Archive for the ‘Fans’ Category

Greta said, “Just because we are older doesn’t mean we stop doing what we love. To Willie, 82 is just a number”

Friday, January 29th, 2016

by:  Tom Blake

Last August, Willie Nelson was scheduled to perform at the Orange County Fair. My life partner Greta Cohn and I, and our Dana Point friends, Ron and Lee Cohan, had tickets for the concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre, an outdoor venue. The four of us realized it would probably be our last chance to see Willie, a country music legend; he turns 83 this April 29.

We were in our seats; the band’s instruments were in place on the stage. And then it started raining hard; the show was canceled.

Three months later, when the four of us heard Willie would be performing this Jan. 6 at the Grove in Anaheim, we purchased tickets.

On the night of the concert, it rained again, but the Grove is an indoor venue, so we knew the show would go on. I will admit, however, the possibility of a rain-caused cancelation crossed my mind as we made the drive to Anaheim.

Frankly, my expectations about Willie performing were modest. I imagined that his family members, including his sons Micah and Lukas on guitars and “little sister” Bobbie, as Willie calls her, on piano, would be the primary performers, and that Willie would sing only a few songs.

When the lights dimmed, Willie led his band onto the stage. He was wearing a T-shirt with “Maui” printed on the front and his usual red bandana headband.

Willie picked up Trigger, the name he’s given to his ancient Martin N-20 classical guitar that he’s had for 47 years—the one with a gaping hole and faded autographs from famous people such as Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings on it. He began with one of his classics, “Whiskey River.” The four of us were surprised by how great Willie and his band sounded.

He was on stage nonstop for more than 90 minutes. He sang: “Georgia on My Mind,” “On the Road Again,” “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” “Crazy,” “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” “Good-Hearted Woman,” “Always on My Mind” and about 25 other songs, all of them familiar.

He was gracious and personable. Fans kept tossing cowboy hats onto the stage. Willie would wear the hats for a couple of songs and then toss them to the crowd Frisbee-style. He also threw five headbands to the crowd.

Another Orange County friend, Ken Stetter, and his girlfriend Peggy McGuire, were seated in the same aisle about 20 feet away, although I didn’t know that until a week later.

“I, too, went to see Willie Nelson, with Peggy,” Ken said. “We also had tickets this summer at the fair. I thought his ‘little sister’ Bobbie was a huge plus—really good musician. I had a great night, like you. Two thumbs up!”

“Little sister” Bobbie is 85 years old.

Greta and I didn’t know if we’d ever see Willie again. However, a week later we did—only this time it wasn’t in person. On Friday, Jan. 15, we watched on PBS TV station KCET, Willie receiving The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

He had received the award on Nov. 18, 2015, in Washington, D.C. A multitude of entertainers performed his music as he and his wife sat in a booth above and to the side of the stage.

Johnny Cash’s daughter, Rosanne, performed “Pancho and Lefty,” and Alison Krauss of the group Union Station performed, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.” Paul Simon and Neil Young also sang. It was an incredible night of music.

After Willie received the award on stage, he strapped on Trigger and did a few songs with all of the guest performers joining him. With a career that spans six decades, his final song was, appropriately enough, “On the Road Again.”

Greta said, “Just because we are older doesn’t mean we stop doing what we love. To Willie, 82 is just a number.”

Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. His latest book can be found online See his website at (Yes, after 60; time rolls on.) To comment:

Willie Nelson and his fans

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016


Willie Nelson Posters

Thursday, January 7th, 2016


Thank you Phil Weismanfor sharing some pictures of some of his collection.


Picnic posters!


Happy Willie Nelson Fans in Telluride

Thursday, January 7th, 2016


This family had so much fun at the Willie Nelson & Family show at Telluride in 2011.


They were loud, they were excited.


And Willie tossed bandannas to two of them!



This little guy was so cute. He made Willie giggle in the middle of a song he was singing.


He was tired, and ready to go long before the rest of his family. Someday he will realize what a special night that was.


Thursday, December 24th, 2015


Willie Nelson fans

Thursday, December 17th, 2015


Willie tossed bandannas to Pat Keeney and Janis Tillerson . at concert in New Braunfels last March.

I’ve seen this happen before, Willie looks for the best looking women in the front row and singles them out with bandannas. Happens every night.

Willie Nelson and Alyssa

Saturday, December 5th, 2015


Sometimes even Willie crazy dreams come true!!!

Willie Nelson and his fans

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

laura skelding 22606 bacchus ball

photo: Laura Skelding

Thanks to friends with cameras at Willie Nelson shows

Monday, November 23rd, 2015


Thanks to Janis Tillerson, from Texas.

She’s always there to capture those special moments for me, real and imaginary.  My wing man, er woman.    Thanks to all the wingpeople, with cameras at shows.


Paul English and Christian Francis

Friday, November 20th, 2015


Thanks to Christian Francis for sharing his Me and Paul photo Farm Aid Board Member Paul English, at the Willie Nelson and Family Show at the Milwaukee Theater on October 24, 2015.

Willie Nelson friends and fans at Willie Nelson Gershwin Song Award in Washington, DC (11/18/15)

Thursday, November 19th, 2015


Farm Aid board and staff were on hand to celebrate Willie Nelson last night
Carolyn Mugar,  Jenifer Fahey and Kari Williams (and others I don’t know, sorry).


Shyla, Raul Malo, of Mavericks, and Jeremy Tepper, from Sirius/XM radio.


Jeremy Tepper, Jamey Johnson and Raul Malo

So many friends and fans and admirers on hand to recognize and honor Willie Nelson in Washington at the Library of Congress Gershwin Award for Song last night in Washington DC

gershwin 62

Lukas Nelson, Andy Bush, Micah Nelson,


Michael Bowman, Janis Tillerson, Ruth Boggs and me.



Willie Nelson Art — Willie and his fans (art by Janine Holter)

Sunday, November 15th, 2015


Thanks so much to Janine Holter, Willie Nelson fan and artist from Minnesota, for sharing her latest painting of Willie Nelson and his fans.

“I would be honored if you would share my recent painting of Willie and his fans.
I am so inspired by Willie, his love of his fans and the love we return.
And the music, the beautiful music…

Janine, or Beanie, who many of us know her as, from the original LPO at Willie Nelson’s website, not only paints pictures of Willie Nelson, but she celebrates Willie Nelson’s birthday every year!  She makes signs, party favors, cake, everything.


Birthday Party 2012


Wednesday, November 11th, 2015


Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Willie Nelson

Dylan Thomas, from Two Pines Farm in Michigan, at Farm Aid 30 (Chicago)

Monday, November 9th, 2015

20150919_140410 (1)

Thanks to Terry and Jenny Thompson, for this article about Veteran Dylan Thomas and wife Abbi, of Two Pine Farms, and  Farmer Veteran Coaltion at

Farm Aid 30 in Chicago on Northerly Island was held on September 19, 2015. It was an almost picture perfect day with beautiful blue skies and a slight breeze on the shore of Lake Michigan from the backside of a low-pressure weather front that brought a 3 to 4 foot surf lapping at the beach. The torrential rains the night before were just a memory except for the mud hazard around the Homegrown Village tent area. I know what you’re probably thinking…the MUSIC!  And yes, the music on this 30th Anniversary of Farm Aid was awesome.

You can find replays of many of the performances on YouTube!  And Amy’s put out a 9 hour video that makes you feel like you were there; also on YouTube. And the FOOD. The food at Farm Aid is always awesome, too.  Home Grown’s all right by me.  Farm Fresh.  Brought to you by Farmers, my friends-the real deal.  Always a hit!

And the people…the farmers, the musicians, the activists, the locals, and the fans-the first-timers and the repeat fans, some who haven’t missed a FarmAid in 30 years and counting. Gotta love Farm Aid fans; they are fun! HOMEGROWN VILLAGE! This is where so many stories are told.  There are so many stories at Farm Aid! This is just one. Listen to this interview with Veteran Dylan Thomas.

When this video stopped recording Dylan, the conversation continued.

Dylan admitted to us that his life, when he returned from war, was a struggle. He had a hard time and his marriage was also hanging on by a thread. One particularly bad day, when he felt like he couldn’t stand his anguish any longer, he fell to his knees in utter despair. While on the ground, he felt the soil in his hands, he really felt it and let it run through his fingers. Dylan described this as a spiritual moment. He felt a kinship, a connection, to the earth. He began to have an overwhelming feeling that this was somehow his connection back to all the things that really mattered to him. He felt that this earth could be his salvation… That was the day that his life began to come into focus; the beginning of a new vision of a better life for him and the beginning of a new bond with him and Abbi.

Dylan Thomas, together with his wife, Abbi, now operate Two Pines Farm in Michigan. Two Pines raises Pasture Fed, Non-GMO, Pork and Poultry. They also sell Farm Fresh eggs.

Theirs is one important story of many. Farmer Veteran Coalition is an organization that is dedicated to serving Veterans of all branches of military service. Their mission is to mobilize Veterans to feed America by cultivating a generation of new farmers and food leaders. They develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. They believe that food production offers purpose and opportunity as well as physical and psychological benefits.

According to Farmer Veteran Coalition’s Executive Director, Michael O’Gorman, in 1970, two million farmers were feeding 200 million people; now 960,000 farmers are feeding 310 million mouths. He states that our nation is in need of new farmers to feed our people, protect our land, rebuild our economy, bring back our rural communities, keep us healthy, and make our nation secure.  He further states that Veterans make excellent farmers. They are not afraid of difficult tasks, they stand up when they are knocked down, they understand the need to be acutely aware of everything around them, and most of all, they are driven by doing what is right for their country.

Farmer Veteran Coalition has a wide array of resources to assist Veterans including fellowship grants, career development, internship/apprenticeship placement, job placement, farm support, and advocacy.

U.S.Dept. of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack , tells us  “Our Veterans embody the values that stand at the heart of rural America: hard work, a love of their country, and a sense of duty to give back to a nation that has done so much for us all.”

If you know a Veteran who might be interested in this program, please let him or her know about Farmer Veteran Coalition.

You can learn more about Farmer Veteran Coaltion at

and on Facebook at farmerveterancoalition

Support Farmer Veteran Coalition by Donations at their website!

Follow Dylan and Abbi Thomas and Two Pines Farm on Facebook at Two Pines Farm, LLC.

We had the pleasure of talking to Dylan and Abbi and learning about Farmer Veteran Coalition at Homegrown Village, Farm Aid 30, Northerly Island, Chicago on September 19th, 2015