead. He’s got some real wisdom.”

“Something about what he is doing is working. He is really honestly connecting with people in a way that’s different than most artists or entertainers. Everybody thinks that they’re Willie’s friend and that’s true, from the doorman, to the guy loading the garbage truck. I’ve been around with Dylan. People are in awe of Bob Dylan, but they certainly don’t come over and say, ‘Hey, Bob, how are you? My name’s Bill.’ And it’s a good thing they don’t.”

Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die is easy to pick up and put down, making it great light reading over the holiday vacation. Here’s Nelson:

on exercise:
“Work out, work out, and work out.”

on drug legalization:
“Addiction should be treated as a disease.”

and on President Obama:
“I think that once you become President, the first thing you realize is that you can’t do shit.”

Friedman shares Nelson’s point of view on legalized pot, saying “we got prisons full of people that shouldn’t be there, meanwhile all the pedophiles and politicians run around free.”

And Friedman echoes Nelson’s contempt for corporate Nashville country music.

“Somebody is recording this shit and somebody is listening to it, I guess, and it must be making money, but I can’t think of any classics, anything great that have been written in the past 30 years in Nashville,” Friedman says.Like the book, Friedman’s Bi-Polar tour – which pulls into San Francisco Dec. 18– mixes songs, stories, jokes, and politics. Friedman says exploring another run for Governor of Texas.

“I think we really got a good shot at it. It’s a giant step down from musician to politician and I would only take it for Texas.”

Friedman’s also hawking a new solo CD, Live From Woodstock, a new tequila Kinky Friedman’s Man in Black Tequila, and branded cigar the Kinky Cristo. The music, the tequila, and the cigar all pack Kinky’s trademark punch and sting.

“It’s something that really got to zing for me to feel it,” he said. “We’re a homogenized, sanitized, trivialized culture already. I only have two tastebuds left but they are having a hell of a party.”

 

Willie Nelson’s guitar featured in “108 Rock Star Guitars”

Monday, August 11th, 2014

lisajohnson
photo:  Lisa Johnson

http://www.yakimaherald.com
by: Kiley Armstrong

Willie Nelson’s Trigger, named for movie-cowboy Roy Rogers’ horse, bears dozens of autographs, including Leon Russell, Roger Miller, Kris Kristofferson, Gene Autry, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. Trigger’s top is worn clear through; Nelson chooses to leave it that way.

“The two of them,” notes the book, “continue to mature together.”

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Willie Nelson: “The Tao of Willie”

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

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When the evenin’ sun goes down
You will find me hangin’ ’round
Oh, the night life, it ain’t no good life
but it’s my life

–Willie Nelson, “Nightlife”

Scuffling around as a young man looking for a way to get ahead, I landed in Fort Worth, where I played dance halls on Saturday night and taught Sunday school the next morning.

Church folks like to have a good time, too, so I used to sing “Amazing Grace” on Sunday morning to some of the same people who’d heard me sing “Whiskey River” on Saturday night. I didn’t have any problem with that, and neither did they.

The minister at the church, unfortunately, couldn’t see the beauty of this arrangement. Maybe he wasn’t aware that contradiction exists in all of us. Or maybe I hadn’t connected to him the way I had with his congregation.

Much of life can be summed up as connecting with other people. You may accomplish that with an easy smile, by being a good friend, or by lending a hand when you can. Maybe you do it through all of those and more. Someone repeatedly saying they’re your friend is not nearly so convincing as repeated displays of friendship.

In all things, your actions do speak louder than words.

The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart
Willie Nelson with Turk Pipkin

Willie Nelson, “A Tale out of Luck”

Sunday, July 20th, 2014



A Tale Out of Luck: A Novel
by Willie Nelson, with Mike Blakely
Publication:  September 3, 2008Â

By SI DUNN
www.dallasnews.comÂ

Almost anything that can happen in a Western novel does happen in this engaging action-thriller that pairs the multitalented Willie Nelson with another Texas author, singer and songwriter, Mike Blakely.Okay, there’s no big cattle drive, so, alas, no stampede. But this oddly titled book has plenty of other plot twists, as well as some slick marketing tie-ins. For example, Willie Nelson just happens to own a Western movie-set town called “Luck, Texas,” near Austin. And Mr. Blakely of Marble Falls previously has announced on his Web site that he has co-written a Western novel “designed to adapt to the big screen, with Willie himself playing the lead role.”A Tale Out of Luck does indeed move along like a novel grafted onto the bones of a screenplay. Still, it delivers a good day’s read, both for diehard Western fans and those who haven’t opened a shoot-’em-up in a while.Set a few years after the Civil War, the story revolves around a retired Texas Ranger, Capt. Hank Tomlinson, who has founded a little town called “Luck.” (“Wherever you go, you’re either in Luck or out of Luck, son,” he likes to say.) Tomlinson is good with guns, horses, tracking and (surprise!) music.

But he doesn’t get to spend much time drinking and entertaining in Luck after his prized Kentucky thoroughbred goes missing, and so do his two sons, Jay Blue and Skeeter. They were supposed to be guarding the thoroughbred, but now, fearing the old Ranger’s wrath, they have fled and are trying to recover the expensive race horse.

There’s more, of course. A shadowy, dangerous opponent from his Ranger days once again wants to kill Capt. Tomlinson. An inept Army officer has attacked and stirred up the local Comanches. And the Reconstruction Republicans ruling Austin have disbanded the Texas Rangers, set up a new state police force and sent a policeman on horseback to arrest Capt. Tomlinson on suspicion of murder.

Hey, but there’s still a little time for some pickin’ and grinnin’, folks, before and after the climactic battle scenes.

 A Tale Out of Luck is full-gallop entertainment, and it should be a reasonably lucky book for the two authors.

Si Dunn reviews books about Texas and the Southwest.

Willie Nelson, ‘A Tale Out of Luck’

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

A Tale Out of Luck: A Novel 

A Tale out of Luck
by WIllie Nelson, with Mike Blakely

Review by:  Sam Sattler
http://bluegrasspath.blogspot.com

Country singer, and national icon, Willie Nelson has teamed up with Mike Blakely to write A Tale out of Luck, a western novel with a bit of a mystery thrown into the mix.

Hank Tomlinson has probably fared better than most Texas Rangers who were suddenly thrown out of work when the Rangers were disbanded in Reconstruction Texas following the Civil War. He operates the Broken Arrow Ranch and owns most of the businesses in Luck, the little town that he founded in order to attract the services that were not in the area when he began his new life as a rancher.Things are going so well, in fact, that he has just brought a Kentucky thoroughbred back to the ranch that he hopes will make him a bundle in breeding fees.

But when Jay Blue, Hank’s son, and Skeeter, the orphan taken in by Hank as a youngster, do a poor job on guard duty one night and the new mare disappears, things change for Hank and the people of Luck, Texas in a big way. Barely one step ahead of Tomlinson and his anger, the boys race off, determined to recover the lost horse, and find themselves in the adventure of their young lives.

Along the way they meet and befriend an albino Negro who captures and tames wild horses for the U.S. Cavalry and a young Apache warrior who has been critically wounded during the massacre of his people by the Calvary and a few ranch hands who were along for the ride, two people who will come to play important roles in their future.

Suddenly the folks in Luck, Texas, are faced with warring Apaches and what appears to be a lone Indian assassin from Tomlinson’s past who makes everyone nervous by peppering two people with arrows and scalping them before disappearing again. When a policeman from Austin comes to town to further complicate matters, things get a little hot for the Tomlinson clan before the book reaches its rousing climax.

Willie Nelson and Mike Blakely have touched most of the Western genre bases with A Tale out of Luck. There are bands of marauding Indians, cavalry troopers racing to the rescue in the nick of time, cattle rustlers, wild horses, a beautiful, world-wise but kindly saloon keeper, a jail escape, a bigger-than-life good guy, and an equally bigger-than-life villain to menace him. The authors combine these elements in a clever way, managing to include a surprise or two, so that the novel is a fresh and fun read even for those who have read dozens of westerns in their day.

See Joe Nick Patoski on the Radio

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

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!Peligro! !Peligro! !Radio Mas Fuerte!
The Texas Music Hour Of Power on www,marfapublicradio.org KRTS-FM Marfa on iTunes and Tune In 
*****CLEARLY BEYOND THE LEGAL LIMIT*****

Howdy, all y’all. I’m Joe Nick Patoski and I’d like to invite you to my party on Facebook. Every Saturday nite. 6-8 central, I host the Texas Music Hour of Power on KRTS-FM in Marfa, and several other stations in Far West Texas, and onwww.marfapublicradio.org. 

The show features all kinds of Texas music made over the past century of recorded music, and runs two hours because Texas spans two time zones and its music is too big to limit to one hour. Name your poison: Country and Western, Rhythm and Blues, Western Swing, Rock and Roll, Jazz, Tex=Mex, Conjunto, Tejano, Cajun, Zydeco – if it’s from Texas, and it sounds good, it’s all fair game. When the show airs, we all gather around the electronic campfire on my Facebook page to share images , comments and whatever else about the music being played. 

It’s an interactive wild party – no rules, no drink limit, just good people. Drop on in, or stay all night and groove with us.

I’ve spent the past four decades writing about Texas and Texans, authoring and co-authoring books on Willie Nelson, Selena, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Mountains, Texas Coast, and Big Bend National Park, and sustainable land stewardship. I spent 18 years as a staff writer for Texas Monthly and have written for the Texas Observer, National Geographic, No Depression, Texas Music, the Big Bend Sentinel, and a bunch of other publications. A lot of what I’ve learned comes out in the eclectic mix of music that I play. Tune in, turn on, and come on over and join the party.

And if you don’t have a copy of this, pick one up!

 The following article about Joe Nick Patoski’s great biography about Willie Nelson, “Willie Nelson:  An Epic Life” was first published in No Depression Magazine in 2004. Visit Joe Nick’s website to read the entire article, at www.JoeNickP.com :

The following article about Joe Nick Patoski’s great biography about Willie Nelson, “Willie Nelson:  An Epic Life” was first published in No Depression Magazine in 2004. Visit Joe Nick’s website to read the entire article, at www.JoeNickP.com :

Gonna Catch Tomorrow Now

No Depression
BY JOE NICK PATOSKI
September-October 2004

LUCK, Texas, isn’t as easy to find as it used to be. Development has sprawled the entire 25 miles from downtown Austin to this idyllic little spot in the Hill Country near Lake Travis where Willie Nelson created his own universe more than two decades ago. The old corner store that was once a landmark is now a bank. The entrance gate is practically lost among the McMansions and ranchettes that have sprouted up.

This fact of life is not lost on the guy in the Willie Nelson T-shirt driving the mower over the fairway of the Briarcliff Country Club. After providing directions to a wayward tourist, he wisecracks, “Welcome to Oak Hill,” referring to the suburb fifteen miles closer to the city.

Still, there’s enough acreage surrounding Luck that once you stumble onto the dirt main street, you realize Willie Nelson’s home base is safely in a zone of its own. The cowboy town of faux buildings – including a feed store, barn, gunsmith, church, and bathhouse – hasn’t changed much since it was built for the filmRed Headed Stranger in the early 1980s. Unchanged, but deteriorated to the point that Luck today looks less like an Old West movie set and more like a real 20th century small town in Texas that is drying up and blowing away. Whatever it is, it is Willie’s World. The rest of us are just visiting. (more…)

Andrew Bernstein dishes on Willie Nelson, Jerry Garcia and more in, “California Slim”

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

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The story begins in 1962 with Andy and his then unknown banjo teacher, a young Jerry Garcia, finger picking in a back room at a music studio in Palo Alto, and ends in 1980 with Andy sharing joints and good times with the Willie Nelson Family. A skinny six-foot-seven-inch Jewish kid (later known as “California Slim”), Andy divided his time between the usual adolescent interests and music, for which he would go on to provide a capital M by promoting and staging concerts throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. His Palo Alto nightclub, Homer’s Warehouse, across the street from Stanford University, brought revolutionary musicians to young sensibilities hungry for new driving rhythms.

www.digitaljournal.com

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart once said, “There was a community in need of music, and music in need of a community.” That community was San Francisco in the ’60s and ’70s, and that music was rock ‘n’ roll.

Presenting every baby boomer’s musical dream, Andrew Bernstein’s “California Slim” takes readers on a mesmerizing behind-the-scenes psychedelic journey through San Francisco’s cultural and musical revolution.

The book provides a real taste of rock ‘n’ roll history, from the moment Bernstein was a 14-year-old kid taking banjo lessons from an unknown music teacher named Jerry Garcia, to the red carpet premier of Willie Nelson’s first movie, “Honeysuckle Rose.”

“California Slim: The Music, the Magic, and the Madness” By Andrew Bernstein ISBN: 978-1-4797-7045-8 Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Xlibris online bookstores

About the Author In 1969, Andrew Bernstein began working as a creative partner in Crimson Madness, a producer of light shows at Bill Graham’s famed Fillmore West. Bernstein also worked with the legendary B.B. King, Albert King, Iron Butterfly, Boz Skaggs, Grateful Dead, Original Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson and many others. He currently resides in San Francisco.

Willie Nelson’s FaceBook page is having a contest to win copy of “Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris and the Renegades of Nashville.”

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Willie Nelson’s FaceBook page is having a contest to win copy of Michael Streissguth’s book, “Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris and the Renegades of Nashville.”

COMMENT TO WIN:   If you and Willie ended up in jail together, in 5 words or less what would it be for?

We’ll chose a few of 3 our favs and send them a copy of the brand new book “Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville” by Michael Streissguth!

Winners will be chosen Fri 2/20 at 12PM CST and updated on this post! Open to fans worldwide.

Happy birthday, Susie Nelson

Monday, January 20th, 2014
heartworn

Heartworn Memories A daughter’s personal biography of Willie Nelson by Susie Nelson

“I wouldn’t want anything to change his loyalty.  He has an enormous capacity for being loyal and, as a consequence, people are loyal to him.  Paul English stuck with Dad through the lean years, selling his rental property and going without pay in order to help Dad follow his dream.  His loyalty and consideration for other extends to everyone around him.

He is almost apologetic whenever he asks anyone to do something for him.  ‘It’s almost like he works for you,’ his pilot once told me.  He’s still the same appreciative boy from Abbott who used to ask for a ride to the baseball game in West.

In a way, Dad has never left Abbott, never forgotten where he came from.  He still drops in on his boyhood friends from Abbott, and he still remembera and keeps in touch with all of the folks who helped him on his way up.

Of course he has never lost his touch with the fans.  He will sign autographs as long as there is anybody asking for one.  He has said over and over again that he can’t understand performers who think they are bigger than their fans, who won’t sign autographs, who cut the shows short or don’t even show up.  ‘I always figure that if my audience shows up, I ought to show up too,’ he says.

The size of the audience doesn’t make any difference.  He’ll put on the same show for one person crowded around the bandstand as he will for 70,000 screaming fans.

Dad is an extraordinarily popular figure, a hero and an idol to millions around the world.  Very few people in history have the kind of following that Dad has.  For some people, going to one of Dad’s concert is like a religious experience.

I think the source of his great and enduring appeal is the fact that he truly believes that in the grand design of the universe, he is no more important, no more unique, no better than any other individual human being on the planet.  He communicates a true belief in equality, in tolerance, that we are all in this together.  That’s what his music is all about.  And that sums Dad up about as well as any I’ve heard.

Paul English tells a story that sums Dad up about as well as any I’ve heard.

After a concert, a woman came up to Dad, ‘I met you in San Antonio five years ago,’ she told him, ‘but I don’t suppose you remember me.’

‘No, I’m sorry, but I don’t,’ he answered, ‘but I sure appreciate you remember me.’

That’s my dad.  And I love him.”

– Susie Nelson

“Willie Nelson: An Epic Life” (by Joe Nick Patoski)

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

 The following article about Joe Nick Patoski’s great biography about Willie Nelson, “Willie Nelson:  An Epic Life” was first published in No Depression Magazine in 2004. Visit Joe Nick’s website to read the entire article, at www.JoeNickP.com :

Gonna Catch Tomorrow Now

No Depression
BY JOE NICK PATOSKI
September-October 2004

LUCK, Texas, isn’t as easy to find as it used to be. Development has sprawled the entire 25 miles from downtown Austin to this idyllic little spot in the Hill Country near Lake Travis where Willie Nelson created his own universe more than two decades ago. The old corner store that was once a landmark is now a bank. The entrance gate is practically lost among the McMansions and ranchettes that have sprouted up.

This fact of life is not lost on the guy in the Willie Nelson T-shirt driving the mower over the fairway of the Briarcliff Country Club. After providing directions to a wayward tourist, he wisecracks, “Welcome to Oak Hill,” referring to the suburb fifteen miles closer to the city.

Still, there’s enough acreage surrounding Luck that once you stumble onto the dirt main street, you realize Willie Nelson’s home base is safely in a zone of its own. The cowboy town of faux buildings – including a feed store, barn, gunsmith, church, and bathhouse – hasn’t changed much since it was built for the film Red Headed Stranger in the early 1980s. Unchanged, but deteriorated to the point that Luck today looks less like an Old West movie set and more like a real 20th century small town in Texas that is drying up and blowing away. Whatever it is, it is Willie’s World. The rest of us are just visiting.

I had come for my last sit-down with Willie Hugh Nelson. I’d been writing about him since I hit Austin in 1973, a year after he did. I’ve spent the ensuing years listening, watching, and observing him as he played shows on flatbed trucks, in drive-in movie theaters (with Paul Simon sitting in, no less), in amphitheaters, in performing arts halls, and at too many July Fourth Picnics to count. Somewhere along the way, the television appearances, movie roles, and inductions to various halls of fame added up to Willie achieving some kind of sainthood, with just enough speed-crazed hustlers, soulful used-car salesmen, and honest-to-Sam-Houston characters to keep me engaged.

Like Austin, Willie too has changed along the way. He came to the game as a songwriter. Some say that particular skill fell by the wayside decades ago – that he’s sliding by on cruise control, that he hasn’t written a memorable song in years. And yet, in the midst of all his albums of cover songs, tribute songs, collaborative affairs with high-profile buddies, television specials, and films, he’s still continued to write songs – including an antiwar protest number that briefly stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy late last year. Not to mention enough straight-ahead country tunes to justify a full-blown album that may be his best work in ages (It Will Always Be, due October 26 on Lost Highway).


(more…)

Turk Pipkin with “Angels Sing” DVD (available now!)

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

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Turk Pipkin  holds the first DVD copy of, “Angels Sing”, which he and wife Christy presented to Willie Nelson in Las Vegas yesterday.    The movie, starring Harry Connick, Jr. and Connie Britton and featuring Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Lyle Lovett, is in out in theaters now, and is now also available on DVD, as well as available for streaming and rental.   A great holiday gift!

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The movie, filmed in Austin Area, was based on book, “When Angels Sing”, written by Turk Pipkin.

Learn more about the movie and the incredible soundtrack (with Harry Connick, Jr., Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Marcia Ball and more) at http://www.angelssingmovie.com/

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Purchase your copy now!

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Willie Nelson’s guitar featured in “108 Rock Star Guitars”

Monday, December 9th, 2013

lisajohnson
photo:  Lisa Johnson

http://www.yakimaherald.com
by: Kiley Armstrong

Willie Nelson’s Trigger, named for movie-cowboy Roy Rogers’ horse, bears dozens of autographs, including Leon Russell, Roger Miller, Kris Kristofferson, Gene Autry, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. Trigger’s top is worn clear through; Nelson chooses to leave it that way.

“The two of them,” notes the book, “continue to mature together.”

rockstarguitar2