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“I attended this heat wave with a buddy and let me tell you… We set out for what was being called Willie’s last picnic. We made the mistake of setting out on bicycles from Houston the day before the concert. We made good time on the 3rd. It was so hot we had to get off highway 290 and find a lake. We ended up in snake country on Lake Somerville near Burton. As it was night time we couldn’t find the lake. Ended up drinking cold beer at a country store. Just as well, there we learned of the cotton mouths. Unable to sleep anywhere we decided to continue riding.
Drunk and stoned we made it back to 290 thanks to one generator light on my buddy’s bike. There we passed out in the ditch. Woke up by the sun and feeling like shit we continued on. We made it to Bastrop and realized we were going to be late. Started hitch-hiking with 2 bicycles and by god, got a ride. Classic old timer in a 50’s pick-up got us damn near the rest of the way. With about 10 miles left to ride people were dragging coolers and walking due to parking issues. Had many offers to buy our bicycles. No way! As we were a little late we had made it. I remember looking up and seeing the red cross choppers hauling people away from heat exhaustion. I remember wondering how I could get on one.
I think we had to be the hottest ones there. After getting right to the gate we didn’t budget enough money to get in. Had just enough but no extra. Discouraged but not to worried. Thanks to some bikers that bolt cut the fence behind the porta johns we were able to slip in. Got up close and got some great pictures of Willie. Still have them. Managed to see a good part of the concert. As we decided to hike back to where we locked our rides to a telephone pole we encounter a run in with some shine. Made it to the telephone pole and woke up on the 5th. It looked like a war zone. Only thing left was a massive clean-up. We helped just the same. After all we did get in free. I’m sure Willie would’ve had us back stage had he knew how hard we worked to get there.”
(Love to hear picnic stories! Thanks, Rick.)
I’ll be honest, I have never been to see a Willie Nelson cover band. I always figure I will just save my money and go see Willie Nelson when I can. I have learned that there are so many Willie Nelson tribute bands and impersonators (different entertainers). There are Willie Nelson fans playing his music all over the world. (I posted about a Japanese band once). Bands send me links to their websites, and especially on Willie Nelson’s birthday, there are a lot of bands that play.
In Austin earlier this month, Janis and Kelly and Lisa and I were hanging out in the outdoor bar at the W Hotel, after the Waylon Jennings tribute concert at ACLive. And we met a Willie Nelson fan who plays in a Willie Nelson tribute band. nnings special at Austin City It was Amy Nelson’s birthday, and we were watching for her (stalking), to see if we could buy her a drink or get her stoned. (I am sure she had many wanting to do the same thing). And we chatted with other fans who had been to the show.
And we got to visit with Trey Jones, and his wife, who drove up for Willie Nelson’s Picnic from Mississippi. Trey is such a great, genuine Willie Nelson fan, with so much love and respect for Willie Nelson. He is very knowledgeable about Willie Nelson and his extensive musical catalogue.
And Trey told us that he plays in a Willie Nelson tribute band, once a month. I asked him what that was like, and he explained what it was like to play Willie Nelson’s music for other Willie Nelson fans. He says the people he plays for are fans who can’t travel to see Willie Nelson, and they are so happy and grateful to get to hear his music live. Trey said it was a moving, humble experience to get to bring Willie Nelson’s music to his fans, and to receive their thanks for the music.
Trey Jones has a facebook page.
photo: Michelle Manning Barish, of Utah
(Thanks, Brad Wheeler, for sharing photo)
“I listen to Willie Nelson every single day, and he doesn’t even know me. That keeps me up at night,” — Leigh NashThursday, July 16th, 2015
by: Beville Dunkerley
“I listen to Willie Nelson every single day, and he doesn’t even know me. That keeps me up at night,” jokes Leigh Nash, lead singer of Sixpence None the Richer.
The angelic, unmistakable voice behind huge pop hits including “Kiss Me” and “There She Goes” is going back to her Texas roots for her third solo album, The State I’m In, due out September 18th. The Brendan Benson-produced project was heavily influenced by the music Nash grew up on, which included everyone from Nelson and Patsy Cline to the mariachi music coming across the border from just about 200 miles south of her New Braunsfels home.
“I fell in love with storytelling in music and great, strong lyrics,” Nash says of the music filling her speakers as a child. And the storytelling the now 39-year-old does on The State I’m In comes from pages in her diary. Many of the songs stemmed from the joys of parenthood (the singer has an 11-year-old son) and sadness of losing her father, which was followed shortly after by the demise of her marriage.
“I’ve been busy with life and busy learning lessons about love and loss and keep on keepin’ on when things are rough,” says Nash, who co-wrote all 12 tracks on the new album.
Along with Nelson and other country greats, the musician tried to emulate the sounds of Flaco Jimenez on much of The State I’m In. (“His sound is the embodiment of much of the vibe I tried to capture,” she explains.) And there’s even a little Beach Boys influence heard in “What’s Behind Me,” which she co-wrote with her husband, Stephen Wilson, and Jesse Hall. Still, “it isn’t a throwback record,” Nash insists of the LP, which was recorded in Nashville. “And we weren’t afraid of going beyond the country genre. We just went where the songs told us to go — and they took us to some great places.”
Pre-order Leigh Nash’s The State I’m In here.
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com
photo: Jay Janner
by: Deborah Sengupta Stith
Yesterday Willie Nelson became the first country singer to receive the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. In response to the announcement we reached out to local musicians about their favorite Willie Nelson songs and why they are so moving. Here are a few (lightly edited) responses we received.
Sabrina Ellis – A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit
Willie Nelson has been a huge influence on my ability to write good lyrics. I didn’t know how much I cared about Willie’s songwriting until my mid-twenties when Esther Phillips’ cover of “Hello Walls” drew me in. To this day, that is my favorite Willie song. The song is written like a riddle, concise, revealing more about the singer’s situation line by line. The singer is addressing a personified wall, accusing the wall of being lonely since his/her lover walked out. During the bridge he says, “She went away and left us all alone, the way she planned. Guess we’ll have to learn to get along without her if we can.” Leave it to Willie to make a heartbreak induced schizophrenic state seem sweet. My favorite line is in the second verse, when he addresses his window, “Is that a teardrop in the corner of your pane? Now, don’t you try to tell me that it’s rain.” His poetry make those hard truths go down easy.
The beauty of a Willie Nelson favorite song is the fact one has their definite, without a doubt, favorite…. depending on your mood. That’s the amazing gift Willie has, uptempo or slow. “Night Life” was the soundtrack of my actual life. While “Crazy” was a literary masterpiece.
I have to pick one , I remember listening over and over to “I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye” on the “Live at Panther Hall” record. It’s a song of murder but some magical way Willie seem to make it alright. It’s not PC and it’s likely not printable but honestly it’s Willies honesty in the song. He manages to put into song the dark side and make you enjoy it.” the flesh around your throat is pale/Indented by my fingernail ….And Death is a friend to love and I….” It’s like honky tonk Shakespeare.
Elizabeth McQueen – KUTX FM, Formerly Asleep at the Wheel
It’s obviously impossible to choose a favorite from the bottomless depths of the Willie Nelson catalogue. Should I choose an early work of genius like “Crazy,” or a melancholy beauty like “Angel Flying too Close to the Ground”? There’s so much to choose from, but my mind immediately landed on one of his more recent compositions “Roll Me Up and Smoke me When I Die.” What I love about this song is how much it encapsulates what I think is truly Willie’s greatest strength — that he is not afraid to be his authentic self. Here’s a man near the end of his life not only nodding to his own mortality, but fully acknowledging his counter culture side. The man like to smoke pot, which is illegal in a good portion of the country he resides in. He’s never made any apologies for this, but in this song he actually stands tall, and encourages you, the listener, to do the same. “Roll me up and smoke me when I die. And if anyone don’t like it, just look ’em in the eye”
Essentially he’s telling us all to be ourselves, despite the possibility of disapproval. And that’s the magic of Willie. He is open. He is himself. He doesn’t care what you think, or if you approve, he is who he is and he wants you to be who you are. And that energy, that ability to be free and at peace with ourselves, that’s what we’re all looking for.
Brendon Anthony – Texas Music Office Director, Formerly with Pat Green’s band
I grew up with Willie records being played in the house. My favorite record from start to finish is “Red Headed Stranger.” The concept record is something from another time and this one is among the very best, in my opinion. It included the Fred Rose song, “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain” and I’m still moved when I hear the guitar kick the song off. It is instantly recognizable, couldn’t be any other song. Trigger is truly Willie’s “other voice”.
I love the standards either written or performed by Willie. “If you’ve got the money”, “On the Road Again”, “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”, Etc. A possibly overlooked gem is his cover of a Bruton song with Bonnie Raitt, “Getting Over You”. Hard to touch that one….
He was a master of making other’s songs his own but he proved throughout his career that he could write the songs that would add to others fame as well. I point to ‘Crazy’ as an example. Patsy’s version is timeless.
He’s still doing it today. The ghost track on Kacey Musgrave’s new record “Pageant Material” is phenomenal, just about the best thing on the record (again, my opinion here). It is a duet with Willie of his 60’s tune “Are You Sure”. Amazing…. Great record and this duet closes it out in fine style…..
Jan Moore aka RailRoad Lady, still waiting to be #5
Janis Tillerson and Clem Brown
Jeremy Teppers and Dallas Wayne, of Sirius/XM Radio, who broadcast the picnic again this year.
So fun to go to Willie Nelson’ Fourth of July Picnic in Austin and meet up with friends and Willie Nelson fans. Willie Nelson fans are the nicest people. Another gift Willie gives us, other fans to hang with.
Fans are fun company and generous with their pictures and stories. Willie Nelson means so much to so many of us, all over the world, and I suspect on other planets too — if they are populated, and if any aliens had skills to visit Earth, then they are smart enough to know how incredible Willie Nelson is. The 4th of July Picnic is the only time some of us ever meet up. .
Thanks to Andy Bush, from Georgia, for his photo of Johnny Bush and Ben Dorcy, who kindly posed for him, at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic Saturday. Nice to meet you, Andy!
Andy said this about the show:
“The 3rd song (actually 2nd of the three) they sung together was “Reasons to Quit.” What a thrill it was to stand there a few feet from the stage and watch my favorite two singers together. I’ve seen them both dozens of times, but together only once before on the “Last of the Breed” tour. This was my first picnic and I got to meet Linda Banks to boot!
One funny thing that happened during their set together took place during “Poncho and Lefty.” Willie is so used to singing the song by himself every show now (I believe in the old days, Jody Payne sang Merle’s lines with him), he just went ahead and sang Merle’s line. Figuring out what he’d done, he just looked over at Merle and gave that priceless Willie Nelson smile. They laughed it off, no egos, just two class acts.
God thank you for such a great day!”
Andy and I took a selfie, too.
(this photo from last year’s Willie Nelson show in Troutdale, Oregon)
TROUTDALE, Ore. — Friday’s blazing heat in the Willamette Valley did not stop people from having fun. Our star could never compete with the one all these people are waiting for.
“Willie Nelson’s going to be like right there in a few minutes, so that’s worth it,” said one fan at McMenamins’ Edgefield amphitheater. Most of its lawn seats were in the sun’s line of fire in the heat of the day.
“Yeah, I like the heat; though my wife hates it, but I love it,” said Matt Berson of Portland.
How hot? Constant-sunscreen-application, never-ending-water-or-beer-intake, too-hot-for-sandals kind of hot. Folks bought the tickets for Willie Nelson months ago, just hoping it would not rain. They needed an umbrella all right, but to shade themselves from the sun’s rays.
Monica Richards, also from Portland said, “It’s awesome, great being out in the sun. It’s hot, but it’s still nice.”
A couple from Canada didn’t know the Portland area even reached the mid-90s.
“It’s sweltering. Is this normal for here?” asked Erik Craulsca, from Canada. “It’s really hot.”
Barb Reigert sat in the sun since 9 a.m.
“He loves Willie, so I’m here for him.”
Thanks to Barb, her husband, Dwight, was positioned perfectly at the top of the knoll.
“She would have rather had me in the shade, but we’ll be in the shade in a little bit. I always try to get over there or right here – straight on,” said Dwight Reigert.
“It’s a little bit warm,” Gary Buckler said. “But nothing out of the ordinary.”
In Portland, skyscraper-assisted shade helped people stay cool outside Providence Park. The Timbers Army set up camp Thursday night. They will get wristbands Saturday morning that will give them prime seating for Sunday’s Cascadia Cup showdown.
“Rose City till I die,” one longtime fan told us. “We’ll be here every game rain or shine. It could be snowing, you’ll still see people camped out. It’s a passion.”
In this heat, it would have to be.