Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Enter to win signed copy of, “Me and Paul: Untold Stories of a Fabled Friendship”

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

“Me and Paul, Untold Tales of a Fabled Friendship” by Willie Nelson, with David Ritz

Sunday, September 18th, 2022

“Me and Paul: Untold Tales of a Fabled Friendship,” the latest book written by Willie, with David Ritz, is set to be released Tuesday, September 20 by Harper Horizon Books. and you can pre-order it on Willie’s website here. The site is offering a 10% discount for first time purchases, also

This book is everything it’s title promises: it’s all about Willie Nelson and his drummer Paul English. It’s the book we’ve all wanted to read, a book of stories about their friendship and life on the road. Chapter after chapter of stories about Paul supporting, encouraging, protecting Willie for over 70 years, from early hard scrap days in Fort Worth in the ’50’s to playing sold out shows around the world, donating their time and energy to help raise money to support family farmers, through movies in Hollywood and around the country and the world..

Willie wrote Me and Paul in collaboration with journalist David Ritz, who worked with Willie before on It’s a Long Story: My Life and Me written in 2015. Ritz is a Grammy-winning music journalist and author. Right at the begining, Mr. Ritz lets us know that, “I’ve taken poetic license to adorn their stories,” and that Willie and Paul most likely take the same poetic license when they tell stories. The stories, so many never published anywhere, weave together an epic story of 70 years of friendship and Paul’s support, encouragement, protection and care of Willie. On tour he was bodyguard, accountant and known to carry a gun to make sure band got paid. Sadly, Paul passed away 87 years old in 2020.

In the ’70’s, Willie wrote a song with same name as this book, “Me and Paul.” A highlight and fan favorite of every show, was when the band would perform that song Willie wrote celebrating their friendship. Every time, at the end of the song Willie would turn around and Paul would stand up behind his drum set, and the two would shake hands. It gave me good bumps. “Me and Paul” was also name of a studio album Willie released in 1985.

This is an entertaining, touching, book. It talks about triumphs, disappointments, good times, hard times, scary times. It’s very entertaining, and makes you love WIllie and Paul even more, if that’s possible

“Me and Sister Bobbie”

Thursday, July 7th, 2022

“Me and Paul”, new book about Willie Nelson and Paul English

Thursday, June 30th, 2022
by: John Freeman

Willie Nelson will explore his many adventures with late drummer Paul English in his new book, Me and Paul: Untold Tales of a Fabled Friendshipset to be released Sept. 20 via Harper Horizon.

A member of Nelson’s band since 1966, English was renowned for his tough, outlaw style and served as the group’s de facto bodyguard in addition to his drumming duties. He adopted a persona called “The Devil,” matching the name with an evil-looking goatee and wearing a cape. He earned a reputation for fist fights as well as getting his mates out of dangerous situations on the road. Nelson immortalized him in song with 1971’s “Me & Paul,” a travelogue of sorts that chronicled some memorable — and possibly illegal — mishaps in Laredo, Milwaukee, and Buffalo.

English remained a regular member of Nelson’s band up until his 2020 death at the age of 87.

“There’s something about my friendship with Paul that reminds me of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn,” Nelson said in a statement. “Tom was more civilized and Huck was wilder. Although I was plenty wild at age 22, I’d have to say Paul was wilder. Like Tom and Huck, though, we became a team. Nothing could or would ever separate us.”

Nelson wrote Me and Paul in collaboration with journalist David Ritz, who previously worked with Nelson on 2015’s It’s a Long Story: My Life and Me.

The 89-year-old Nelson is currently headlining shows on the Outlaw Music Festival tour with guests including Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Brothers Osborne, Allison Russell, and Charley Crockett.

Read article here.

Me and Sister Bobbie

Saturday, May 21st, 2022

Willie Nelson: The Little Black Book

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Willie Nelson. The Little Black Book is a collection of quotes from the legendary artist, singer, songwriter. They’ve been carefully selected for their wisdom, inspiration and humor. You’ll also find quotes that serve only to tell a little about the living legend that is Willie Nelson. Keep it out in the open so you can pick it up for a quick dose of inspiration whenever you need it. They say we should learn from the best. Willie Nelson’s Little Black Book is one great way to do that.

The Willie Way

Friday, November 26th, 2021
by: Katie Rock

Sometimes life can get us all down, but country star Willie Nelson has some great advice for achieving contentment by living life “the Willie Way.”

From his book The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart — an autobiographical collection of advice on life — here are ten tips for staying on the road from the family man and legend of outlaw country.

Tip #1: Live life by the cowboy way

As Nelson writes, “The cowboy way springs from common sense and from a strong sense of right and wrong, without regard for consequences.”

To him, that also means earning respect “through the positive quality of your actions” and not projecting blame for your own problems onto others.

Tip #2: Drink cool water

Though Nelson understands the appeal of a cold beer on a hot day, he recommends reaching for another drink when feeling parched — water. He reminds us all to drink more water if not already getting the recommended amount. And according to Harvard, that’s four to six cups daily for generally healthy people, but varies depending on the individual.

“The bottom line is,” Nelson writes, “you should drink water when you’re thirsty.”

Tip #3: Breathe

Nelson gives a lot of well-deserved credit to the simple act of breathing. “When I was very young and just learning music, my grandmother taught me that voice control depended on breathing from way down deep,” he writes. “Through deep breathing, you strengthen your lungs, your vocal cords, and every other part of your body, including your heart.”  

And deep breathing has been beneficial for “Shotgun Willie” Nelson in more ways than singing and staying alive. “Deep breathing can work wonders for your physical, mental, and emotional state,” he offers.  

Music gave Nelson the freedom to move around the world, which inspires his songwriting. He notes that when it comes to inspiration for life, “The road is filled with possibilities.”

Tip #4: Meditate

According to Nelson, meditation is one of the best ways to get in touch with his inner thoughts. “Sit. Listen. Breathe. Dream. Renew,” he suggests.

And he says, “When you come back to the thoughts of your body … all you need to do is remember to take a part of a simpler you on your journey through the world.”   

Tip #5: Let it go

One thing Nelson recommends not doing is going “through life pissed off about traffic and jackasses.”

“It’s not a perfect world,” the marijuana enthusiast points out, “and sometimes you just have to let your anger go.”

And one way of achieving that anger-free mind state is letting “the jerks of the world” serve as an example of what others shouldn’t be. He writes, “If someone’s a jerk, that’s their misfortune, not yours.”

Tip #6: Some lessons come twice learned

According to Nelson, some important lessons may be learned more than once. These are things like patience, honesty, and wanting less and giving more.

But almost above all, he reminds readers not to forget one lesson — the benefits of laughter. “There’s nothing better for your mind and body than a great laugh,” he writes, adding, “except for great sex, of course.”

Tip #7: Avoid feeling the ‘nothing I can do about it now’ feeling

Once something is said, it can’t be unsaid, and Nelson recommends an easy way to avoid the regret of already spoken words. “Keep your words sweet,” he suggests. “You may have to eat them.”

Most people have to learn this one the hard way, including Nelson. “Understanding regret has been one of the hardest lessons there is,” he notes.

Tip #8: Get on the road again

Something Nelson does to enjoy life a little more is stay on the road. “Even when I was a kid, I liked the idea of being on the road,” he shares. “My buddy Zeke and I used to hop freight trains to nowhere.”

Tip #9: Take care of the physical and the spiritual

While Nelson has many tips for staying mentally fit, he also emphasizes the importance of physical fitness. “If I didn’t work to keep in good shape, I couldn’t tour the way I do, or sing nearly as long every night,” he admits.

And for Nelson, that could mean yoga, jogging, or even martial arts. Notably, he received a black belt in Tae Kwon Do at 69.

Tip #10: Sages are ‘real people’

While navigating life, Nelson thinks, “All of us need true sages to lead us through the world.”

And like the Tao philosopher Sun Tzu, he likes to think sages are “real” people. By that, he means people who “comprehend what is beneficial and what is harmful,” among other things. Those individuals might harmonize with nature or improve their own health through calmness. And while he didn’t name names, it sounds like his old friend Dolly Parton might fit his description.

To sum it all up, Nelson — now 88 — concludes The Tao of Willie with a simple message. The key to a life of contentment is finding the happiness in your own heart. “Open your heart,” he writes, “and give love a try. You’ll be amazed at what happens.”

Willie Nelson talks about new book, “Me and Sister Bobbie”

Sunday, November 14th, 2021

In his new book, “Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band,” country music legend Willie Nelson talks about his unbreakable bond with his sister Bobbie. As Harry Smith spoke with them for TODAY, they talked about being raised by their grandparents and their lifelong love of music. Regarding rumors of his death, Nelson jokes, “I hope they aren’t true.”

Willie Nelson’s Letters to America

Friday, November 5th, 2021


“Willie Nelson is a national treasure.  At different points in my life he has been my Shaman, my preacher, my teacher, my north, my south, my anchor and my friend.  I put my faith in the music and the man.” – Eric Church

Following his bestselling memoir, It’s a Long Story, Willie Nelson now delivers his most personal and intimate thoughts and stories in Willie Nelson’s Letters to America. 

From his opening letter “Dear America” to his “Dear Willie” epilogue, Willie digs deep into his heart and soul–and his music catalog–to lift us up in difficult times, and to remind us of the endless promise and continuous obligations of all Americans–to themselves, to one another, and to their nation.

In a series of letters straight from the heart, Willie sends his thanks and his thoughts to

  • Americans past, present, and future,
  • his closest family members, and
  • his personal heroes, from our founding fathers to the leaders of future generations.

Willie’s letters are rounded out with the moving lyrics to some of his most famous and insightful songs, including “Let Me Be a Man,” “Family Bible,” “Summer of Roses,” “Me and Paul,” and “Yesterday’s Wine.”

Congratulations, Willie Nelson and Turk Pipkin — “Letters to American” on NY Times Best Seller List!

Saturday, July 10th, 2021

Words of Wisdom from Willie Nelson

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021
by: Marissa R. Moss

Read article here

riting ‘Letters to America.’ | CREDIT: PAMELA SPRINGSTEEN

Willie Nelson saw a sign the other day while out for a walk in Hawaii, where he’s been spending his (hopefully) last stages of quarantine. “It read, ‘husband for sale,'” he says laughing, Zooming in a black t-shirt with his wife Annie nearby. They’re fully vaccinated – Annie even helped administer some shots back home in Texas – and ready to get back to life. “We’ve been in jail together for a long time.”

For Nelson, who has spent nearly his entire existence on the road, that jail has been pretty miserable – he’s missed hugs, he’s missed friends, and, most of all, he’s missed being on stage singing his legendary songs (“If I wasn’t already on dope,” he says, “I’d go get on it”). But he also didn’t use that rare time off to bake bread like the rest of us. He released two records, First Rose of Spring and That’s Life, a memoir with his sister, Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band, and a whole new book called Letters to America. Written alongside actor/director Turk Pipkin, it’s part patriotic guide, part self-help, part spiritual tome, part parenting and relationship manual, and part heartfelt confessions from one of our most beloved songwriters and entertainers. There are also a couple dirty jokes because, as Nelson sees it, “the best medicine is laughter.”

In Letters to America, we learn his family motto (“#1. Don’t be an a–hole. #2. Don’t be an a–hole. #3. You’ve got it: Don’t be a goddamned a–hole”), his songwriting advice (“listen to the world around you”), and some of his most direct and specific opinions about life, justice, and the future of our planet. Nelson doesn’t like to talk about politics in interviews or during concerts, but Letters to America is the answer to those who are curious as to why – and where he stands. Nelson declares definitively that Black, and Native American, Lives Matter, that the electoral college should be eliminated and that protecting the earth should be one of our foremost concerns, corporate interests be damned. In an age when we’ve never been further from one another physically, Letters to America manages to bring us even closer to the musician, father, husband, activist, and man of spiritual faith that Nelson truly is.

It’s good timing. As with Dolly Parton, we’ve turned to the 88-year-old Nelson for comfort through this “pandammit,” as he calls it, and as residents of a country struggling to confront both its inherent beauty and brutal, ugly truths. Since bringing together the hippies and rednecks in the sixties, Nelson’s music has been one thing, in an increasingly polarized world, most people can agree on – and without him ever having to hide what he believes or tailor his sound for the marketplace. He’s prolific and poetic, inclusive but unwavering, everyone’s compromise but without doing so himself.

Nelson wasn’t planning on being so direct in the title though. He wanted to call the book “Yesterday’s Wine,” after his song and album of the same name. “They decided that Letters to America would be a more saleable title, maybe,” he says. “So, whatever it takes.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, in addition to writing a book, you also launched an entire cannabis conference – and asked President Biden to make 4/20 an official “high” holiday). Do you feel like we’re making progress towards normalization?

WILLIE NELSON: Oh yeah, I think the public perception has changed dramatically over the last few years. And more and more people are realizing that [weed] is a medicine. And if used properly and not overdone, it can help you. It can help you sleep, it can also reduce pain. In fact, the two main things that I’ve heard about it is that it reduces pain and induces sleep. So that’s very positive.

And maybe helps people with a little bit of COVID anxiety.

Oh, absolutely.

Speaking of, you write “F— you” to COVID in the book. I think that’s cathartic- a lot of us just need to get that anger out of our systems.

I’m hoping other people will get the same idea, and then life goes on. I got a couple of shots. Kiss me, nothing makes me sick. I want to get back to hugging my relatives and friends again and not having to worry. I think we’re all ready for that. I think we’ve had enough of distancing.

This book is many things: political guide, memoir, personal advice to friends and family. Did you set out to create something that spans so much of your history and approach to life?

It’s sort of like when I write a song, which is not that much different from a book. You ask, “What do you want to accomplish?” I wanted to get people’s attention and tell them how we feel about this particular subject or that one, and how we think it’s important that you have an opinion and that you trust yourself and trust your opinions. And it’s believing in ourselves, especially when times are tough.

Did you discover some things while writing this book that you didn’t expect?

I think I discovered that I talk a lot.

It’s wonderful to read about your childhood, especially learning how you spent your days roaming free outside, playing dominoes, and making up songs. Are you worried that our screen-addicted kids won’t grow up to be songwriters, because they’re lacking that kind of existence?

I think we’re pretty creative, and I think we’ve figured out ways to do what we need to do. And if we listen to ourselves, listen to what your mind is telling you, it will tell you the right thing. George Jones had a song called “Choices” that said we’re living and dying with the choices that we make. And that’s very true.

Letters to America, you are emphatic about equality. “Equal rights for all,” you write, speaking to LGBTQ readers, and about the importance of bringing more women into the room.  You recently put that to action by inviting Margo Price to the board of Farm Aid, as the first female artist there. Why was she so important to bring into the fold permanently?

First of all, she’s incredibly intelligent and very competent. She’s absolutely capable of being on the board and doing and thinking for us and helping us go the right direction. She brings a lot to the table. She’s a good friend, and we’ve made some pretty good music together.

In the book you talk about genre, and how it’s a bit of a marketing construct. Margo is a great example of someone who is just making music and not trying to fit in a box. Do you feel like we’re heading to a place free of the need to categorize art in that way?

Well, my grandmother, who raised me and my sister, she told me the definition of music is anything that’s pleasing to the ear. And that sounds good to me. If it’s pleasing to the ear, then it’s music to the ear. So that put a whole new light on it for me.

The music is important, not what we call it.  

True. It can be a steel guitar or a symphony orchestra or just a voice acapella or voice and the guitar, and it doesn’t matter as long as there is feeling and talent involved.

You also address the different ways we carry grief, and how to deal with it. You’ve suffered a lot of loss throughout your life, but your advice is, “Missing ain’t living, and living works best when you’re strong.” Was that a difficult place to come to, because it’s not always our natural inclination?

What I have to keep going back to when all these bad things happen, is to what I was taught. A teacher friend of mine said once that whatever your hand is, you will have the strength to endure it, and you will not be asked to do anything you cannot handle. You may not think so, but whatever happens you will be given the strength to handle it and react.

That’s a learning process for sure.  

Well, you’re sure that you can’t get over whatever happens, you think you’ll never get over it, if a life is lost. But there is a way, wherever it comes from, that you’re given some inner peace to be able to live with whatever is going on.

One thing I’ve noticed as a listener of music in quarantine, is that a lot of songs have changed for me, because I’m not seeing them live. A happy song now can feel kind of melancholy. Have you felt the same?

Oh, yeah. It’s very strange. And it’s not any fun at all, to not be able to play music for a live crowd. I’ve never had that in my life, so I didn’t know how to react to it.  

There seems to be a light at the end of a tunnel, though.

The light at the end of the tunnel could be a freight train.

Hopefully not!

Everybody I know who’s qualified to entertain or works in the music business, we’re all trying to do the same thing, which is overcome this problem and bring music to the people. And the promoters and all the people out there who helped put shows together, the cooks and the bottle washers and everybody, they need a job, and we need to go out and play. We’re all looking forward to it, and I’m very anxious.

Though it wasn’t live and in-person, your Luck Reunion livestreams early in the pandemic were very healing. It felt like, OK, we’re all in this together.

The positive side of this whole issue is that even though we weren’t allowed to go out and play for a crowd, with the virtual concert a person could see the whole thing from their living room and all these different artists from all over the world came together to play.

Maybe there’s a lesson for the future there.

Yes, you could go out and do a concert and the whole world could hear you. That’d be cool.

So have you been working on new music in quarantine?

I’ve been writing a little. Let me see: “the day the earth quit turning, the day that time stood still, and we all had to keep our distance and we had more than time to kill. When Lord said, ‘Jesus, why don’t you go down there again, and help these people in the shape they’re in?’ And Jesus said, ‘Dad, I’m tired. Why don’t you go down there this time?’ And God said, ‘Are you out of your f—ing mind?'” I haven’t put a melody to it yet.

New book from Willie Nelson, “Dear America”

Monday, May 17th, 2021

Willie Nelson Book signing at Barnes & Noble in NYC (May 7, 2015) (“It’s a Long Story: My Life”)

Friday, May 7th, 2021

Willie Nelson’s new biography will be released this week, and he will be travelling and appearing on television to talk about it.  

Next Thursday, May 7th, he will be signing books at the Barnes & Noble on East 17th Street in New York City.

Thursday May 07, 2015 12:00 PM
Union Square
33 East 17th Street
New York
NY 10003

“Sister, Brother, Family,” new picture book by Willie and Bobbie Nelson

Friday, April 30th, 2021

Check out the cover for Willie & Bobbie Nelson’s book Sister, Brother, Family, which is available now available for pre-order: 

Arriving Sept. 7, 2021 from Random House Children’s Books.

“Letters to America,” — Willie Nelson’s new book

Monday, March 29th, 2021
Photo: Janis Tillerson
by: Steve Baltin

Willie Nelson’s forthcoming book, Letters To America, with author Turk Pipkin, finds the musical icon sharing his views on America, religion, faith and much more. When I spoke with Nelson he admitted some hesitation about whether he is qualified to share such wisdom. This despite the fact there is a mural in Austin, Texas that says “Willie For President.” And so many people support the idea that the mural has been declared a historical landmark.

The best part about Nelson is his humility. Just like friend and fellow icon Dolly Parton, who made national headlines for turning down a proposed statue of herself in Nashville, Nelson is sheepish about his beloved place in the world.

When I point out to him his national treasure status, and how like Parton, who has been deservedly canonized in the last year, he holds the same elevated regard from millions of music fans, he just laughs and says, “Oh, I don’t know all about that.”

I do. Nelson is a unquestioned American icon, which makes his latest album, That’s Life, even more special. It is Nelson covering some of his favorite Frank Sinatra songs, one music legend saluting another as a friend and fan.

I had the absolute joy and honor of speaking to Nelson about his fandom and friendship with Sinatra, the new songs he has been writing in the COVID pandemic, his favorite artists, cannabis, of course, and more.

Steve Baltin: You’re still in Hawaii these days, correct?

Willie Nelson: Yes, in Maui.

Baltin: I got to interview you son Lukas in August and he was telling me that the first four and half months you guys had dinner together every night at 5:30 which he hadn’t done since he was ten years old. I have spoken to hundreds of artists during this time. Some have really enjoyed their time with family and others who have lost their mind. How have you managed the two?

Nelson: I’m doing alright. I can’t complain. I’m really lucky. I heard there was this sign out in front of a window that said Husband for Sale. So I imagine there’s a lot of that going on.

Baltin: What do you think your wife would ask for you if you were for sale?

Nelson: She would probably be very reasonable. [laughs]

Baltin:  Lukas and I were joking at the time how a song like “On the Road Again” takes on such new meaning. When you’re playing in front of thousands of people again, what’s that one song for you that you just can’t wait to do and see how everybody responds to it?

Nelson: Well of course, “On the Road Again,” “Whiskey River,” “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” “Always on My Mind.”

Baltin: When you get an opportunity as an artist to delve into somebody else’s songs, you hear these oftentimes in a new way. So were there Sinatra songs from this record that you particularly enjoyed doing, or that you got a new appreciation for?

Nelson: Oh yeah, it’s one thing to hear them and like them. Another to go into the studio and then turn on the mic and say, “You’re on.” It’s another deal entirely. I love all those songs and I felt like I could sing ‘em.

Baltin: Were there any songs in particular that really stood out to you?

Nelson: “Cottage For Sale.” If I had to pick a favorite, I think that would be it. It’s an incredible arrangement that Matt Rollings and Buddy Cannon and those guys came up with, all those fantastic musicians first of all. Just the arrangement itself knocks me out. And then the song is fantastic. We got a list, it’s checked out to see who all had recorded that song besides Frank. And I found out Jerry Jeff Walker had recorded it. And I listened to his record on it and it was pretty good. So a lot of us liked the song.

Baltin: I love that you refer to him as Frank. Did you guys ever meet? I’m sure you did at some point.

Nelson: Yeah. Oh yeah, we did. A couple of times, more than once. We did a commercial together, a hundred years ago, we did “A Foggy Day In (London Town).” It was on his album. And then more recently, we did some shows together in Palm Springs and in Vegas. And we got to be good friends. He’s always been my favorite singer. And I read somewhere that I was his favorite singer. So that knocked me out.

Baltin: When you go back into these songs do you feel like it brings you closer or it takes you back to even being that kid and hearing these songs?

Nelson: Absolutely. Every time I do it I think about it and I wish I could have spent more time with Frank.

Baltin: We’re getting to a point soon when you’re able to go back out on the road and do these songs. Are there any in particular that you’re really excited to do in front of an audience? You mentioned “Cottage For Sale” being the favorite of the record. Obviously too when you play a song live it changes. The audience brings their own feelings and interpretations to it.

Nelson: It’s true and you hope that they’re not too far apart [laughs]. But that’s an incredible song to start with. It’s got a lot of changes in it. I don’t know if you’re a musician or not but this song has some fantastic changes from A-Flat to D7 to A6 to E9, D minor, and it’s that way through the song. And all of those chords need to be there so it’s a big challenge to learn the song.

Baltin: You’ve done other Sinatra songs. Are you able to figure out what it is that makes Sinatra your favorite singer? Was there something about him in particular or was it just something that connects with you on a gut level?

Nelson: Well, first of all I love his voice. I love the way he phrased. I love the choice of songs. I love his acting. I thought he was a really great actor. I saw him and Dean Martin a few times together. They were incredible. I saw one time on a CBS show, Dean Martin said, “Frank, tell them about some of the good things the mafia does.” [laughs] So yeah, they were great folks.

Baltin: I’ve interviewed a lot of musicians about cannabis. If you ask any artist in the world who they most want to smoke with is, it’s always you. They all refer to you as the Godfather. So for you, given that everybody most wants to smoke with you, who is the artist you most want to smoke with?

Nelson: Well honestly, I have already had that dream come true with great friends of mine, like Snoop Dogg or Ray Price. There’s a long list of good buddies that I’ve had the pleasure of burning one down with, and I love ‘em all.

Baltin: Tell me about this book. I like the concept of it. Letters To America versus writing a traditional memoir. Was there one letter for you that really jumpstarted this idea of writing it in letter format?

Nelson: It started out another way. It started out to be called Yesterday’s Wine which is one of my albums And somewhere along the way it was decided to call it Letters To America. I feel like it might be a little presumptuous for me to go out there to write letters telling everybody what they ought to do. [laughs] But you know, Turk [Pipkin] is a great writer and I think he did himself well. And it may work. We’ll see how the people react to it.

Baltin: What were the things you noticed that could be improved and what is America to you at this point?

Nelson: Well America is, first of all, made up of a lot of different people. Every color, every denomination. And the big problem is trying to convince everybody that we’re all equal. There seems to be some idea out there that one is better than the other. And it’s an age old problem. It’s not something that we’re going to solve tomorrow. But as long as we know what the problem is, we’ve got a better chance of fixing it.

Baltin: As you started to do this book, what are the things that most bring you together with other people and make you enjoy stuff the most?

Nelson: I just wrote a song and in fact it’ll be on my next album, next year sometime. But it’s called “Energy Follows Thought.” It’s, “Imagine what you want, and get out of the way because energy follows thought. And be careful what you say.”

Baltin: How many songs have you written for the next album already?

Nelson: [laughs] About a dozen.

Baltin: I’ve joked with countless artists about COVID box sets because artists have had so much time to write. So have you been prolific during this time?

Nelson: Oh yeah, I have. I wrote one we can’t record but it was “The day the earth quit turning, the day the earth stood still and we all had to keep our distance and we all had more than time to kill. And God said, ‘Son go down there and help those people out.’ And Jesus said, ‘God, why don’t you come down here, I’m tired.’ And God said, ‘Are you out of your f**king mind?’”

Baltin: That sounds awesome. Why can’t you record that?

Nelson: [laughs] I don’t know. I can’t laugh about something so tragic.

Baltin: As we spent so much time talking about America, what are a couple of songs for you that would be on your America playlist? Those songs that when you think of America, really stand out or jump out to you?

Nelson: Bobby Bare has a good song out, I’m not sure whether he wrote it or not. I’ve been listening to it on the radio. “God Bless America, Again.” I feel that’s pretty much where we are.

Baltin: Is there one song you wish you had written. What is it and why?

Nelsom: [laughs] There’s a whole list of songs that I would have be glad to put my name on. Like “Stardust” and “Moonlight In Vermont” and all those great songs. But no, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Baltin: I was wondering as a fan if there’s that song and you think, “Ah, it’s just so perfect?”

Nelson: Well there’s a few. Ray Price had one, “It Will Always Be.” I thought he really did a great job. He was my favorite country singer. Well right along with George Jones and Vern Gosdin and some more folks. But there’s a lot of talent out there.

Baltin: What do you want people to take from this record when you hear it? What’s the one takeaway about Sinatra and the timelessness of these songs for you? Going back and listening to this as a whole work.

Nelson: Well I want them to want to hear it again and again. I want them to like it so much that they don’t get tired of listening to it. It’s like me listening to Frank and Ray Price. I never get tired of listening to them.

Baltin: You mentioned the Ray Price cover. Are there versions of songs of yours that when you go back and rehear them, that you’re like, oh that’s really cool because I never would have thought of doing that myself?

Nelson: Well Ray Price did “Night Life” like no one else could do it. Claude Grey did “Family Bible.” There’s just so many songs that people have already put their brand on that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Baltin: If you could match one song of yours to cover, what the one artist you would like to see cover that song. Is there a match of the one song and the one artist you would like to see?

Nelson: Unfortunately those people that I would like to see aren’t around. Like Nina Simone and Ray Charles. George Jones and Ray Price. All those folks are not with us. So it would be really difficult.

Baltin: Okay, I’m curious because Lukas and I talked about this. So when you guys were having dinner at home every night, what was the favorite quarantine meal?

Nelson: I’m a bacon and eggs guy and I don’t get much heavier than that.

Baltin: But there is such great food in Hawaii.

Nelson: Yeah, they have great bacon and eggs over here. [laughs]