Archive for the ‘This Day in Willie Nelson History’ Category

This day in Willie Nelson history: Farm Aid XXVI (Kansas City, MO) (August 13, 2011)

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

by SharonOnTheMove

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I took this one; such a sweet look

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I took this photo

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photo: Mary Francis Andrews

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photo: Mary Francis Andrews

This day in Willie Nelson History, “One for the Road” (with Leon Russell) certified Gold (August 2, 1979)

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

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On August 2, 1979, “One For The Road,” a duet album featuring Willie Nelson & Leon Russell, goes gold.

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Swing Vote” movie opens (August 1, 2008)

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

On August 1, 2008, the Kevin Costner movie “Swing Vote” debuted in theaters featuring cameo by Willie Nelson. Also in the movie: Kelsey Grammer, Larry King, Dennis Hopper and Richard Petty.

Willie Nelson filmed a scene for the Kevin Kostner movie “Swing Vote” at the Harn Homestead and Museum in Oklahoma City (www.harnhomestead.com). Willie was also in town performing in Last of Breed tour with Merle Haggard and Ray Price.

Cher Golding, executive director of the Museum, kindly sent pictures of Willie being filmed, and Willie posing with the staff at the museum.

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“Attached are a few photos of the shoot at the Harn Homestead Museum. Willie played ‘Always on my Mind’ in front of our Event Barn. After filming, he signed a few autographs and posed for photos with the Harn Homestead Museum staff.”

Cher L. Golding, Executive Director
Harn Homestead Museum
Oklahoma City, OK
www.harnhomestead.com

This day in Willie Nelson history: Willie Nelson fills in for ill Natalie Cole at Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles (July 9, 2008)

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

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In a bit of serendipitous timing, Willie Nelson will take over for Natalie Cole, who was forced by illness to cancel her scheduled appearance Wednesday at the Hollywood Bowl with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Nelson and Marsalis will re-create some of the music from their collaboration early last year when they played four shows at Lincoln Center, performances documented on the album “Two Men With the Blues,” being released today.

The pair’s only scheduled public performance together in conjunction with the album’s release had been an appearance Thursday on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

This day in Willie Nelson History: Nashville Star (April 3, 2004)

Monday, April 3rd, 2017
www.USANetwork.com
EPISODE 5: WILLIE SONGS
EPISODE PREMIERE: April 3, 2004

This week’s Nashville Star featured a guest appearance by music legend Willie Nelson, and six of the eight remaining contestants were faced with the daunting challenge of performing some of Willie’s best-loved songs in front of the man himself! The two contestants who received the fewest number of votes after last week’s show were sent home.

Willie kicked the show off with a performance of his classic “Whiskey River” as the contestants watched from the audience, and the BellSouth Acuff Theatre erupted into thunderous applause. The contestants then joined Willie on stage and all had an opportunity to shake the legend’s hand before he took his seat in the theatre.

Later, the contestants shared their thoughts on why Willie Nelson is an icon: “He’s shown us that we don’t have to go through the door that everyone wants us to go through,” George Canyon said. When asked about the pressure of performing in front of Willie, George said “As long as I stay conscious, I’ll be OK.”

“Not only does he write truthful songs from his heart,” Brad Cotter said, “but you feel like he’s lived them.” “This is royalty,” Marty Slayton agreed. “For our business he’s as good as it gets.”

Sheila Marshall commented, “He connects with everyone.” “He’s a storyteller, he’s a singer, he’s a stylist, he’s a writer, he’s an icon,” Matt Lindahl expounded. “You can’t get around it. But I bet you if you really got a chance to sit down and talk to Willie Nelson, he’s ‘just folks,’ too.”

“He just seems like your friend,” Brent Keith agreed. “I’ve waited my whole life to meet Willie Nelson, and oh my God, I’m going to!” Jennifer Hicks exclaimed.

Host Nancy O’Dell announced that the evening’s show would consist of performances only by those contestants remaining in the competition. With only six performance slots and eight performers remaining, tensions ran high each time Nancy read out a name.

Fairfield, Illinois native Lance Miller was selected to perform first. When Nancy asked him how he felt about being the first to perform after Willie himself, he said, “I’ve heard Willie talk about living in the moment and enjoying the now, and I’m gonna enjoy this for a minute.” Lance’s performance was a confident and original version of “On the Road Again,” during which Willie clapped along. Afterwards, Tracy Gershon said, “One of the things I look for is somebody who can perform under pressure. You just sang a Willie song with Willie in the audience. Baby, you just proved yourself!” “I didn’t think you’d be around until the end,” Billy Greenwood said, “but tonight you definitely proved me wrong.” Brett Warren said, “You’re a country star, and I would buy your record.” “Dude, Willie Nelson just opened for you!” Brad Warren added.

The next person who earned a performance slot was the pride of Snellville, Georgia, Matt Lindahl. Wearing dark overalls under a black jacket (and, of course, his trademark red ball cap), Matt took a more serious turn by singing the gospel-flavored “Uncloudy Day,” as Willie clapped along. “I have asked you week after week to show us what you could do, and you just did it,” Billy commented. “You showed America tonight you could really sing,” Brad added. “It’s a tough vocal race right now… you’ve got some tough competition,” Tracy concluded, to which Matt replied, “I know it; I live with them!”

Next it was time for the latest Hot Spot segment. Last week, the contestants received a phone call from NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, who invited them to sing in front of 160,000 people at the Bristol Motor Speedway during pre-race festivities for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500. At the race, the contestants had their first experience of fans recognizing them from being on TV, and had plenty of time to sign autographs and hand out merchandise before having the opportunity to meet Johnson in person. There was more on the race later in the show.

At this point there were only four performance slots left, with six contestants hoping to fill them. Alabama’s Brad Cotter, who now lives in Nashville, was called next. Like last week, he played the keyboard, and this time he sang a passionate version of “The Last Thing I Needed.” He also related the story of how he hadn’t been allowed to listen to anything but gospel music while he was growing up, but this song was one of the earliest ones he enjoyed and he used to sneak listening to it on his headphones. His performance earned him a standing ovation from Willie himself! Brett said, “When we were growing up we weren’t allowed to listen to anything but Christian music either. That performance was awesome, and if there’s a jukebox in heaven, I’m pretty sure Willie Nelson‘s on it.” Tracy said, “You are really becoming a front runner… watch the coffee in the morning, because if I were another contestant, I might poison it!”

Canada’s George Canyon was called up next. “I’ve been a Willie Nelson fan and he’s been a hero of mine for 28 years,” he said. His performance of “Seven Spanish Angels” also earned a standing ovation from Willie. “You’re like our resident Boy Scout,” Tracy said. “You’re steadfast, true, and we can always count on you for great performance.” Brad said, “I’d be willing to bet a couple million dollars of Sony’s money that there’s a couple million people who would buy your record.” When Nancy O’Dell asked George what he’d say to Willie, seeing him in the front row, he said, “Willie, please come up and sing with me!”

Next Nancy checked in with Willie to see what advice he would give to the contestants. “They’re all so good,” he replied. “I’m glad I’m not a judge!”

Then it was back to the Hot Spot segment for more coverage of the contestants’ visit to the Bristol Motor Speedway, where they sang “America the Beautiful” as paratroopers with an American flag made a picture-perfect landing on the track. “We watched the race from the best seats in the house,” Brad said. “Richard Petty watched from same place.” Lance added, “I kept thinking they’d ask me to leave, but they never did.” Jennifer commented on the dizzying pace and busy schedules the contestants keep each week. “You get exhausted, but you can’t whine because you’re dying to do it – and you might not get to do it next week!”

Jennifer Hicks was, in fact, the next contestant selected to take the stage, and her performance of “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” also earned a standing ovation from Willie. Billy said, “You belong on the show, and you showed it again tonight.” Brett said, “Jennifer, you cry more than Chris Cagle, but you’re America’s next sweetheart. I think you are awesome – you’re great.” “You can’t make a bad choice when you have the Willie catalog to choose from,” Tracy concluded, “but that was a great choice.”

Now there were only three contestants remaining – and just one performance slot. Nancy brought Marty Slayton, Brent Keith, and Sheila Marshall onto the stage, and they sweated it out through a commercial break.

When we returned, we learned that the first person we would say goodbye to this evening was Sheila Marshall. “You know I’m a big fan, and you have a bright future ahead of you,” Nancy told her. “Thank you, I love y’all, and thanks for your support,” Sheila said. “I want to thank the judges, Nashville Star and USA Network, everyone in Texas that voted, my husband, and my mom.”

Next, Nancy read the name of the final performer for the evening, and it was.. Brent Keith, meaning that Marty Slayton was also eliminated. “I’d like to say thanks to my family and friends and everybody back home,” she said. “I have a great life, and I get to do what I love to do for a living.”

Brent then launched into his performance of “The City of New Orleans,” saying that it always reminds him of his grandfather, who was a truck driver. “I don’t care if you’re pretty – you can sing,” Brad said. Tracy commented, “You did a good job on loosening up and having fun. You’ve got some work to do, but good job.” “Perfect ending,” Billy concluded.

SONG LIST:

Willie Nelson:
“Whiskey River”

Lance Miller:
“On The Road Again” – Willie Nelson

Matt Lindahl:
“Uncloudy Day” – Willie Nelson

Brad Cotter:
“The Last Thing I Needed” – Willie Nelson

George Canyon:
“Seven Spanish Angels” – Willie Nelson

Jennifer Hicks:
“Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” – Willie Nelson

Brent Keith:
“The City of New Orleans” – Willie Nelson

This day in Willie Nelson history: Willie Nelson inducted into Texas Film Hall of Fame

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

www.austinfilm.org

On March 11, 2002, Willie Nelson was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame.  He was presented by Lyle Lovett and Billy Gibbons.

Willie Nelson’s musical reputation is matched by his sterling songwriting (“Crazy,” “Nightlife,” “On The Road Again”) but when he appeared in 1979’s THE ELECTRIC HORSEMAN with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, a character actor for the ages was born. His first starring role was in 1980’s HONEYSUCKLE ROSE with Amy Irving and Dyan Cannon, filmed around Austin, followed by the western BARBAROSA (1982) and the underrated SONGWRITER (1984).

Numerous TV parts came to the Abbott native while film roles such as RED-HEADED STRANGER (1986), GONE FISHIN’ and WAG THE DOG (1997), and STARDUST (2000) kept his big screen image popular. Nelson’s downhome appeal is most evident when he plays himself (AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME, 1999) and he rallied a grieving nation performing “America The Beautiful” on AMERICA: A TRIBUTE FOR HEROES.


The Texas Film Hall of Fame, which operates under the auspices of the Austin Film Society, was co-founded in 2001 by Louis Black, the editor of The Austin Chronicle, and Evan Smith, Editor-In-Chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune and former editor of Texas Monthly. Every year, at a gala held at Austin Studios, on the site of the city’s onetime municipal airport, the Texas Film Hall of Fame inducts or honors Texans who’ve made a significant contribution to film or filmmaking, as well as non-Texans who’ve made significant strides in the advancement of the Texas film industry. Classic Texas films are also honored, with a member of the cast or crew accepting on behalf of his colleagues. In 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, the gala was emceed by Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, who died on September 13, 2006. The 2007 gala commemorated her passing by celebrating her life and her passion for film, emceed by New York columnist and 2001 Inductee Liz Smith. www.AustinFilm.org

This day in Willie Nelson history: Willie Nelson & Family celebrate opening of Smith Center (3/10/2012)

Friday, March 10th, 2017

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www.vegasnews.com
photos:  Erik Kabik, Cassi Thomas

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pick, thanks to Budrock and the late great Guthrie Thomas.

“I thought a performing arts center was a beer joint where Willie Nelson was playing,” — Fred Smith, at grand opening of Smith Center in Las Vegas

Harris also had a joke to illustrate how the very name suggests a building that can be for everyone. “Smith just happens to be the name that appears on 68 percent of the registries in Las Vegas hotels.”

But Fred Smith, who led the private funding campaign with an initial $50 million donation (which later grew to nearly $200 million) from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, had a moment onstage to clarify which Smith we were talking about. He joked that he was originally confused by the proposal, because he thought a performing arts center was “a beer joint where Willie Nelson was playing.”

www.lvrj.com
by: Mike Weatherford

They spoke of that other Las Vegas, joked about it, but it seemed so far away.

Though it was a black-tie gala that aimed to be inclusive, it was, more importantly, a night to feel as grand and important as the new building it celebrated.

So even when unbilled rocker John Fogerty threw down “Center­field” and “Bad Moon Rising,” the grand opening of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts was just not the place to let things get silly-Vegas carried away.

They showed up for Saturday’s gala in a sea of black ties and at least one cowboy hat, to the $470 million downtown performing arts center with its classic design that looked like it could have gone up at the same time as Hoover Dam.

Indeed, the first images seen in Reynolds Hall skipped right over the commercial Strip of Las Vegas. Helicopter footage on a movie screen zoomed straight to Hoover Dam instead, as an original orchestral composition, “From Dust to Dreams,” suggested the new building was carved from the same spirit as the dam, but simply took an extra 70-plus years to arrive.

But just as Hoover Dam stood as a monument to its generation, The Smith Center will stand as “a proud monument to our generation,” Don Snyder, the board chairman who guided the project to completion, told the audience from the stage.

“Making a new performing arts center rise from the desert is more complicated than a Wynn whim,” joked host Neil Patrick Harris early in a performance being filmed for future PBS broadcast.

Harris also had a joke to illustrate how the very name suggests a building that can be for everyone. “Smith just happens to be the name that appears on 68 percent of the registries in Las Vegas hotels.”

But Fred Smith, who led the private funding campaign with an initial $50 million donation (which later grew to nearly $200 million) from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, had a moment onstage to clarify which Smith we were talking about. He joked that he was originally confused by the proposal, because he thought a performing arts center was “a beer joint where Willie Nelson was playing.”

Although it was champagne that was swept from silver trays in the lobby, Willie Nelson did play. He brought Merle Haggard to sing “Pancho and Lefty” with him, and then Emmylou Harris joined in on the Gram Parsons ode “Ooh Las Vegas.”

The classic country singers came after a younger-generation star, Martina McBride, covered “Tumbling Dice,” and Train’s Pat Monahan enlisted the orchestra for Elton John’s “Take Me to the Pilot.”

No one seemed to be having more fun than Carole King, who got a few people out of their seats singing “You’ve Got a Friend,” with Mavis Staples, and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” as Jennifer Hudson and McBride gathered around the piano.

It was a night of Broadway performances and some dance too, with a couple from Twyla Tharpe’s “Sinatra Dance with Me.”

The show ended with Hudson, with orchestra and a choir singing, “Take care of this house, be always on call, for this house is the home of us all,” from the musical “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Before the 2½-hour show began, some stars walked a red carpet set up behind ballerinas posing like statues in the evening breeze.

Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell said he was glad The Smith Center chose an art deco, classic look.

“New buildings are usually very modern in their looks,” he said.

Violinist Joshua Bell has seen the commercial side of Las Vegas entertainment by performing with Frankie Moreno, but admitted, “I’m at home in this kind of venue.”

Merle Haggard said the new room felt like Bass Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, designed by the same architect. And he liked both a lot better than the worst place he’s ever played, which was in Belfast, Ireland, in front of 6,000 people who couldn’t hear and weren’t happy about it.

No such complaints inside Reynolds Hall on Saturday.

This day in Willie Nelson history: Host of Saturday Night Live (February 21, 1987)

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

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Willie Nelson delivers the opening monologue as host ofSaturday Night Live on Feb. 21, 1987.

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Willie Nelson (center) appears in the “Church Chat” skit with Danny DeVito, Nora Dunn and Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live on Feb. 21, 1987.

This day in Willie Nelson History: “Highwayman” album certified Gold (Feb. 10, 1986)

Friday, February 10th, 2017

On February 10, 1986, “The HighwayMan” album, is certified gold for Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson

1. Highwayman
2. The Last Cowboy Song
3. Jim, I Wore A Tie Today
4. Big River
5. Committed To Parkview
6. Desperados Waiting For A Train
7. Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)
8. Welfare Line
9. Against The Wind
10. The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over

This day in Willie Nelson History: Jimmy Carter in Plains on CMT (12/8/04)

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

On December 8, 2004, “CMT Homecoming: Jimmy Carter In Plains” premieres, featuring a Willie Nelson concert, taped in the former president’s hometown.

On September 9, 2004 Willie Nelson performed a concert in Plains, Georgia, for an upcoming TV special, “CMT Homecoming: Jimmy Carter In Plains”

The concert was filmed in September, for a special airing in December 2004, when CMT featured a special homecoming event, with the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, for an intimate look at the small town that he still calls home and where he spends the holidays with wife Rosalynn, his children and grandchildren – Plains, Ga.

In this one-hour documentary, CMT Homecoming: President Carter In Plains, President Carter welcomes his longtime friend, country legend Willie Nelson, to Plains for the reunion.  Nelson joins President Carter for a tour of his childhood home, his boyhood haunts, and the town that holds a special place in President Carter’s heart.  The two friends swap stories of what it was like growing up in small towns and reminisce about their friendship that has lasted decade.

In honor of Plains, Nelson performs for everyone in the town, and the fans get a surprise when President and Mrs. Carter join Nelson on stage.

Thanks to Alice from Georgia for sending  pictures.

This Day in Willie Nelson history: Grand Ole’ Opry Debut

Monday, November 28th, 2016

On November 28, 1964, Willie Nelson made his Grand Ole Opry debut, as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly Saturday night country music radio program broadcast live on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the oldest continuous radio program in the United States, having been broadcast on WSM since November 28, 1925. It is also televised and promotes live performances both in Nashville and on the road.

History

The Grand Ole Opry started out as the WSM Barn Dance in the new fifth floor radio station studio of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company. The featured performer on the first show was Uncle Jimmy Thompson, a fiddler who was then 77 years old. The announcer was program director George D. Hay, known on the air as “The Solemn Old Judge.” He was only 30 at the time and was not a judge, but was an enterprising pioneer who launched the Barn Dance as a spin-off of his National Barn Dance program at WLS Radio in Chicago, Illinois. Some of the bands regularly featured on the show during its early days included the Possum Hunters, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, the Crook Brothers and the Gully Jumpers. They arrived in this order. However, Judge Hay liked the Fruit Jar Drinkers and asked them to appear last on each show because he wanted to always close each segment with “red hot fiddle playing.” They were the second band accepted on the “Barn Dance.” And, when the Opry began having square dancers on the show, the Fruit Jar Drinkers always played for them.

In 1926, Uncle Dave Macon, a Tennessee banjo player who had recorded several songs and toured the vaudeville circuit, became its first real star. The name Grand Ole Opry came about in December, 1927. The Barn Dance followed NBC Radio Network’s Music Appreciation Hour, which consisted of classical music and selections from grand opera. Their final piece that night featured a musical interpretation of an onrushing railroad locomotive. In response to this Judge Hay quipped, “Friends, the program which just came to a close was devoted to the classics. Doctor Damrosch told us that there is no place in the classics for realism. However, from here on out for the next three hours, we will present nothing but realism. It will be down to earth for the ‘earthy’.” He then introduced the man he dubbed the Harmonica Wizard — DeFord Bailey who played his classic train song “The Pan American Blues”. After Bailey’s performance Hay commented, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry.’” The name stuck and has been used for the program since then.

As audiences to the live show increased, National Life & Accident Insurance’s radio venue became too small to accommodate the hordes of fans. They built a larger studio, but it was still not large enough. The Opry then moved into then-suburban Hillsboro Theatre (now the Belcourt), then to the Dixie Tabernacle in East Nashville and then to the War Memorial Auditorium, a downtown venue adjacent to the State Capitol. A twenty-five cent admission began to be charged, in part an effort to curb the large crowds, but to no avail. In 1943, the Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium.

On October 2, 1954, a teenage Elvis Presley made his first (and only) performance there. Although the public reacted politely to his revolutionary brand of rockabilly music, after the show he was told by one of the organizers that he ought to return to Memphis to resume his truck-driving career, prompting him to swear never to return. Ironically, years later Garth Brooks commented in a television interview that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry was that he got to play on the same stage Elvis had.

The Ryman was home to the Opry until 1974, when the show moved to the 4,400-seat Grand Ole Opry House, located several miles to the east of downtown Nashville on a former farm in the Pennington Bend of the Cumberland River. An adjacent theme park, called Opryland USA, preceded the new Opry House by two years. Due to sagging attendance, the park was shuttered and demolished after the 1997 season by the Opry’s current owner, Gaylord Entertainment Company. The theme park was replaced by the Opry Mills Mall. An adjacent hotel, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, is the largest non-gambling hotel in North America and is the site of dozens of conventions annually.

Still, the Opry continues, with hundreds of thousands of fans traveling from around the world to Nashville to see the music and comedy on the Opry in person.

Willie & The Wheel

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

This day in Willie Nelson history, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” published (11/13/12)

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

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

www.cmt.com
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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.

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Blue Eyes Crying on the Rain” #1 on Billboard Country Chart (Oct. 4, 1975)

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

On October 4, 2013, Willie Nelson’s recording of ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ was declared number one on the Billboard Country Music Chart.

Willie recorded this Fred Rose song on February 9, 1975,  as part of his “Red Headed Stranger” album, at Autumn Sound in Garland Texas.  The song was included in his “Red Headed Stranger” album.

This day in Willie Nelson History: “If You’ve Got the Money; I’ve Got the Time” #1 (9/20/1976)

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

On this day in 1976, Willie Nelson’s “If You’ve Got The Money I’ve Got The Time” was the #1 song in the land.

The Lefty Frizzell cover was off of Nelson’s second Columbia Records album, The Sound in Your Mind.