Archive for the ‘Fans’ Category

Willie Nelson and his fans

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Thanks to Phil Weisman for finding this cool, classic photo of Willie Nelson giving back to the people who love him.

Supporting family farmers and Farm Aid: A Family Tradition

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Thanks so much to Alice from Atlanta for sharing these photos from the Farm Aid concert. Every year, several Farm Aid supporters, music lovers, friends and Willie Nelson fans join me at Farm Aid, and help share the experience through photos and stories. I couldn’t make it this year, but they are sending me photos and stories to share with all of us. Alice always takes really cool photos of some of the cool tee-shirts at the concert. People wear their coolest tee-shirts to the Farm Aid concert.

Hi Linda,

As I was wandering around trying to find interesting t-shirts, I found this father, Jason, and his son, Tucker.  Jason told me that 15 years ago, in 2002, he and his wife attended their first Farm Aid concert, which coincidentally was also held in Burgettstown, Pa.

One year later, his 3 month old son Tucker attended his first Farm Aid!

He said to me:  “You do the math!”  😉

Since then, they have attended every Farm Aid that they could.  This year was Jason’s 9th Farm Aid and Tucker’s 8th!

What a wonderful family tradition!


Farm Aid Friends

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Friends and music lovers and Family Farmer supporters gather in the press tent, before Farm Aid 2017 in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania Saturday. I see Jodi, Dot, and Janis and Alice and her friend, and Pat.

Alice from Atlanta, and Terry from Oklahoma.

Janis Tillerson and Rand Snyderman

Dot from Florida and Jodi from Texas

Willie Nelson and Chick Galella #realheros

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

 Have you met Armando “Chick” Galella? He is a Pearl Harbor survivor and a friend of Willie’s. #realheros

Pearl Harbor survivor Armando “Chick” Galella gets a ride from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a yellow 1955 Corvette, after a ceremony to open the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. Peter Carr/lohud

Add one more honor to the list bestowed on Armando “Chick” Galella, a WWII and Pearl Harbor veteran, who recently became the first person across the newly opened Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge when he rode over the span with Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

Singer Willie Nelson called Galella “an American hero.”

A post on Nelson’s Facebook page shows the singer with the 96-year-old Galella, a Sleepy Hollow native.

Galella was a private first class in the U.S. Army’s 53rd Signal Corps at Hickam Field, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He lost his best friend, John Horan, in the attack.


Farm Aid Supporters gather in Pittsburgh

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Jenny and Terry Thompson arrive in Pittsburgh for the Farm Aid Festival this weekend.

Willie Nelson & Family (Poughkeepsie, September 13, 2017)

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Thanks, Carol Sidoran.

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Thanks, Willie Nelson

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Willie Nelson and his fans

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
Image result for willie nelson and family

Another Willie Nelson fan

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Dear Willie Nelson

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Dear Willie Nelson,

Pardon me for the interruption; I’m sure you have plenty of other things to do with your time than to peruse my inane little ramblings here on the internet. But you are my favorite country music artists of all time. There have been many other great music artists over the many decades of country music history, and arguably others that perhaps have accomplished slightly more in their careers by someone else’s particular estimation. But in my humble opinion, and from an admittedly biased perspective from having grown up on your music, you are the best.

We have lost many country music greats over the years, especially in the last couple, which has caused great pain among the country music population, and to my little country music world particularly. Merle was especially tough, and losing him in the same year as Guy Clark and Ralph Stanley was a son-of-a-bitch. But none of that would be as daunting as having to digest your unfathomable demise. In fact I feel dirty for even putting your name and the hint of a world without you in it in the same sentence. It feels like sacrilege.

So it is from this conclusion—and in admitted flaunting defiance of the laws of nature—that I have unilaterally decided, by the powers vested in me by nobody, and without the seal of any higher authority, that you, Willie Hugh Nelson, are not, under any circumstances, allowed to die. No wiggle room, no time for discussion. Period, end of story. I apologize for such a brash and implausible demand, but this is just the way it has to be.

Like many country music fans, I was not always 100% faithful to the country music genre my entire life. Though my country roots have always been there and been pure, like many Americans will do in their youth, I experimented with other genres. There was my classic rock phase, for example. But can you blame me when at the time Garth Brooks was all the rage, and flying suspended over stadiums? Is it my fault I went searching for greener pastures? Besides, a lot of that classic rock stuff was just as much country as the popular country stuff of the 90’s, and was way more country than the popular country of today.

I even dabbled in punk rock and jam bands and artists on the fringes of popular music like Tom Waits and Frank Zappa in early adulthood—you know, whatever I thought was cool at the time—resulting in dark periods in my knowledge base and discography of country. But you, Willie Nelson, were always there. Both in my heart, and in my ears. Even when country music wasn’t cool in my music world for whatever reason, you always were.
I know what I’m asking for is a profanity to the cycle of life. Some may even conclude that it’s impossible. But I can’t imagine a world without a Willie Nelson. As everything has become perilous and polarized in out time, you are the one thing that nearly everybody can agree upon. You are like the Mother Teresa of music. Even people who despise country music see Willie Nelson as a beacon of light in the world, as a guidepost of infinite wisdom, and as an irreplaceable soul on this mortal coil. For decades now, music has simply been the excuse to pay attention to what a gift it is to have Willie Nelson inhabit planet Earth.

Yet inexplicably your musical output has not suffered at all with advancing age and the unavoidable and irreversible loss of faculties that come with it. In fact it has only enhanced you wisdom, broadened your appeal, and instilled your music with an instant gratification and infinite fulfillment simply from hearing the immediately identifiable timbre of your voice, and the timeless plucks of your guitar, Trigger, while your past music only grows better with age.

I have no reason to ask any favor of you, sir. In fact if anything, I am infinitely indebted to you for all the joy your music has brought me in my life, all the tough times it has seen me through, and all the positivity, wisdom, and joy it has spread throughout the world. Yet here I am, selfishly requesting you work another miracle.

Because I don’t want to fathom a world without Willie Nelson.

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Becoming a Willie Nelson fan, by Ben Noey, Jr.

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017


photo: Ben Noey, Jr.
Willie Nelson  South Park Meadows in Austin, Texas July 4, 1984.

See more of Ben Noey, Jr.’s photos here.

by: Ben Noey

My appreciation for Willie Nelson came almost as an accident.

In the early ’70s, I was very much a disciple of Leon Russell, the gravelly voiced pianist and singer-songwriter who played with just about everyone on the planet, from Joe Cocker to George Harrison to Ray Charles.

I bought Leon’s albums, went to his concerts and wore his T-shirts. I watched him on film during the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour and the Concert for Bangladesh. For me, Leon was the music man.

So when I heard, in the summer of 1973, that he might be playing in a field near Austin with Willie Nelson, I just had to find my way to Dripping Springs. I knew a little about Willie, the old guy who played Whiskey River to hippies, but more importantly, I’d seen the Woodstock movie. And I didn’t want to miss that communal music experience right here in Texas.

First, I’d have to sell my mom on the idea. Some of my friends went to the first Kerrville Music Festival in 1972, but she wouldn’t let me go. I’m not sure what changed in a year, but somehow I persuaded her that this July 4, 1973, trip was the most important opportunity in my young life.

And so at age 15, there I was, walking in a dusty field toward a stage where I’d see Willie Nelson play live for the first time. Little did I know it would be the beginning of a four-decade long relationship with the American musical icon and his picnic, which would become a Texas-soaked soundtrack for the Fourth of July.

That first show in Dripping Springs was hot and crowded. Leon was there; so was Kris Kristofferson. Willie was having a blast, and it was contagious. I’d seen my share of concerts, but never like this with so many folks having so much fun — outdoors!

I decided right then and there that if this happened again, I would be there

photo: Ben Joey, Jr.

And it did happen again. In 1974, Willie hosted the Fourth of July Picnic, a three-day celebration in College Station at the Texas World Speedway, where Richard Petty had won a race the previous summer. We parked in a field of grass dried by the Texas heat and walked through a tunnel under the track. When we emerged, we saw a massive stage with Willie’s name and picture painted on the background. This year, I was going to record a little of the fun with photos and a Super 8 movie camera.

My hero, Leon, strolled the stage between sets and acted as emcee, ushering onstage Augie Meyers, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Steve Fromholz, Rusty Wier, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jerry Jeff Walker, Waylon Jennings, Michael (before he was Martin) Murphey, Jimmy Buffett and, of course, Willie.

NBC was filming a Midnight Special, so there were occasional breaks for camera movement and Wolfman Jack segments.

A fire started in the field of cars where we’d parked. I broke out the Super 8 and began my career as a journalist. I filmed the volunteer firefighters working alongside shirtless hippies trying to extinguish a Chevy station. The fire spread, but luckily, there didn’t seem to be any injuries.

In 1975, the picnic moved north a piece to Liberty Hill in Williamson County. Kristofferson reappeared with his wife, Rita Coolidge; Charlie Daniels fiddled his way into our hearts; and a Fort Worth favorite, Delbert McClinton, joined the fun. The Pointer Sisters were there, too, although I’m not sure why. We hurried to buy $5.50 advance tickets, which included overnight camping. (We didn’t want to have to pay $7.50 at the gate.)

As 1976 rolled around, Willie took his roadshow to Gonzales, the site of the first battle of the Texas Revolution. It’s also where I got my first taste of Shiner, which I later learned was made right down the highway.

The crowd was huge that year, and of course, it rained. It was muddy. Maybe Woodstock wasn’t so much fun after all. Soaked and discouraged, we got a motel room and watched the bicentennial events on TV — fireworks bursting above the newly refurbished Statue of Liberty and tall ships going by those two giant World Trade Center towers. Not bad at all.

It would be a few years before I’d make it back to the picnic, but in 1984, Willie rolled into South Park Meadows, right outside Austin. I applied for credentials to shoot photos and was granted a pass, plus one. I couldn’t find anyone to make the trip, so, more than a decade after I’d begged my mother to let me go to Dripping Springs, I invited her to see Willie for herself.

She was entranced by the crowd, the spectacle and, yes, the aromas. I’ll wager she was the only woman there in a knee-length denim skirt. Do you have a photo of your mom with 15,000 hipsters?

During the next few years, I saw Willie many times, but never on July Fourth. I made trips to Vegas to see him at Caesar’s and the Orleans. I watched him perform at rodeo grounds and fairs. I saw him in intimate clubs and great halls.

Don’t miss the photo slideshow of Ben Noey’s photos and memorabilia of Willie Nelson through the decades.

But I missed the old picnic days, camping out with my pals, never knowing or caring what was about to happen.

When I jumped back on the Fourth of July Picnic train at in the Fort Worth Stockyards in 2004, there was a different crowd. Hippies looked like grandfathers. Silver-haired ladies danced in tie-dyed moo moos. People weren’t smoking — anything. A longneck cost more than my admission to the first four picnics. Some of the old reliables were there, like Leon and Kristofferson, but a new generation of entertainers were pleasing a new crop of Willie fans. Los Lonely Boys rocked the place and Larry the Cable Guy was testifying. Things had changed, but the party continued.

In 2005, Bob Dylan joined Willie for the Picnic in the Stockyards. So did the Doobie Brothers and a much slower Leon Russell. Corporate sponsorship had changed the old renegade feeling of the picnic, but the music lived on.

In 2010, the “Bringing It Back Home” Fourth of July Picnic came to The Backyard in Bee Cave, near Austin. I knew I should be there, too. Leon was back in the saddle after having brain surgery earlier in the year. Kristofferson sang the classics and Asleep at the Wheel choo choo ch’boogied. The torch has been passed to youngsters like Randy Rogers and Jamey Johnson to carry the Willie message to a new generation of “young country” listeners.

During the last couple of picnics in the Stockyards, Willie has really made it a family affair — his sons and daughters are part of the entertainment. Paula Nelson, Folk Uke with Amy Nelson, Micah Nelson and Lukas Nelson all showed their stuff.

It’s funny to reflect on your life in Willie increments, but that’s what the picnic has meant for me.

It’s like stepping into a time machine and traveling back to the land of no responsibilities — the days when you could grab an ice chest, a blanket, hop in the back of a pickup and leave the world behind. I’ve seen Willie with someone I would later marry and divorce. I attended a picnic with someone I wished I had married. And, sadly, some of my picnic cronies are no longer with us.

But Willie is THE survivor.

His band has changed a bit in recent years, his signature braids and beard are a little whiter these days, but he continues to provide the soundtrack for the Fourth of July.

As the 2013 picnic nears, I am grateful to have been in the congregation that gathered in the Hill Country for a few days in July 40 years ago. I last saw Willie in Arlington in November. For a few minutes, I closed my eyes and could almost taste the dust.

Willie Nelson and Earl Campbell

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Have a Willie Nice Day

Sunday, July 30th, 2017