On December 6, 1984, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson record “Highwayman” at Nashville’s Moman Studios. Among the musicians on the session is guitarist Marty Stuart.
Archive for the ‘Kris Kristofferson’ Category
Music lovers (and especially country music lovers) received an early Christmas treat in the form of the new holiday movie Angels Sing, which went into limited release last month and wowed with a fantastic cast including Harry Connick Jr., “Nashville’s” Connie Britton, Lyle Lovett, and not one but two country legends: Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.
Of course, a film containing so many musical powerhouses wouldn’t be complete without the actors providing a great soundtrack; and Kristofferson rises to the occasion here by covering Nelson’s Christmas classic “Pretty Paper” (which was also a hit for Roy Orbison in the ’60s). In this exclusive clip, the film’s cast and Kristofferson himself discuss the song, the feeling and emotion behind it, and what it means to take on Nelson’s moving holiday tune this season.
Angels Sing is a modern-day take on the beloved holiday themes presented in such classics as It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street: Connick Jr. plays a man who’s lost all joy for Christmas due to a tragic accident suffered years ago. Britton stars as his wife, while Kristofferson is his father. Nelson appears as a mysterious stranger who helps Connick Jr. regain his love for the holidays again.
The soundtrack to the film will be available Dec. 17
Like punk rock and gangsta rock after it, outlaw country is part of an old, sometimes lucrative American tradition of celebrating defiance in song. Michael Streissguth’s engaging cultural history of outlaw country reminds us of the artistry that went into marketing triumphs like Wanted! The Outlaws, the 1976 compilation album that looked like a bullet-riddled, Old West-era, dead-or-alive poster and became country music’s first certified million-selling LP.
A professor at Le Moyne College, Streissguth has previously written books and made two documentaries about Johnny Cash, whose influence on Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson soon becomes apparent in this account. Through his prison concerts and the national TV show he broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry’s Ryman Auditorium, Cash demonstrated how to move between the Nashville establishment and the rest of the world while living by his own rules. Cash, Jennings, Nelson and Kristofferson came together as The Highwaymen e_SEnD a moniker suggesting considerable touring time as well as a certain amount of criminality – in 1985.
Streissguth’s focus, though, is on the years between 1965 and ’75, when a group of individuals and shifting societal currents managed to change how Nashville operated. This story’s central three renegades were all from Texas but arrived at country music’s capital from different angles. Born in Brownsville, Kristofferson was a high school football star in California and a Rhodes scholar before joining the Army. He came to Nashville with a head full of stories and lyrics, and raised extra cash by flying helicopters to Gulf of Mexico oil rigs. By 1965, Nelson – from central Texas – had gained acclaim for his stellar songwriting (“Crazy,” “Night Life,” “Funny How Time Slips Away”) and live performances, but as a recording artist he suffered from uninspiring production and insufficient promotion. Hailing from West Texas, Jennings had developed “a restless union of country and rock” after playing in Buddy Holly’s road band, but he also struggled against the assembly-line strictures of the Nashville Sound.
All three simply wanted to make the music they heard in their heads, and Streissguth pinpoints their great gifts along with their frustrations when Nashville’s decision makers wouldn’t get out of their way. Kristofferson’s rambling ballads featured “smart turns of phrase and knowing maturity” that helped inspire the 1970s singer-songwriter phenomenon. The “PG overtones of his songs” were somewhat shocking at the time, but Streissguth notes that they “echo still in today’s country music.” Jennings combined a “rough baritone” with songwriting chops and a percussive live show, and Nelson’s “hard Texas twang . . . danced and flirted with the rhythm,” but it wasn’t until they won the right to record with producers and musicians of their choosing that they achieved commercial and artistic success simultaneously.
Alongside these musical evolutions, Streissguth tells of Nashville’s transformation from a clean-cut and segregated city in the ’50s into a dynamic, somewhat dilapidated cultural capital in the mid-’70s, one worthy of movie director Robert Altman’s sharp, satirical eye. In addition to depicting country music’s hierarchies, Altman’s Nashville showed how the freewheeling ethos of the ’60s had made its way into corners of the city. Glaser Sound Studios (dubbed Hillbilly Central) and clubs like Exit/In fostered uninhibited collaboration. As songwriter Mickey Newbury remarked back then, “Nashville’s a great place to be right now – like Paris in the twenties – a place where you can get together with people and rap.” Alert to other perspectives, Streissguth starts the next chapter with Kinky Friedman’s terse rebuttal: “Paris of the thirties, my ass. It was one big con.” (And, yes, the ’20s and ’30s must have blended together by the 1970s.)
photo: Janis Tillerson
Oh, he’s a handsome man! Kris Kristofferson charmed us all at Willie Nelson’s Picnic, once again. So many fans came to see Kris, and it was so great to hear him sing his hits. Short set, but there were so many artists they were moving them few very fast.
My nephew Austin, who is serving in the army at Fort Hood, came to the picnic, happy to see one of the Highwaymen perform. At one point he turned to me and told me Cody, his younger brother, told him this was the same actor Kris Kristofferson, was that true? Yep, actor, singer, song-writer, he’s the real deal.
Thanks so much to Janis, who captured these great photos.
On May 22, 1993 CBS aired “Willie Nelson The Big Six-0: An All-Star Birthday Celebration,” featuring Ray Charles, B.B. King, Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Travis Tritt, Lyle Lovett, Marty Stuart, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson and more.
The video is available, from time to time, on ebay, and a fan has uploaded the entire show, in segments, to youtube. Here’s one part:
Apr 14, 1986
“Highwayman” takes Single Record of the Year honors for Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and producer Chips Moman in the 21st Academy of Country Music awards, telecast by NBC from Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.
On April 9, 1Apr 9, 1991, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson star in CBS-TV’s “Another Pair Of Aces: Three Of A Kind”.
December 14, 1990
“Aces” Sequel Draws Nelson, Kristofferson
Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson — the stars of CBS TV’s ‘A Pair of Aces’ will return to Austin, early next month for a sequel and the producers are seeking numerous extras for the filming.
A variety of ages and types are needed for several scenes in the movie, including a courtroom and press conference, and scenes at a political fundraiser garden party in which extras will need to be well-dressed, according to Helen Griffiths of Third Coast Casting.
Clean shaven men in thier 40?s are being sought to pay Texas Rangersm as well, she said. Extras are p;aid $40 a day and they could be needed on the set for several days.
A casting call for extras is scheduled Wednesday, December 19th from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Sabine Room of the Stouffer Austin Hotel, 9721 Arboretum Blvd. Griffiths said applicants should bring a recent photograph of themselves.
The movie will be called, ‘Another Pair of Aces’ and will begin production at various locations in Austin, and Pflugerville on January 7, according to Griffiths. It will be directed by Bill Bixby, who has appeared in several movies in addition to television work in ‘My Favorite Martian,’ ‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk.’
Nelson plays Billy Ray Barker, a con man and Texas Ranger Rip Metcalf is portrayed by Kris Kristofferson. Rip Torn stars as retired Ranger Jack Parsons.
‘A Pair of Aces,’ which aired last January to excellent ratings, was written by Austinites Bud Shrake and Gary Cartwright, who are executive co-producers for the sequel.