Archive for the ‘Crew’ Category

Willie Nelson’s Bus Drivers open up

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Even at 84, Willie Nelson still spends about 150 days a year on the road (again). At the helm of the Honeysuckle Rose, his tour bus, are Gates “Gator” Moore and Tony Sizemore, who’ve split Willie’s driving duties for nearly 40 years. Calling from a hamburger joint in Nebraska, they offered their tips on driving without GPS.


GATES: Don’t be afraid to override the GPS. We did it last night. We’ll go 30 miles out of the way to bypass a city we suspect will have heavy traffic by the time we get there.

TONY: If you’re coming from Chicago to Nashville, people assume you come down 65 through Indianapolis. But if you take 57 on the Illinois side and hit 24, it’s 20 miles faster with no major cities in between.

Use the Numbers

TONY: For interstates, generally, north–south routes have odd numbers, growing larger from west to east. East–west routes are even, getting bigger from south to north. That’s not the kind of thing you’re gonna learn from GPS.

Prepare to Overshoot

TONY: If I know I have to get off on Omaha Street, I study the map for street names just beyond Omaha. That way, if you see ’em fly by, you say, “Oh, I missed it, I have to go back.”

When all else fails, FAKE IT

GATES: If you’re lost, keep it to yourself. Act confident, even if you’ve got no idea where you are. Make a couple turns, make a few educated guesses, and more often than not you’ll come out all right. If somebody asks why you’re late, say you rerouted to avoid construction. Either way, you’ll come out smelling like a rose.

Ask for Directions

TONY: I’ve never been afraid to call ahead. But asking for instructions is an art.

GATES: People say, “Head out on Main.” Which way is out? Or, “Hit 27.” Hit it how? Insist that they be as specific as possible.

Use Billboards

TONY: Even with GPS, read the signs. It’s always nice to see “Holiday Inn, Exit 81,” when that’s your Holiday Inn. And if billboards are advertising the city you meant to leave behind, you know you might be headed the wrong way.

When I ask for directions, people want to help. No one asks why I don’t just use my phone.

Willie Nelson’s Crew

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Thanks to Janis Tillerson for these photos of the hard working guys who make it all happen so we can enjoy a Willie Nelson and Family Show. Janis took these photos in Luck, at the Luck Reunion.

Kevin Smith, Budrock Prewitt, Aaron Foye, Willie Nelson’s band and crew and bike gang

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

So fun to see Willie Nelson’s crew enjoying their day off from creating music and shows for us fans to enjoy.

Budrock “The Illuminator” Prewitt

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

View this photo on Instagram.

Great photo by Kathy Johnson, of lighting director for Willie Nelson & Family.

L. G. and Wendy

Monday, November 14th, 2016


L.G. and Wendy Strout Gorman


Happy birthday Kenny Koepke! Happy birthday Tony Sizemore!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016


Budrock took this picture of Kenny.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sitting down before.

Happy birthday to Willie Nelson and Family members Kenny Koepke and Tony Sizemore.  We get to see Kenny on stage before shows,  getting  ready for the shows.  Tony Sizemore, drives the bus and we never see him.  Thanks, guys, for all your hard work, so we fans can enjoy seeing Willie Nelson & Family.



Tony during his spare time, supporting his candidate for president.


Thanks to Kevin Smith for sharing this cool photo of Kenny with Budrock.


Tony has driven or Willie Nelson and Family for going on 30 years.


Budrock Prewitt and Kenny Koepke

Sunday, June 26th, 2016


Thanks to Kevin Smith for sharing this cool crew photo.

Tunin’ Tom Hawkins

Thursday, June 9th, 2016


Tunin’ Tom Hawkins, in NYC

“‘The Office’ today for Flaco and Budrock. Wilmington, NC.”

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016


Thanks to Margie Lemons for sharing photo of hubby Flaco, getting ready for tonight’s Willie Nelson & Family Show

Happy happy birthday Tunin’ Tom Hawkins

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016


Best wishes to Tunin’ Tom Hawkins, who celebrates a birthday today.

photo:  Randy Turner

Thanks for keeping things in tune.


And thanks to John Selman, for this behind the scenes photo of  Tom preparing Trigger for an appearance on the David Letterman show.

Kevin Smith took this picture of Tom tuning Neil Young’s piano at Farm Aid.

World’s Most Famous Armadillo: Ol’ Dillo

Saturday, March 26th, 2016


He crews with Willie Nelson & Family , he hangs out with rock stars and he’s got his own face book page. The girls love him.  The stuff of legends — he was mysteriously kidnapped a few years back in San Francisco, and then returned, just as mysteriously.  Some say his captors couldn’t handle him and brought him back, others say Ol’ Dillo staged the whole thing to get a few days off from work.  Regardless, his legend and fame grew.   Everyone wants a picture with him.


dillorayoldillo3    oldillo5

Ol’ Dillo always has the best seat at Willie Nelson & Family shows — atop the console of monitor engineer Aaron Foye.


Happy happy birthday, Aaron Foye

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Aaron Foye

Best wishes to Aaron, monitor engineer for Willie Nelson & Family.




Willie Nelson and Family (photos by Neil Leifer)

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Family

Portrait of Willie Nelson and Family during photo shoot at the Golden Nugget Hotel.
Las Vegas, Nevada 8/1978
(Image # 1151 )

Willie Nelson

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Tunin’ Tom, tuning Neil Young’s piano at Farm Aid 2015 (Chicago)

Monday, September 21st, 2015


Tunin’ Tom, a/k/a  Thomas Hawkins, has been tuning Bobbie Nelson’s piano for years, and here he is tuning Neil Young’s piano before the Farm Aid concert in Chicago on 9/19/15.

Thanks to Kevin Smith, Willie Nelson’s bass player, for sharing this photo of his fellow Willie Nelson & Family Member, Tunin Tom.

“So that 5,000 people can listen to Willie, and it sounds like he’s playing on their front porch,” — Bobby Lemons

Saturday, September 5th, 2015


“One night an old man walked up behind me and looked at my mixing station,” begins Lemons. “He asked, ‘Why do you need all this stuff for Willie Nelson?’ I told him, ‘So that 5,000 people can listen to Willie, and it sounds like he’s playing on their front porch.’ He just nodded and walked away.”
by:  Frank Hammel

AUSTIN, Texas — Bobby Lemons, FOH engineer for Willie Nelson, credits PreSonus’ ADL 700 for help him bring the music to Nelson’s fans.

More details from PreSonus (

If you’re a live-sound engineer who can handle the lifestyle, you might wish you had Bobby Lemons’ gig handling front-of-house for Willie Nelson. Nelson and his Family Band tour almost constantly, and Lemons loves it. But as hard as he works, he says he is doing his job right if you don’t realize he’s there. Indeed, that’s the biggest reason Lemons uses the PreSonus ADL 700 tube channel strip.

“One night an old man walked up behind me and looked at my mixing station,” begins Lemons. “He asked, ‘Why do you need all this stuff for Willie Nelson?’ I told him, ‘So that 5,000 people can listen to Willie, and it sounds like he’s playing on their front porch.’ He just nodded and walked away. That’s when I realized that I’m trying to be invisible. The same with the equipment, and that’s where the ADL 700 comes in. It’s like a rhythm guitar: You don’t notice it’s there until you take it out—but then you notice.”

Lemons got his start as a banjo player in a bluegrass band. He owned the PA and quickly figured out he could make more money renting out the system when the band wasn’t working than he made as a player. “It was easily as much fun mixing the shows,” he muses. “I grew up with electronics; I was one of those kids who wanted a soldering iron for my tenth birthday, not a baseball glove. So after college, I got more PA gear and started mixing around Austin, and I got to know everybody. I did a show with Willie Nelson and Guy Clark before they were big, and I eventually hooked up with B.W. Stevenson, who was a hell of a singer.”

Later, Lemons became tour manager and front-of-house engineer for Jerry Jeff Walker. “We were the opening act for a lot of artists, and we all toured together, so everyone in Austin knew me,” recalls Lemons. “Willie had some dates, and his regular engineer was out doing the Commodores, so they called me. I lived right down the road. We went out for 3 days, and that turned into 12 days; then Willie asked, ‘Can we keep this guy?’ I’ve been with him ever since.”

Lemons could use any processing he wants on Nelson’s voice, and he has tried other solutions, but now he sticks with the ADL 700. “Willie has an incredible voice, with amazing control,” Lemons observes. “It’s a little bit peaky, and he wanders a bit with it, and I was looking for something that was unobtrusive—something transparent—but that also gave me choices. The ADL 700 turned out to be a great solution, and it still is.”

Nelson trusts Lemons to make the decisions about the mix, mic selection, and vocal processing. “Once you get a feel for what he wants, then he trusts you to do it,” Lemons explains. “Trust is the whole game. If you don’t have the confidence of the artist, no matter how technically good you are, it won’t work.” Part of that trust comes from Lemons’ deep respect for Nelson’s ears and preferences. “Willie listens to a lot of show recordings, and anytime I come up with something different, I’ll sit with him, and we’ll listen to recordings together. When I started using the ADL 700, he heard a difference, and he liked what he heard.”

The ADL 700’s FET compressor is a particular favorite. “I’m using more compression than it sounds like,” Lemons reveals. “I’ll put 7 or 8 dB of compression on Willie’s voice. With a lot of compressors, that would not be musical, but the ADL 700 compressor is still transparent. Any compressor can do a couple of dB without being noticeable but if you can get 5 or 7 dB without it being noticeable, then it’s great.”

Although Lemons would rather not use EQ, he generally does use the ADL 700’s semi-parametric EQ on Nelson’s voice. “As much as I like the big console, I prefer to keep the input strip on Willie’s mic neutral and use the EQ on the ADL 700,” he explains. “With the ADL 700, I can reach over and turn the knob just an eighth of a turn, and I notice a big difference.” He also takes advantage of the ability to swap the order of the compressor and EQ. “The ADL compression is so smooth, I generally use it ahead of the EQ,” he says, “but sometimes I use the EQ first. It depends on how much EQ I’m using.”

Lemons repeatedly emphasizes that his job, and that of his gear, is to be invisible. “If Willie is tired or doesn’t feel well, the ADL’s input gain can help a bit, but I make no music here,” he insists. “If the band is on top of it, I can hardly screw it up, and if it’s not happening onstage, there’s nothing I can do to make it happen. I’m a delivery system, and I try to make the sound as clean as possible; I don’t even use reverb. If nobody notices that I’m here, so the focus stays on Willie, then I’ve won. The ADL 700 fits that philosophy perfectly.”

For more information about the PreSonus ADL 700, please visit

Hear Willie Nelson and the ADL 700 in person. For tour dates, visit