photos: Janis Tillerson
Lovey enjoyed the music from the side of the stage.
photos: Janis Tillerson
Lovey enjoyed the music from the side of the stage.
“Copper the dog just took Dad to work for the first time today. Next stop Ft Worth Stockyards, Willie’s Annual Fourth of July Picnic. With Jimmy the driver , Budrock the (injured) Great Illuminator, Aaron Foye must have been fastening his seat belt because I didn’t see him or Kenny.” — Margie Lemons
We’re sure all going to miss seeing Buddy and Margie in Fort Worth.
The title track from Willie Nelson’s new ‘Band of Brothers’ album could be a theme song for his motley group of players and friends. The singer has released a video for the song that showcases the crew having fun backstage and off stage. During this ToC video premiere, fans get a look at a more relaxed — almost silly — country music legend.
Much of the ‘Band of Brothers’ video is focused on a high-stakes game of dominoes that involves family, friends and actor Woody Harrelson. A few dollars get tossed around during the contest, and creative stop-motion camera work shows the game’s pieces turning into various characters, like a peace sign.
“We’re a band of brothers and sisters and whatever / On a mission to break all the rules / And I know you love me cause I love you too / But you can’t tell me what to do,” Nelson sings during the ‘Band of Brothers’ chorus. Poker and chess are also played, and one woman takes to skateboarding.
The new album — released on June 17 — features nine new songs co-written by Nelson. In total there are 14 tracks, including a cover of Vince Gill‘s ‘Whenever You Come Around’ and Billy Joe Shaver’s ‘The Git Go,’ a collaboration with Jamey Johnson. The album comes after the success of ‘To All the Girls,’ Nelson’s first Top 10 album in 30 years. The 80-year-old continues to tour and shows no signs of bringing his studio work to an end.
Read More: Willie Nelson’s ‘Band of Brothers’ Video Goes Backstage | http://tasteofcountry.com/willie-nelson-band-of-brothers-video/?trackback=tsmclip
I love when Budrock sends pictures of the crew, hard at work setting up for a Willie Nelson and Family Show that night. These are the guys that make it all happen, so that Willie Nelson and his band can come out and perform for us fans. This is Tunin’ Tom, a/k/a Tom Hawkins. He must have an amazing ear to do that job for so long, so well.
Here’s an article from 2003 about Willie and Trigger, and Tom:
After 34 years, Willie Nelson and his strings are deeply attached
Los Angeles Times
HOUSTON — There are some things you just don’t do in Texas. You don’t ask ranchers how many head of cattle they have. You don’t try on another man’s hat. And whatever you do, you don’t step on Willie Nelson’s guitar.
At a honky-tonk show back in 1969, in a bustling country town, a reveler with a full tank of whiskey in him did just that.
Nelson rushed the crippled instrument to Shot Jackson, a friend in Nashville who could fix anything. “I can’t fix it,” Jackson told him. “But I’ve got another one here I can give you.”
“Is it any good?” Nelson asked.
The rest, as they say in Texas, is the Willie way.
Nelson has been performing for six decades. He has appeared on more than 200 albums and written more than 2,000 songs. The truth, though, or so Nelson has always claimed, is that he’s only really good at one thing: dumb luck.
So it was that a solitary, drunken misstep at a forgotten dance hall led to an extraordinary relationship. Willie Nelson, a practical man, became enchanted with a guitar, named it “Trigger” and, 34 years later, hasn’t put it down.
As the man known as the redheaded stranger goes gray and music aficionados celebrate his 70th birthday this year, it’s clear that this is no solo act, but a lovely duet entering its golden years.
“Even before I plugged it in the first time, just by strumming it, I knew I had something special,” Nelson said last week aboard his customized bus, the Honeysuckle Rose III. “I got a good one.
“They say it about Stradivarius violins and wine, that they get better and better each year,” he said. “That’s what you’re supposed to do, I guess. Some things just get better with age.”
Shortly after making Trigger’s acquaintance, Nelson made a pledge: The day the guitar gave out, he told friends, he would quit performing forever. Nelson chuckled when reminded of that vow. “That was pretty safe at the time,” he said. The guitar was fresh and new and Nelson, well, was not. He was touring hard and living harder.
Today, the pistol-packing Pied Piper of Outlaw Music has become Citizen Willie. He plays at least 200 dates a year, jogs, jumps rope, drinks soy-milk lattes and seems surprised that anyone is surprised that he made it to 70.
The guitar, meanwhile, looks like a disaster.
Trigger’s portage and care are entrusted to a man named “Tunin” Tom Hawkins. He was hired in 1979 during the filming of “Honeysuckle Rose,” in which Nelson essentially played himself in a movie about a musician torn between his family and life on the road.
Hawkins’ job was to tune the piano of Bobbie Nelson, whom Willie Nelson still plays with each night, habitually calling her “Little Sister Bobbie,” though she is his older sister, now 72 years old. Hawkins’ story seems to be the same as everyone else’s in Nelson’s entourage: “I just never went away,” he said with a shrug.
More than 100 musicians and friends, from Johnny Cash to Leon Russell, have signed and etched their names into Trigger’s amber face. The late Roger Miller is the John Hancock of the bunch; his scrawled signature dominates the lower third of the guitar. Nelson’s fourth wife, Annie, has her name on one corner.
“Here’s a little damage that appears to have been rectified with a half-inch bolt and some Superglue,” Hawkins said with a laugh, pointing to a section on the underside of the guitar. “It’s taken some abuse, just like the rest of us.”
Beyond its iconic status, Nelson believes the guitar has played an important role in the development of popular music.
Nelson’s career was gaining momentum — he had already written “Crazy,” a song Patsy Cline would make famous — but had not achieved a breakthrough. It happened shortly after he bought Trigger, when he left Nashville, moved back home to Texas and released a series of albums, “Shotgun Willie,” “Phases and Stages” and “Red Headed Stranger.”
The recordings featured Nelson’s spare and haunting picking of Trigger’s gut strings, and shook up what was then a conservative, production-heavy country-music establishment. The albums were hits and made Nelson a crossover star, popular on the pop charts as well as the country charts.
By 1973 or so, Nelson began to notice his audience was becoming a strange blend of American culture — straight-and-narrow rednecks and counterculture hippies, folks who wouldn’t normally be caught dead together, were attending his shows in equal number.
A new world of “Redneck Hip” had been ushered in, and Nelson was branded the first “Cosmic Cowboy.” He dumped his Nashville suits and short hair for braids and jeans and developed an inimitable and influential style that blended country, pop, jazz, gospel and blues. That evolution continues today, as creative and experimental musicians such as Beck and Ryan Adams fold traditional folk and country themes into popular rock songs.
“If you steal from enough people, somehow you wind up doing your own thing,” Nelson said. “Music changed. It had to. And the sound of this guitar had a lot to do with that.”
Said Hawkins: “At this point, they play together. They know each other, and it’s hard to imagine one without the other. There’s only one Trigger. And there’s only one Willie. And we’ve got to take care of them both. I think it can last forever.”
L.G. is another Willie Nelson & Family crew member who makes the shows happen, so us fans can go and have the time of our lives. After the concerts, everyone has their eye on Willie, me too, but right behind him is this guy, making sure Willie stays safely on the stage. Too many over-excited fans have tried to pull Willie down to them, or crawl up on stage with him, and LG is the guy making sure that doesn’t happen. Sometimes tour manager John Selman does that job, and Poodie Locke did that important job for decades. More than once, I saw Poodie lift a young girl off her feet, after she crawled on stage to get to Willie. Sometimes they were the same girls Poodie had been encouraging to flash Willie, too; I know Poodie confused them.
Happy Anniversary Aaron Foye! Aaron is celebrating five years and 600 shows with Willie Nelson and family.
Aaron is one of many who help make Willie shows run wonderfully on the road! Thank you, Aaron!
Willie Nelson’s website has reported that one of the band’s buses (not Willie’s) was in an accident overnight on icy I-30 in Texas.
For more information, keep in touch: