Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Photographs of Marty Stuart

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

To celebrate the joys of photography and country music, we’re giving away a copy of American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart.

If you only know Marty Stuart the legendary country musician, you need to get to know Marty Stuart the phenomenal photographer. From the publisher of Stuart’s photo book, American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart.

“Although known primarily as a country music star, Marty Stuart has been taking photographs of the people and places surrounding him since he first went on tour with bluegrass performer Lester Flatt at age 12. His inspirations to do this include his own mother, Hilda Stuart, whom he watched document their family’s everyday life in Mississippi, bassist Milt Hinton’s photographs of fellow jazz artists, and Edward Curtis’ well-known images of Native Americans at the turn of the 20th century.

“Stuart’s work ranges from intimate and often candid behind-the-scenes depictions of legendary musicians, to images that capture the eccentricities of characters from the back roads of America, to dignified portraits of members of the impoverished Lakota tribe in South Dakota, a people he was introduced to through his former father-in-law, Johnny Cash. Whatever the subject, Stuart is able to sensitively tease out something unexpected or hidden beneath the surface through a skillful awareness of timing and composition as well as a unique relationship with many of the subjects based on years of friendship and trust.

Willie Nelson, “Still is Still Moving To Me”

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

When people ask me which of the songs Ive written are my favorites, “Still is Still Moving” always comes up near the top of the list.  The band and I play it at almost every concert, and I’ve recorded it countless times, as well, so you have got to figure the song means something important to me.

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the song is me.

Whether you look at the song from the point of view of ancient philosophies or from the modern knowledge of quantum physics, there is great motion in all stillness, and true stillness at the heart of all action.

The early Chinese philosophers referred to hits in the concept of something called wu wei, which suggests fulfilling every task with the least necessary action.  Two notes are not required when one will suffice.  Twenty words may not say something better than ten, or one.  For me, that word is stillness.

No matter how still I am, the world around me is abuzz with activity, and the world within me as well.  Modern physics tells us that the atoms in our body ” and all the particles and forces that make up those atoms ” are never at rest.  While our bodies and the world around us seem solid, that physical appearance is merely an illusion, for each of our atoms is comprised primarily of empty space.

If your life in this modern world seems to pass you by at the speed of light, perhaps you could consult Einstein, who proved that the faster we travel, the more time is compressed.  That’s right, the faster we go, the less time we have.  So what is your hurry?

This may not mean much to you, but it must be quite traumatic for the atoms.  Would you like to hear an atom joke?  I didn’t think so, but here is one anyway:

A neutron went into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?”

The bartender says, “For you, no charge.”

The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart

The Tao of Willie Nelson
by Willie Nelson, with Turk Pipkin

This day in Willie Nelson history, “It’s a Long Story: My Life”, by Willie Nelson (May 5, 2015)

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

Willie Nelson featured in hemp pop-up book

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

It’s 2019, and cannabis is finally becoming accepted as a recreational activity worthy of one of the fastest growing business industries in the country. With more states legalizing the medical and recreational use of weed, filmmakers, musicians, agriculturalists, entrepreneurs, and even artists are using their skills to pay tribute to the world’s most wonderful plant.

With this year’s 4/20 holiday quickly approaching, it’s okay to take some time out of the day to think of what kind of gifts one might want to give their cannabis-loving roommate or co-worker. One gift that stands out–or pops out, one could say–from the rest, is Dimensional Cannabis: The Pop Up Book of Marijuana, the world’s first cannabis pop up book.

The art featured in the book was designed by renowned illustrator, graffiti writer, and tattoo artist, Mike Giant, and covers various aspects of cannabis culture. Dimensional Cannabis was produced by Poposition Press, an independent press company which designs, publishes, and distributes unique limited edition pop up books which are created in collaboration with contemporary artists.

Readers will notice in the video below that there’s an entire pop-up page dedicated to some of the more well-known figures who have stood as champions for the cannabis cause, including Jerry Garcia, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Jimi Hendrix, and many more.

Avid readers and cannabis connoisseurs alike will have the option to purchase three different editions of the book. There’s the $42 Standard Edition, which includes a complimentary 2? Dimensional Cannabis pin; the $240 Collector’s Edition, which comes in a gold foil case wrap along with a mix of enamel pins, four-pack of stickers, art print on hemp paper; and finally the $420 Connoisseur Edition, featuring a wooden laser etched slipcase, pins, stickers, multiple works of art on hemp paper, an etched joint case, and more. The estimated delivery date for all three editions of the book is fall 2019.

Pre-order options and more information on Dimensional Cannabis can be found here.

Willie Nelson: The Facts of Life (and other Dirty Jokes)

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes
by Willie Nelson
Published by Random House in January 2002

They say writing the first line of a book is the hardest part. Thank God that’s over. Roger Miller said it must be true that the longer you live with your pet, the more you look alike. My neighbor came over this morning and chewed my ass out for shitting in his front yard. Thank you, Roger. I also have you to thank for the opening of my last book-“I didn’t come here and I ain’t leaving.”

My daughter Lana just asked me if I wanted a couple of ibuprofen. I said no, I save my pain for the show. We are in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a concert at Cains Ballroom, where Bob Wills and countless other great bands have performed in the last fifty years. The last time we were here, we had to move it to a larger place because of ticket sales, so we decided to do two days at Cains this time.

Lana, Kinky Friedman, and I are responsible for the contents of this endeavor, which is to be one-part song lyrics, one-part photographs, and ten-parts bullshit. That’s where I come in. I seem to be doing very well. I have ripped off my friend Roger twice already, bragged about how well we draw in Tulsa, and exposed my daughter Lana for offering me drugs before the show. How do you like me so far?

“You do know why you’re here?”

“Yes. There’s great confusion on earth, and the Power that is has concluded the following: Perfect man has visited earth already, and his voice was heard. The voice of imperfect man must now be made manifest, and I have been selected as the most likely candidate.”

“The time is april, therefore you, a taurus, must go. to be born under the same sign twice adds strength. this strength, combined with wisdom and love, is the key.”

Where’s the Show?/Let Me Be a Man
Explain to me again, Lord, why I’m here
I don’t know
I don’t know
The setting for the stage is still not clear
Where’s the show?
Where’s the show?
Let it begin, let it begin
I am born
Can you use me?
What would you have me do, Lord?
Shall I sing them a song?
I could tell them about you, Lord
I could sing of the loves I have known
I’ll work in their cotton and corn field
I promise I’ll do all I can
I’ll laugh and I’ll cry
I’ll live and I’ll die
Lord let me be a man
Please, Lord, let me be a man
And I’ll give it all that I can
If I’m needed in this distant land
Please, Lord, let me hold to your hand
Dear Lord, let me be a man
And I’ll give it all that I can
If I’m needed in this distant land
Please Lord, let me be a man

Lana, David Anderson, sister Bobbie, L.G., and Gates are regulars along with me on the bus, Honeysuckle Rose III. Ben Dorcy is not with us. Ben is now being preserved for trips in the near Austin area. At seventy-six-years young, he is cutting his world tours considerably. But for all the millions of Ben Dorcy fans, Ben is alive and well. Well, alive anyway. Thank you, Ben, for many years of faithful service and wisdom-“If you need a friend, buy a dog.” We’ll see you in Austin.

Cains Ballroom was good tonight. The crowd was loud, which I like. The girls were pretty, which I like, and the guys were friendly. I forgot the words to “Crazy” and that’s a first. Sammi Smith came by and sang “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” Her son, Waylon, and Waylon’s dad, Jody Payne, joined in on “Hey, Good Lookin’ ” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Sammi’s still singing like an angel.

On the Road Again
On the road again
I just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin’ music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again
On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
I can’t wait to get on the road again
On the road again
Like a band of gypsies
We go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turnin’ our way
And our way
Is on the road again
I just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin’ music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

I wrote this song on an airplane with Sydney Pollack and Jerry Shatzberg. We were talking about needing a song for the movie Honeysuckle Rose. Sydney was the producer and Jerry was the director. So I said, “What do you want the song to say?”

Sydney says, “Something about being on the road.”

“You mean something like, ‘On the road again, on the road again, I just can’t wait to be on the road again? The life I love is making music with my friends, I can’t wait to be on the road again?’ ” I said the words kinda bland I guess, maybe without any feeling or emotion.

Sydney and Jerry kinda stared at each other, and Sydney said, “But what about a melody?” I said, “I’ll come up with one before we get to the studio.”

At the time they were not that knocked out with the song. Of course they couldn’t hear the whole song like I could. They were very gentlemanly about the whole thing, not wanting to hurt my feelings and trying to act like they weren’t worried.

I think the more I talk about my hometown, Abbott, Texas, the better. Not only is it the only hometown I have, it is by far the most educational spot on the planet. I honestly believe I learned more in my first six years in Abbott than I’ve learned since. Smoking, drinking, and cussing are definitely three subjects in which I excelled.

Miss Brissler, our next-door neighbor, and my grandmother, Mama Nelson (who raised me and sister Bobbie from the time I was six months old), had already told us that if we drank beer, smoked cigarettes, and cussed, we were hell bound. At six years old I was well on my way. However, the first songs I remember singing were gospel songs. “Amazing Grace” was the first song I learned.

My first public appearance was in Brooken, Texas. We were at the annual Brooken Homecoming, with all-day singing and dinner on the ground. I was five years old. My poem was given to me by Mama Nelson to recite at the singing and performing part of “singing and dinner on the ground.” I guess I was nervous, because I started picking my nose until it started bleeding all over my little white sailor suit, trimmed in red. I did my poem . . .

What are you looking at me for?
I ain’t got nothing to say.
If you don’t like the looks of me
You can look the other way!
I have never had stage fright since.

There was always music in our home. My grandparents, Alfred and Nancy Nelson, were both musicians. They took music courses through the mail from the Chicago Music Institute. I could hear them at night practicing their music lessons. My grandfather, Daddy Nelson, was a voice teacher at one time, and they both knew a lot about music. We lived in a little house on the edge of Abbott, and I could hear every note they sang. I could also see the stars through the holes in the roof of that house. It was all very beautiful!

Soon after that time, I was given my first guitar. Up until then I had only written a few poems. Now I was able to learn to play guitar and write songs. It was a Sears and Roebuck Stella guitar. The strings were very high off the neck, so my fingers bled a lot. But they eventually got tough. Kinda like life . . .

My granddad used to sing:
Show me the way to go home
I’m tired and I want to go to bed
I had a little drink about an hour ago
And it went right to my head
Wherever I may go, and wherever I may roam
You’ll always hear me singing this song
Show me the way to go home

As you can see, I was getting a broad education.

Daddy Nelson was the kindest, wisest man I’ve ever known, unless it would be my dad, Ira. He never criticized a crazy thing I did. If my dad was ever mad at me, I never knew it. He would give me anything he had; money when he had it, advice anytime, plus he always kept my cars running like a clock. He was the best damn Ford mechanic that ever lived. Amen.

Me and sister Bobbie and some of the rest of the kids around Abbott, the Harwells and the Rajecks, we’d smoke anything that burned. We tried corn silks, cedar bark, coffee grounds, and grapevines before graduating to Bull Durham roll-your-own tobacco, and we did. That’s where I learned to roll and why I can roll a joint faster than any living person. And then along came ready-rolls. No wonder I’m short. As much as I smoked, I should have been four feet tall. Thank God I quit cigarettes before I got lung cancer. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends and loved ones kept smoking. My mother, dad, stepmother, stepdad, and one father-in-law all died of lung cancer caused by tobacco. No one knew just how bad smoking was for you back then. If I had known, I would have quit at that time. But we thought it looked cool, smart, hip. Everybody did it. All the movie stars, sports stars (well, not all, but some), were always seen with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths. I love sports, and think I would have done a lot better if I hadn’t been smoking cigarettes so early on in life, or not started at all.

As far as drinking is concerned, I had only tasted beer when I was six years old, but according to what I’d been taught, that was enough to send me straight to hell unless I repented and asked forgiveness. So I did, every Sunday, for a long time. The preacher asked those of us who wanted forgiveness to walk down the aisle. I went down morning and night for years. I took no chances. Amen.

I believe we need all of the words we have. So cursing, or “cussing” as we used to call it in Abbott, was part of carrying on a conversation. Of course not in my home, but all over everywhere else. We told jokes, and we recited limericks.

There once was a man from Boston
Who owned an American Austin
He had room for his ass and a gallon of gas
But his balls fell out and he lost them

Abbott humor was somewhere between white trash and redneck. All words were important to us. We believed in laughter above everything. We laughed at ourselves mostly.

We also loved to fight bumblebees in the summer months. The farmers down the road in Abbott would look for bumblebee nests while they were plowing and working in their fields. When they came into town, they would stop by Popps grocery store and leave word where we could find the nests. We would make our bumblebee paddles out of apple boxes. They looked like Ping-Pong paddles with holes in them to let the air through and to swing smooth. Many Sundays I would come home with both eyes swollen shut from the bee stings. Boy what fun!

By the way, if you’re ever stung by a bee, rub tobacco juice on it immediately. The pain goes away and it’ll heal much sooner. However, you’re still blind for a few days.

Another pastime in Abbott on Sundays, after bumblebee season, was placing an empty woman’s purse on the highway that ran between Waco and Dallas. We would tie a string to the purse, then drop the purse on the road and run to hide behind a billboard. A car would come by, the driver would see the purse and slide to a stop. We’d pull the string, retrieving the purse before the driver in the car could get back to it. They were most always real pissed.

This made our Sundays special.

We still have a home in Abbott. We bought the house Dr. Simms used to live in. He’s the doctor who delivered sister Bobbie and me. The house is about a quarter of a mile from where I was born. I go there when I can, and run and bike the same places again and again. They say you can’t go back. Maybe they can’t, but I can. Thank you, Abbott, for never changing.

“It’s a Long Story: My Life” — Willie Nelson

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

by: K. Shapiro

Marijuana is obviously having its most major moment. And with it comes an entirely new culture — one where it’s more acceptable than ever to wear weed on your sleeve. Here at The Cannabist, we are setting out to shine a light on those who define the style of cannabis culture — past or present, real or fictional. We’re looking to those who embody the spirit of what marijuana means, through art, music, fashion and film.

It is our honor to start this series on weed icons with the original outlaw, Willie Hugh Nelson (b. April 29, 1933; Abbot, Texas). In a recent Rolling Stone profile, Patrick Doyle dubbed him “one of America’s greatest songwriters, a hero from Texas to San Francisco, a hippie’s hippie and a redneck’s redneck.” We will also add that he’s a stoner’s stoner.

Willie Nelson’s new memoir goes on sale Tuesday, May 5.

In the book, Nelson also reflects on finding inspiration in the counterculture of the 1960s — the time when he first experienced and soon adopted the hippie lifestyle.

“I liked that (the kids) had courage to look and act any damn way they pleased,” he writes. “The new world represented by the Grateful Dead or the Jefferson Airplane was new only in appearance. (It) appealed to me because it was bold and creative and said to the world, ‘To hell with what you think. I’ll dress any way I please.’”

And he always has. Nelson’s signature style is anti-establishment, anti-fashion even. A black hat, bolo tie, cowboy boots (now New Balance), T-shirt and a bandana headband are all a part of Nelson’s enduring look. Oh, and the braids. Hell, they fetched $37,000 at auction in 2014. When classic cowboy is matched with rockstar authenticity — it’s inimitable. He doesn’t try, and he doesn’t have to. He’s just that fucking cool.

High fashion too, looks good on Nelson. Designer John Varvatos, who has a deep connection to music, celebrated Nelson’s style in his fall/winter 2013 advertising campaign featuring the star alongside his sons Lukas and Micah.

Watch Willie Nelson and family perform:

Soon you can channel the style of the inhaling icon. Plans are in the works to open“Willie’s Reserve” stores in 2016, which will carry his own strains of marijauna as well as like-minded products “reflective of his passion” in each recreationally legal state.

Willie Nelson: Just Plain Willie

Friday, July 13th, 2018

published: 1984

Willie Nelson Just Plain Willie Songbook

The Willie Nelson Just Plain Willie Songbook is a top-level instructional book for musicians wanting to learn how to play Willie Nelson music on guitar. This Hal Leonard release comes with a size of 9 x 12 inches and boasts a string of iconic songs, including Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys, You Wouldn’t Cross The Street, Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, Home Is Where You’re Happy, and more. Mr. Nelson is a bonafide icon of American music, and this book offers one of the best ways to get to know the man – through the power of music.

The great thing about this publication is that it will save you time from those long web searches and lets you pay attention to your playing, making your practice hours far more effective and efficient. The songs are presented in tab and notation form, all of which  are 100 percent accurate and concise. If extra info and details is needed, feel free to contact us online or just come down to the store, we are always glad to be of service. The full list of tunes is available below.

Song list:

* Always On My Mind
* And So Will You, My Love
* Any Old Arms Won’t Do
* Blame It On The Times
* Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
* Crazy
* End Of Understanding
* Everything But You
* Face Of A Fighter
* Healing Hands Of Time
* Home Is Where You’re Happy
* I Can’t Find The Time
* I Didn’t Sleep A Wink
* I Feel Sorry For Him
* I Hope So
* I Just Don’t Understand
* I Let My Mind Wander
* I’m Building Heartaches
* I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
* Is There Something On Your Mind
* Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
* Moment Isn’t Very Long
* My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
* One Step Beyond
* The Shelter Of Your Arms
* Slow Down Old World
* Some Other Time
* Stardust
* Suffering In Silence
* Things To Remember
* Undo The Right
* Up Against The Wall Redneck
* Why Are You Picking On Me
* Will You Remember Mine
* Without A Song
* You Wouldn’t Cross The Street
* You’ll Always Have Someone

This day in Willie Nelson history, “It’s a Long Story: My Life”, by Willie Nelson (May 5, 2015)

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

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

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Willie Nelson’s book, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” was published on November 13, 2015.
Nashville Skyline
Chet Flippo

Willie Nelson’s new memoir is largely episodic, made up of randomMusings From the Road, as the book’s subtitle reads. In many ways, it reads like cloudy memories and sudden observations churned up during a dreamy, long, twilight reverie fueled by thick clouds of fragrant ganja smoke.

The fully-titled Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die also includes many photographs from over the years. Many of these are also dreamlike images and have never been published before.

The book itself is slim and modest, perhaps 6 by 9 inches, even in hardback, and — at only 175 pages long — is almost the size of a prayer book. I’m sort of surprised that this book wasn’t published on special rolling papers bound into a deluxe hemp folder.

It is best read episodically, a tiny bit at a time, rather than being absorbed in one rapid gulp. Small bites are good, like nibbles of popcorn during a leisurely, slow-paced movie.

By now, so many decades into his fabled life and career, Willie fans pretty much know what to expect from him. And he does not let his readers down with his Musings From the Road.

Kinky Friedman’s foreword to the book also does not disappoint. In summing up Willie’s abandonment of Nashville for Texas, he writes, “Willie told the Nashville music establishment the same words Davy Crockett had told the Tennessee political establishment: ‘Y’all can go to hell — I’m going to Texas.’”

Willie’s voice in the book is that of a gentle and knowing, but aging wise-ass. With a sense of humor. Here’s one of his jokes I can repeat here:

“A drunk fell out of a second-floor window. A guy came running up and asked, ‘What happened?’ The drunk said, ‘I don’t know. I just got here.’”

This amounts to a surprisingly succinct account of Willie’s life and career, told through his remembrances and sections told by his wife, children, other relatives, his band and many of his friends. And also many of the lyrics to his songs. It amounts to a scrapbook summary of his childhood, his adulthood, his family, his band and his life in music.

He begins with memories of a happy childhood in Abbott, Texas, where he and sister Bobbie were raised by their grandparents after their parents more or less went their own way. They grew up in an atmosphere of love, the church and music. Bobbie is still in Willie’s band and cooks for him on the bus. They return to Abbott as often as possible.

Willie recalls he began drinking and smoking at age 6. He would gather a dozen eggs, take them to the grocery store and trade them for a pack of Camel cigarettes. He preferred Camels, because he liked the picture of the camel on the pack. “After all, I was only 6. They were marketing directly to me!”

He became addicted to both cigarettes and drinking and finally kicked both habits — especially after his lungs began hurting — and traded them for a life of weed. After he was busted in Texas for weed, he formed the Teapot Party, which advocates legalization and he writes quite a bit about that in the book. He has, he writes, lost many friends and relatives to cigarettes and alcohol, but he knows of no marijuana fatalities.

He is happiest now, he writes, in his house’s hideout room on Maui, which his brother-in-law named “Django’s Orchid Lounge.” The “Orchid Lounge” part, of course, is obvious, from the Nashville beer joint where Willie got his Nashville start. “Django” is from the great gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, whom Willie feels is the greatest guitarist of all time. Ray Price, by the way, is Willie’s choice for the greatest country singer of all time.

Willie loves to sit in his Django’s Orchid Lounge and play dominoes and poker and chess with many of his Maui friends and such visitors as Ziggy Marley and Woody Harrelson while wife Annie cooks for everyone.

In addition to the photographs, Willie’s son, Micah, contributes several drawings.

Since the book is episodic, I can be, too. Here is my favorite self-description by Willie: “I have been called a troublemaker a time or two. What the hell is a troublemaker? you ask. Well, it’s someone who makes trouble; that’s what he came here to do, and that’s what he does, by God. Like it or not, love it or not, he will stir it up. Why? Because it needs stirring up! If someone doesn’t do it, it won’t get done, and you know you love to stir it up. … I know I do.”

Listen carefully to the music and the words of Willie. He is one of the few true giants to inhabit country music, and — when he and his few remaining fellow giants are gone — there’ll be no live artists remaining to remind the world of the true truth and majesty of great country music.

Kimmie Rhodes talks about kindness of Willie Nelson in new book, “Radio Dreams”

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018
by: David Sinclair

Talking as if they were sitting round a campfire rather than on the stage of a small west London hall, on Friday, 20 April, the Texan songbird Kimmie Rhodes and the English DJ “Whispering” Bob Harris conjured memories of a golden era of country music. It was the first of a string of low-key Q&A dates to promote Radio Dreams, a new book written by Rhodes and her husband, the late Joe Gracey.

Back in the day, Rhodes and Gracey were quite the double act. She was raised in Lubbock, where her carnival-worker dad taught her to sing at the age of six. She became a platinum-selling songwriter, recording artist and, later, playwright, theatrical actor and director. Gracey began a broadcasting career at a radio station in Fort Worth while still a teenager and became an award-winning DJ, songwriter and, later, producer who championed the country scene in Austin. Radio Dreams chronicles their adventures with the Texan “outlaws” who rejuvenated country music in the 70s: Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Doug Sahm, Kris Kristofferson and, above all, Willie Nelson.

At Bush Hall, Harris asked the questions in his affectionate, soft-spoken manner, and Rhodes reminisced about her life and times. She recalled her first meeting with Nelson at his privately-owned golf course and recording studio, a facility known as the Cut-N-Putt.  She walked on to the green, just as he played a perfect drive. “He turned around. He was like a king in his court. And here I am, I haven’t even made my first record. And he looks right at me with those dark, black eyes and he says, ‘How long have you been singing? Do you write?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, why don’t you come out here and make a record?’ We had no money and no band, but suddenly I had Willie Nelson’s studio and I made my first record out there.”

In between the stories, Rhodes sang and strummed a selection of songs as they came up in the conversation, among them ‘We Must Believe In Magic’ (an inspirational favourite by Crystal Gayle), ‘West Texas Heaven’ (the title track of Rhodes’ 1996 album), ‘Just One Love’ (the song she performed with Nelson at Farm Aid in 1990), ‘Love Me Like A Song (the title track of her 2002 album), ‘Raining In My Heart’ (by another Lubbock native, Buddy Holly) and a finale of Ben E King’s evergreen ‘Stand By Me’. Rhodes was accompanied by her son Gabe Rhodes, a distinguished country music producer himself, who played acoustic guitar with a sensationally precise, twanging touch. And, on some numbers, they were joined by the singer (and support act) Robert Vincent.

It was an evening of warmth, wisdom and occasional hilarity. Among the pearls Rhodes shared were the words of Cowboy Jack Clement, who told her: “We’re in the fun business, and if we’re not having fun, we’re not doing our job.” As far as this show was concerned, job done.

Future UK Q&A events surrounding the publication of Radio Dreams are:

24 April: Cornerstone, Didcot, England (Kimmie Rhodes and Bob Harris)
26 April: Night People, Manchester, England (Kimmie Rhodes and guests)
4 May: Venue Theatre, Ratoath, County Meath, Ireland (Kimmie Rhodes and Sandy Harsh)
5 May: Waterfront, Belfast, Ireland (Kimmie Rhodes and Ralph McLean)

“Everything’s Bigger in Texas: The Life and Times of Kinky Friedman” by Mary Lou Sullivan

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

“It’s not the pot of gold that matters, it’s the rainbow.” — Kinky Friedman

Read entire article here.
by:  George Varga

Never tell author, singer-songwriter and former Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman you’re sorry for being late. Not even if you’re calling him a full day after a scheduled phone interview.

“Don’t apologize! That’s for Catholics and Democrats!” quipped Friedman, whose several dozen books include “Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola” and “Kill Two Birds & Get Stoned: A Novel.”

More examples of his brashness — and his remarkably colorful life — are highlighted in the new book “Everything’s Bigger in Texas: The Life and Times of Kinky Friedman” by Mary Lou Sullivan.

The 332-page biography includes a two-page foreword by Friedman, who writes: “I have no regrets about what I told Mary Lou or what she may have written. Like I say, there’s a fine line between fiction and nonfiction and I believe Jimmy Buffet and I snorted it in 1976.”

Here are edited excerpts of our interview with Friedman, whose songs were recorded by Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam and other admirers on the 1999 tribute album, “Pearls in the Snow.”

Question: Is happiness good or bad for a songwriter — or any writer, for that matter?

Answer: I think that if you’re happy and well-adjusted, you can forget it. You have to be miserable to write a good song. I’m kind of at a point of happiness right now, but I don’t want it to influence me too much. I really don’t want to be happy — and I’m a little too happy right now.

Q: You’ve had success in your life and you’ve had failure. Which has been a bigger impetus?

A: Well, my shrink, Willie (Nelson), says if you fail at something long enough, you become a legend. I like that one; that’s pretty accurate. … Unbounded success is much harder to deal with than failure. Failure is easy and anybody can deal with that. But success — I’ve noticed with the success I’ve had — is a harder thing to work with.

Read entire article here.

“All Over the Map” — by Michael Corcoran

Monday, March 12th, 2018

“All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music.”
Michael Corcoran. University of North Texas Press.

Advice: Read this book with your favorite music streaming device at hand. You’ll want to listen to every artist described by Corcoran, formerly of the American-Statesman and other publications, in this revised version of his 20o5 book about key Texas artists. You learn new things about some of them, such as Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Others are musical pioneers who might sound familiar, but Corcoran, an historian as much as a journalist, has tracked down exactly what you need to know. The backstories about what he could or could not discover are as compelling as his authoritative takes on the 42 artists’ histories and musical contributions. Corcoran has chosen fantastic images for this UNT Press edition, and he doesn’t waste a word. As he did during his Statesman years, he can make other writers wish they’d produced this work. The book will wait at eye-level on my Texas  reference shelves for as long as they are standing.

Willie Nelson featured in “Celebrities That Served”, by Travis McVey

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Willie Nelson with Jessica Simpson, USO tour in Germany (May 23, 2005)

Celebrities That Served by Travis McVey

As a veteran U.S. Marine and a Marine Guard under Present George H.W. Bush, Travis McVey is author of the book “Heroes of the Stage,” which profiles Country music artists who have served in the Military and the impact it has had on their careers, music and personal lives. The 284-page narrative was published by Hero Spirit.

Country Music Legend & USAF Veteran Willie Nelson


Willie Nelson was born April 30, 1933 in Abbott, Texas. His family was very musical and encouraged his talent as a child. Nelson first learned how to play music when his grandparents purchased mail order lessons and gave them to him at age six. It was by age seven when he had composed his very first song. Nelson had already joined a band by the time he was nine years old.

Nelson’s family owned a farm and his job was to pick cotton. Since he hated doing it so much, he decided to earn money in other ways. That included singing in local taverns for tips. In high school, Nelson toured with a band called the Bohemian Fiddlers, where his brother-in- law was a member.

Nelson graduated from high school in 1950. During this time, the Korean War had broken out and he decided to join the United States Air Force. He was stationed at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas. Willie had to leave the Air Force shortly afterward (9 months) because he became plagued by back problems and was diagnosed by a doctor with this problem.

Once he was released from the military, he attended Baylor University for two years studying agriculture. While he attended classes during the day, he was a DJ at night. On the weekends, he sang at clubs and honky tonks where he got lots of recognition for his talent. He quit school to focus solely on his music career that was taking off.

After he quit school, he continued to sing and write songs. In 1960, he was offered a contract with Pamper Music. He also joined Marine Corps Veteran Ray Price’s band the same year. Nelson wrote “Crazy” for Patsy Cline, “Pretty Paper” for Roy Orbison and “Hello Walls” for Faron Young during his time as a bassist for Price’s band. His first album was titled “And Then I Wrote” which was released in 1962. It was such a hit, RCA Records signed Nelson to their label in 1965. He was also invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

Nelson was working on a new album for RCA in 1969, but Atlantic Records wanted to secure a new deal with him. Once the deal was negotiated, Nelson became the first country artist to sign with Atlantic Records. He began a new sound called Outlaw Country. In 1973, his album titled “Shotgun Willie” was released. It did not sell well, even though music critics liked the sound. Nelson released a few more albums before switching labels again. During the 1970s Nelson began the first of many collaborations with Waylon Jennings. They released an album called “Wanted! The Outlaws” in 1976, along with Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser.

The 1980s had several hit songs for Nelson and included  “Pancho & Lefty”, “On the Road Again” and “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”. In 1985, Nelson teamed up with Army Veteran Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Air Force Veteran Johnny Cash in the Highwaymen. Their album The Lost Highwaymen was a hit.

Nelson followed his friend Kris Kristofferson in to acting in the 1980s as well. He has had roles in several movies, but did not win awards for them. Some of his movies include The Electric Horsemen, Honeysuckle Rose, Surfer Dude and The Unforeseen. All in all, Nelson has appeared in over 100 movies.

Willie Nelson USAF Veteran/Farm Aid Founder

Nelson is an activist and has worked hard on many projects to better our country. One of his most important contributions has been the creation of Farm Aid, which started in 1985. Many of his friends signed on to perform during this multi-day music festival. The proceeds raised were used to help small family farmers in the Midwest from losing their farms. The festival was an annual event and is still held on a smaller scale today and has raised millions of dollars in much needed aid.

In 1990, the IRS and Nelson began a long and tenuous battle. They claimed he owed $32 million dollars in back taxes. Upon further investigation, Nelson’s managers did not pay the government and they squandered away a lot of his earnings. It took until 1993 to settle all of the cases and debt.

Country music star Toby Keith, checks out his new “Balls of the Eagle” t-shirt that was presented to him by Lt. Col. John Dunleavy, commander of 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), at Logistical Supply Area Anaconda, Iraq, on April 28, 2008. Keith visited the 2-320th FAR to meet with Soldiers and take part in a re-enlistment at the battalion headquarters. Photo by 1st Lt. Jonathan Springer

During the 1990s and in to the 2000s, Nelson has had success with duets and collaborations with many artists. He went to #1 with Toby Keith singing “Beer For My Horses” in 2003. It won Best Video in 2004 from the ACM Awards. He and Lee Ann Womack had a hit duet with “Mendocino County Line”. An album by the title “Outlaws & Angels” was released in 2004. It had duets and collaborations on it with artists such as Kid Rock, Rickie Lee Jones, Keith Richards, Joe Walsh, Merle Haggard, Al Green, Lee Ann Womack and Lucinda Williams. In 2008, Nelson worked with Snoop Dogg and created “My Medicine”. Nelson has recorded close to 300 albums and wrote more than 2,500 songs as a solo artist and with other individuals.

During his career, Nelson has received many accolades. In 2005, 49 miles of State Highway 130 are named The Willie Nelson Highway. He belongs to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry. He is a trustee to the Dayton International Peace Museum, which is in honor of his activism for tolerance of all people. Nelson has won 9 Grammy Awards, 8 CMA Awards, 7 American Music Awards and 5 ACM Awards. He was voted in to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993. He was inducted in to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001.

Nelson is a regular performer on the USO tour. He and other acts go overseas and perform for the troops in war torn countries and on military bases around the world.

Willie Nelson USAF Veteran/Country Music Legend
Willie Nelson USAF Veteran/Country Music Legend

During his life, Nelson has been married four times and has seven children. In the year 2004, Nelson and his wife became partners in an alternative fuel venture. They built two bio-diesel plants that produce fuel made from vegetable oil.

His first autobiography, which is self-titled, was released in 1988. A second autobiography called An Epic Life was released in 2008. Willie Nelson is one of the most familiar faces associated with Country Music and has contributed so much to the arts and entertainment of our great Nation. He has given so much of himself to others and brought much needed attention and change to some of the problems of our Country and continues that today. Willie has served our Nation in and out of uniform and supported and entertained our men and women who serve and is one of the Heroes Of Music…


Heroes Of The Stage/Country Serving Country by Travis McVey. A book about all the great country music artists that served in the military. Get your copy today at

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

Monday, February 19th, 2018


Saturday, December 23rd, 2017