Archive for the ‘Fans’ Category

Virginia Willie Nelson

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014


Thank you, Dee Boutilier Sulenski, for sharing a photo of your license plate!   One of my faves, for sure.



Dee Sulenski remembers the moment when she finally decided to give her left leg to Willie Nelson.

On a trip to Connecticut in 1998, she chatted with her favorite cousin, a biker adorned with multiple tattoos, about the process of getting inked. Once her cousin explained that tattoo artists can use stencils to create designs from almost any printed source, Sulenski was sold.

Back home in Virginia, the devoted Willie Nelson fan headed to Gloucester and had his autograph etched above her left ankle.

Since then, that first tattoo has been joined by four more elaborate pieces done in Richmond by renowned tattoo artist Tom Renshaw. Two are portraits of Willie as an adult; another is of him as a boy. A final tattoo is of Nelson’s trusty acoustic guitar.

All five pieces decorate Sulenski’s lower left leg.

“I liked Willie so much I knew I wanted it,” she says, thinking back. “Someone asked me, ‘What if you stop liking Willie?’ I said, ‘I’ll be dead, so it won’t matter. It’s not going to happen.’ ”

The tattoos attract attention.

“It’s funny to watch people stare — they don’t think you see them staring. But most people are impressed with the artwork. I’ve never had a negative reaction.”

That includes the main man himself, who’s admired the tattoos in person several times.

“He is genuinely pleased,” she says.

Clearly, 53-year-old Dee Sulenski is a Willie Nelson superfan. Aside from the tattoos, she’s made her tidy Toano home a shrine honoring the soft-spoken country outlaw.

Her den is Willie Central — walls covered with autographed photos, posters, magazine covers and devotional art such as a small, colorful “velvet Willie” painting — but you’ll find bits of memorabilia in almost every room in the house. Even bathrooms are decorated with framed Willie Nelson autographs.

Sulenski has given all six of her cats Willie-related names, Abbott for Nelson’s hometown in Texas and Trigger for Nelson’s well-worn guitar.

Her car’s license plate reads WLE NLSN.

Sulenski has successfully surrounded herself with reminders of the red-headed Texan. And very soon, their worlds will intersect again.

Tonight, Sulenski will attend her 100th Willie Nelson concert at The National theater in Richmond. Tomorrow, she’ll take in No. 101 at The NorVa in Norfolk.

Will she be in the balcony or near the stage at the shows?

OK, that’s a dumb question.

“Right down front,” she says without hesitating. “I want to see every bead of sweat.”

Sulenski first fell for Nelson in a movie theater.

“I saw the movie ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ right before I left for Coast Guard boot camp in 1980,” she says. “I don’t know if the timing had something to do with it, but from that point on, it was all Willie.”

Looking back, Sulenski isn’t clear on what exactly flipped her switch, Nelson’s gentle music or his laid-back charisma.

“I can’t explain it,” she says. “I don’t think it’s possible to explain what happened. I love his music, but he’s such a wonderful, generous man. He’s genuine. There’s absolutely nothing fake about him


“He really pays attention to his fans. If he’s talking to you, it’s like you’re the only person in the world.

“He’s really a kind person.”

She’s met Willie Nelson countless times — but always in structured musician-fan situations.

She says she’s careful not to invade his privacy.

“I care for Willie sincerely, and I’ve always been very respectful of his time,” she says. “I would never do anything to make him uncomfortable.”

Their first close encounter was after a 1989 performance at Scope in Norfolk. She gave her camera to a random passer-by who took a snapshot that’s become one of Sulenski’s most prized possessions. It shows the pair cheek to cheek, both beaming.

Their second meeting, at Kings Dominion outside Richmond, is where she scored the autograph that now adorns her leg.

“We kissed spontaneously,” she remembers. “Then I said, ‘I need a picture! Can we do that again?’ ”

The photo, taken by her husband Marion Sulenski, is on the wall of her den.

It’s not easy to be the spouse of a superfan. Marion admits to feeling a twinge of jealousy when he saw the print of that particular photo. But with reassurance from Dee, he’s come to terms with his wife’s obsession.

Despite the fact that he prefers classical music to country, he’s accompanied Dee on most of her Willie Nelson adventures — including a stint in Branson, Mo., where they saw two shows a day for three straight days.

“It makes her happy and that’s what makes me happy,” he says. “She enjoys it so much it hasn’t been hard to be a good sport.”

The couple has been married for 18 years — a period that spans much of his wife’s Willie Nelson infatuation. Marion says their outings have strengthened their relationship. More than anything, though, he’s a realist. He knows he couldn’t change his wife if he tried.

“It would be like standing on a beach with a bucket and trying to keep the tide from coming in,” he says. “You just can’t do it.”


Everyone looks good in a Willie Nelson shirt

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Another Willie Nelson fan: Earl Campbell

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

To Mr. Willie Nelson



Wednesday, July 16th, 2014


Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

photo:  Andrew Shapter

Everyone looks good in a Willie Nelson shirt

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014


especially Dewayne LaRoche

Willie Nelson helps make a dream come true

Sunday, July 13th, 2014


Tatum Lee got to see her favorite singer perform in Kansas City, at the Starlight Theater, thanks to Make a Wish Foundation.

Make a Wish Foundation arranged for Tatum to meet Willie Nelson, who also met with Tatum and her family backstage after the concert, and signed her guitar.

Tatum must endure painful operations every four months to extend the rods in her back, and music seems to help.  The next operation won’t be too long from now. But this time when she’s recovering and playing her guitar she can look down, see Willie’s signature and remember how many people were involved and what all it took to get it. She can be absolutely sure she is loved by the very best.


“I love you, Willie. Thanks so very much.” — Waylon Payne

Saturday, July 12th, 2014


“I watched my friend Willie Nelson on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer last night. What an enormous honor it has been to have him as a beacon on this journey of this thing called my life. He has shown me as well as everyone in the business how it is done. Proof that when you make it about the right thing, the possibilities are endless. Hell, he just had another number one album. He doesn’t know it but he recently reminded me how important it is to be passionate about what you do. He also reminded me that I can’t do anything about yesterday and I can’t do anything about tomorrow but I do have right now. And right now everything’s ok. Pretty good mantra to live by. I love you Willie. Thanks so very much.” — Waylon Payne

Singer, actor, and writer of songs, like this one he wrote, recorded by LeeAnn Womack:  Solitary Thinking

The son of music royalty – his father is Willie Nelson guitarist Jody Payne, his mother was Nashville hitmaker Sammi Smith of “Help Me Make It Through the Night” fame – Waylon Payne is one of the best of the new breed of yyoung writers and was nominated for a Grammy for writing Lee Ann Womack’s “Solitary Thinkin’.”

Jacob Johnson: Influenced by Willie Nelson

Saturday, July 12th, 2014
By:  Tom Didato

Some people go to a concert wanting to see the lead act and wanting to hear from the lead act only. Not many go with ears wide open hoping to take away something more than a singer performing something more than just their old or new hits.

As he made his way to his first concert, to see Willie Nelson on stage, a young Jacob Johnson got more than he bargained for at the show. Of course, he heard the Red-headed Stranger sing his songs which have endeared him to generations of fans whose musical tastes can run the gamut across several genres of music.

On that evening, Johnson — a native of Travelers Rest — was exposed to a far-reaching world of music performed by Nelson and his band. Rather than a heavy dose of country, Nelson dipped into the American songbook and sang more than a few standards. That show ended up having a profound influence on Johnson who will bring his trio to Camden as one of the headliners for Saturday’s 19th annual Jammin in July at Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site.

“I listened to Willie Nelson early on. Willie was my first concert,” Johnson said in a telephone interview from his home in the Upstate. “In fact, I’m wearing a Willie shirt, right now. He has connections to all these great singer-songwriters like (Bob) Dylan, Kris Kristofferson.

“At the first concert I went to, (Nelson) had just put out a jazz album so, he was playing some Django Reinhardt and Cole Porter. At 12 or 13, I discovered Django Reinhart through Willie Nelson.”

Just as a Willie Nelson concert led Jacob Johnson to discovering other artists, his musical quest took him in other directions as he tried to find his own style … his own voice and a personal take on what would become his music.


Willie Doll and Friends

Friday, July 11th, 2014


Thank you, G-Ma Jane, for your picture of Cherie, Tex Willie Willie Doll, and Mary Waller Collins.

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Willie Nelson fans in Fort Worth, the night before the picnic

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


Fans at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic

Monday, July 7th, 2014




Patricia Lopez Wiggs with Amy Nelson, Lukas Nelson, and Milo

Monday, July 7th, 2014


Patricia Lopez Wiggs,  with Amy Nelson .  I had to re-post these pictures Patti shared, they are so festive.


Patricia Lopez Wiggs, with Milo Gonzalez and Micah Nelson of Folk Uke

Buddy Bear gets laid at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Billy English misses Budrock

Everyone missed Budrock “The Illuminator” Prewitt, at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July picnic. He’s been at every picnic I’ve ever been too, and except for the band, he’s probably been to more picnics than anyone, either as a fan or as a crew member.

Janis from Texas, Clem Brown, Terry Thompson, pose with Buddy Bear, at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic

Budrock says goodbye to band and crew, as they load up to leave for the 4th of July picnic in Fort Worth.

Budrock is Willie Nelson’s & Family’s Lighting Engineer, and he was injured early last month. He broke his heel, and tore and stretched and bent and punctured other parts of his feet, during a routine jump from the stage, setting up for a show. So sad; surgeons still waiting for swelling and infection to go down before they can do anything.  Ouch.  I can’t look at the photos; too painful.


Anyway, Budrock wasn’t there, but Budrock the Bear, or Buddy Bear, as the girls call him, was there to represent. He gave orders, growled at a few people, handed out guitar picks to a few lucky fans, and goofed around with Bobby at the sound board. And he posed for pictures with Buddy’s friends.


I know Buddy Bear was a virgin when the day started out, but by the end of the night, I think his life had changed forever. Women kept coming to get him and take him away, then bring him back with his fur all fluffed. I don’ t know. He didn’t say anything, but he was smiling.

LG wanted to send his best wishes to Budrock, too, and Janis and I photo bombed his picture.