Archive for the ‘News and Reviews’ Category

Willie Nelson Art in Austin

Thursday, September 29th, 2016


Willie Nelson smiles moments after the unveiling of his statue on West 2nd Street, also known as Willie Nelson Boulevard, on Friday April 20, 2012. The statue was created by Philadelphia artist Clete Shields, and given to the city by the nonprofit Capital Area Statues Inc. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
by:  Peter Blackstock

Walk the streets of Austin, and sooner or later you’ll encounter Willie Nelson. Visions of our city’s greatest living icon pop up all over town, from SoCo to the Drag to the Red River District to, well, of course, the stretch of Second Street now known as Willie Nelson Boulevard. Recent new murals that have popped up this year gave us an idea to send photographer Jay Janner on a mission to photograph as many artistic renderings of Willie as we could find. The statue in front of ACL Live is probably the most impressive landmark, but it’s just one of many. The captions tell the stories of these indelible works, which help to ensure that the Red Headed Stranger will always remain familiar in Austin. Willie joins the Austin City Limits Music Festival party next weekend, helping to close out the festival on Oct. 9.



Austin artist Samson Barboza paints a mural of Willie Nelson at Bluebonnet Studios, which is under construction on South Lamar Boulevard, on Tuesday September 27, 2016.  “When you think of Texas heroes one of the guys you think of is Willie Nelson.”, Barboza said. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


A 60-foot-by-20-foot mural of Willie Nelson towers over fest goers during South by Southwest March 19, 2016. Austin artist Wiley Ross completed the mural in February 2016 on the building on East 7th Street at Neches Street. “Willie embodies the spirit of Austin,” says Ross, who has painted several Austin murals including a one on Manchaca Road and Lamar Boulevard. “We wanted to honor Willie and give back to Austin.” After securing permission from building owners, Ross says he spent 80 hours over six continuous days working on the mural in order to complete it before the Heart of Texas Rockfest on March 16-19, which also coincides with South by Southwest. The giant portrait of Nelson will serve as a backdrop for the rock festival. “My favorite part of the mural is that anywhere you go, Willie’s eyes follow you,” Ross says. “It’s like he’s watching over downtown Austin.” JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Mural artists Tom Bauman, top, and Kerry Awn apply anti-graffiti sealant to their 1974 “Austintatious” mural at the 23rd Street Market during a restoration project on Tuesday June 24, 2014. Willie Nelson can be seen standing next to a red pickup in the bottom left corner. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


A two-dimensional cutout of Willie Nelson looks down on Guadalupe Street from a balcony at ACL Live at the Moody Theater, home of “Austin City Limits,” Monday September 12, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Willie Nelson, with his guitar Trigger, stands next to a red pickup in this small detail of the ‘Austintatious’ mural, which was created at the 23rd Street Renaissance Market in 1974 by artists Kerry Awn, Tom Bauman and Rick Turner. Photographed July 14, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


The “Willie Nelson For President” mural on STAG Provisions for Men was painted by Joe Swec from a drawing by Jacqui Oakley and a design by Erick Montes. Photographed Thursday July 14, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


A portrait of Willie Nelson in the alley behind La Zona Rosa commemorates his April 22, 1995 concert at the defunct live music venue. This Willie portrait is part of the larger La Zona Rosa Musicians mural painted by Joe Swec from drawings by artist Jacqui Oakley of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Photographed on September 11, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Willie Nelson watches over the Drag on September 11, 2016. Willie is one of several musicians depicted in a series of portraits by Austin graffiti artist Frederico Archuleta on the old Varsity Theater/Tower Records building. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Read article and seethe art:

Outlaw Music Fest in Scranton, PA (9/18/2016)

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016


photo by: Jason Riedmiller Photography
by:  Brad Patton

The day-long festival, a late addition to the local venue’s calendar, had a little something for everybody as Lee Ann Womack, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Sheryl Crow, and Scranton’s own Cabinet filled the bill. Performances on the second stage included an acoustic set by Lukas Nelson and local artists, including members of Cabinet playing the music of John Prine, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, and Hank Williams.

Young, the now 70-year-old rocker, took the stage just before 7 p.m. for a lovely solo rendition of “Heart of Gold,” accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and harmonica.

He then brought out his latest collaborators, Promise of the Real featuring Willie’s sons Lukas and Micah Nelson, for acoustic favorites “Out on the Weekend,” “Unknown Legend,” “Human Highway” with gorgeous four-part harmonies, “Harvest Moon,” and “Hold Back the Tears.”

Young then picked up his electric guitar and a multi-page setlist, tossed the papers to the floor, and started into “Powderfinger” from 1979’s “Rust Never Sleeps.”

Following that same album’s “Welfare Mothers,” Young and his cohorts then played a stunning, 11-minute “Cowgirl in the Sand.” The harmonies were back for 1969’s “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” the title track of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s second album.

Several minutes of instrumental buildup turned into a nearly-20-minute version of “Cortez the Killer,” followed by an equally outstanding take of “Fuckin’ Up” from the 1990 album “Ragged Glory,” his sixth LP with Crazy Horse.

Young and POTR then tore the roof off with a combustible “Rockin’ in the Free World,” complete with two false endings and some standout guitar work by Lukas Nelson.


photo:  Jason Riedmiller

Willie Nelson, listed as curator of the Outlaw gathering, closed out the festival just one day after his closing set at the 31st Farm Aid in Bristow, Virginia.

Taking the stage with his Family and his ever-faithful guitar Trigger, the elder Nelson, now 83 and still showing no signs of slowing down, somehow managed to fit 19 songs into his hour-long set.

The early going was familiar to everyone who has seen Willie over the past few years, as he began with “Whiskey River,” “Still Is Still Moving to Me,” and “Beer for My Horses.”

Nelson then paid tribute to another musical outlaw, the late Waylon Jennings, with “Good Hearted Woman” and the chart-topping Waylon and Willie duet “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”

Even though the selection was fully expected, Nelson’s version of “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” was especially good at the Outlaw, with his guitar playing nearly matching his heartfelt vocals.

After more of the usual suspects, such as “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind,” Nelson paid tribute to Hank Williams (on the day after what would have been his 83rd birthday) with spirited versions of “Jambalaya (On the Bayou),” “Hey Good Lookin’,” and “Move It on Over.”

Mickey Raphael, Willie’s longtime harmonica player and right-hand man, sparkled on “Georgia on My Mind,” while Willie dug just a little bit deeper for a nice version of “Bloody Mary Morning.”

He then honored the late Merle Haggard with the duo’s “It’s All Going to Pot” and the late Ray Price with “Heartaches by the Number” before treating the crowd to the “new gospel” number “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” which featured some great background vocals by sons Lukas and Micah.

Nelson then closed the show with a medley of actual gospel tunes “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “I’ll Fly Away.”

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but here’s hoping the Outlaw Music Festival becomes an annual event on Montage Mountain.

Read entire article here. 

Why Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid is unlike any other Music Festival

Monday, September 19th, 2016


photo:  Brian Bruner
by: Thom Duffy

The 31st annual Farm Aid concert, benefiting the nation’s family farmers, rolled into Bristow, Va., on Saturday, Sept. 17, with the organization’s guiding foursome – Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews – joined during the day-long festival at the Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater by Alabama Shakes, Sturgill Simpson, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Margo Price and others.

Also sharing the bill: Jamey Johnson, accompanied by Alison Krauss; Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real; Insects vs Roberts (featuring Micah Nelson); Ian Mellencamp (the nephew of John Mellencamp); the Wisdom Indian Dancers, and Star Swain.  Swain opened with her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Her impromptu performance of the anthem at the Lincoln Memorial in June became a viral video, leading to her appearance at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

Saturday’s high-spirited show was an 11-hour celebration of American roots music – rock, country, folk, soul and R&B. It was carried live at and on the SiriusXM channel Willie’s Roadhouse. The back-to-back triple play of the hottest acts on this year’s bill – Rateliff, Simpson and Alabama Shakes – lent a strong blues and soul feel to the day.

As in previous years, Farm Aid 2016 was like no other festival you’ve ever seen. Here are 10 reasons why.

1. Farm Aid’s headliner is 83 years old – but you’d never know it.

It’s funny how time slips away. Willie Nelson turned 83 on April 29. To put that in perspective, consider that the oldest superstar headliner at the Desert Trip festival – dubbed “Old Chella” and taking place in Coachella, Calif., in October – is Bob Dylan, who is a mere 75. Nelson opened the afternoon set with his traditional singing of “The Lord’s Prayer” and closed the show after 11 p.m. with an all-star finale. From his nimble guitar solos on “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” (played on his battered six-string nicknamed Trigger) to his vocal romp through “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” Nelson never sounded better.

2. This is the nation’s longest-running concert for a cause.

“This is number 31,” said Nelson. First staged on Sept. 22, 1985 in Champaign, Ill., in response to that era’s farm foreclosure crisis (and inspired by a remark made by Bob Dylan two months earlier during the Live Aid benefit for Africa famine relief), Farm Aid hasn’t stopped. The organization has raised more than $50 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. While the annual concert draws the headlines, Farm Aid has a staff that works year-round to keep family farmers on their land, promote the Good Food movement and help shape government food policy. John Mellencamp said he recently was asked, “Farm Aid, you guys still doing that?” He replied, “You still eating?”

3. Farmers themselves are the opening act.

At an onstage press conference before the music began, farming activists from the region shared the spotlight with the musicians. Organizers of Appalachian Harvest described their efforts to build a family-farm-based economy as an alternative to tobacco and coal industries. A nurse practitioner from Charlottesville, Va., described how connecting patients to food from family farmers through the community group Local Food Hub helped battle diabetes and other health crises. Activists with Dreaming Out Loud in Washington, D.C. described how urban farms had become a tool for community organizing. Said Neil Young: “These people are the heroes. These people are warriors for tomorrow. This revolution starts with us. Try to make sure when you buy your food, you support the people who are growing it.”

4. Farm Aid moves to a new state every year – with a purpose.

Unlike destination festivals staged on established sites, Farm Aid takes place in a different region every year, allowing the organization to connect with farmers nationwide. The Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater, which most recently hosted Farm Aid in 2000, is some 40 miles west of Washington., D.C. The week before the concert, Farm Aid-affiliated groups teamed up with the National Farmers Union to fly in 275 farm families to the nation’s capital to press for emergency aid amid a new farming crisis of falling income and rising costs. “We know that they are hurting,” says Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar. “They have been left behind by their elected officials often and exploited by corporations who have so much power over their markets.”

5. For Farm Aid performers, this cause is personal.

Dave Matthews described a recent encounter with the neighbor of a North Dakota farmer, who became sick with cancer. “Then Farm Aid came in and took care of him” with financial help, Matthews was told. Margo Price, whose debut solo album is titled Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, remembered when her father lost their family farm in Illinois, during the same foreclosure crisis of the `80s that led Nelson to launch Farm Aid. Jamey Johnson spoke of his realization that “the more time I spend in my grocery store looking for food from family farms, the less time I spend in my doctor’s office.” Nathaniel Rateliff, a native of Missouri, says he was very aware of Farm Aid from its start. “Everybody was losing their farm in our region when I was a kid.  Even up until 1997, I was working in a plastics factory with [Night Sweats bassist] Joseph Pope and there was an old man working with us, who had been a pig farmer. He said, `I’ll butcher and give you a pig for $80.’ The factory farms had overproduced so much pork that they’d driven the price down” and he lost his farm.

6. Pictures of pigs, potatoes and poultry.

And kale, tomatoes, tractors, silos, barns, windmills and more.  Among the most striking aspects of Farm Aid’s production is the spectacular farm-centered photography projected both behind the performers and on video screens.  The images this year, which powerfully complemented the performances, were the work of photographers Patty O’Brien, Molly M. Peterson, Lise Metzger and Sabine Carey.

7. The food at Farm Aid is Homegrown – with a capital H.

Homegrown Concessions  – a registered trademark of Farm Aid – “is the way in which everybody who goes to a concert can eat healthy great food from family farmers,” says Farm Aid associate director Glenda Yoder. “This is our tenth year of doing this.  And we make it a deal point [with the venues] that all the food on the property comes from a family farm, is produced to an ecological standard, with a fair price to the producer.” A choice menu item: the pasture-raised pork chop sandwich from Missouri’s Patchwork Family Farms cooperative has been a staple at Farm Aid since 1999.

8. Homegrown Village makes Farm Aid feel like a revival meeting.

Longtime fans of Farm Aid come for more than the music. The event is an impassioned gathering for activists involved in environmental and social justice issues, as well as farming. At Homegrown Village, an assembly of tents to the side of the amphitheater, more than 35 exhibitors discussed issues and offered farming skill sessions. Among the organizations on site this year: Food and Water Watch, the American Farmland Trust, the National Young Farmers Coalition and the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

9. The community of Farm Aid musicians is a powerful thing.

Performers at Farm Aid donate their time and travel expenses, playing this festival for love, not money. (That helps the organization earn the highest rating from charity watchdog groups.) The affection among the four core activists was clear, for example, when Young embraced Nelson onstage after a duet on “Are There Any More Real Cowboys.” Others, like Jamey Johnson, return to the Farm Aid bill each September to support its cause and share in the community. Nelson’s finale, which flowed from the gospel hymn “I’ll Fly Away” to Hank Williams’ “I Saw The Light,” drew everyone back to the stage for a spirited closing to this year’s show.

10. Willie is always on their minds.

Let a farmer have the last word. Rhonda Perry and her husband Roger Allison, hailing from Howard County, Mo., are co-founders of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center and Patchwork Family Farms, a farming cooperative that Farm Aid funding helped establish. “We’ve been involved with Farm Aid since 1985,” says Perry. She recalled when her husband and Mugar traveled by train from a rally by farmers in Ames, Iowa, to the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Ill. “It was one of the darkest hours that we had seen in generations of farming,” she recalls. “And as the train was going down the tracks, there were farmers on the side of the road, with flags and signs that said, `Willie is our hope.’

 “To be here now, all these years later,” says Perry, “with all this energy around food and around people who care about how their food is raised, it’s incredible.”

Country Singers to Stage ‘Farm Aid’ (Chicago Sun-Times) (Sunday, August 18, 1985)

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016


Chicago Sun-Times
Sunday, August 18, 1985

CHAMPAIGN  – Taking their cue from rock music’s Live Aid concerts for victims of African famine, country singers and other will stage a 12-hour “Farm Aid” concert here next month to help struggling American farmers.

Singer Willie Nelson told a press conference that he will be joined in the September 22 show at Memorial Stadium by Neil Young, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, John Cougar Mellencamp and Bob Dylan.

“What it really amounts to is we are going to call some attention to the farmer’s situation and raise some money and see where this money can be spent,” Nelson said.

The musicians might record a benefit album for farmers to raise money and attract attention to their plight, he said.

“I see no reason why we shouldn’t try and get everything out of this that we can,” Nelson said.

Nelson said he will meet with farm representatives from around the country to discuss how money raised by the concert should be spent.  He said he thought the most immediate use would be feeding farm families.

Nelson said the group has set up a toll-free number to accept contributions:  1-800-FARM-AID.

A group of musicians came up with the idea to hold the concert after the Live Aid concerts in Philadelphia and London raised more thatn $70 million for famine relief in Africa, Nelson said.

When asked if the musicians would compose a song similar to “We Are the World”, which was recorded by dozens of rock and pop singers to promote awareness of hunger in Africa, Nelson said, “I hope someone will come up with one.”

“Farm Aid” Concert on Roll; Bob Dylan, Beach Boys Sign On (Chicago Sun Times) (1985)

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016


[Thanks to Phil Weisman for this Farm Aid clipping.]

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. — Bob Dylan, the Beach boys, Huey Lewis, Billy Joel and more than a dozen other performers were added yesterday to the scheduled lineup for next month’s “Farm Aid” agriculture benefit concert.

About 78,000 tickets were to go on sale at 10 a.m. today for the Sept. 22 concert at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

Organizers said they expect more performers to sign on for the 12-hour show.

“We knew that this would go and go big, but it is going bigger than anybody expected,” said James Skilbeck, an aide to Gov. Thompson.

Thompson proposed the concert earlier this month along with country singer Willie Nelson and rock musician John Cougar Mellancamp.

Organizers say the concert is intended to focus attention on the problems of agriculture and to raise money for needy farmers.

Other “Farm Aid” performers announced yesterday, include rock stars Daryl Hall, Don Henley, Eddie Van Halen, Sammy Hagar and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Blues guitarist B. B. King, singer-songwriters Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman and country musicians including Johnny Rodriguez, John Conlee and Delbert McClinton also were added to the line-up.

Skilbeck said Nelson and Mellencamp were recruiting more musicians for the concert.  He said Bruce Springsteen was was among those contacted, but a firm answer hadn’t been received.

Stars already scheduled include Alabama, Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings, Neil Young, George Jones, the Charlie Daniel’s Band, Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn.

The concert is to be televised live by cable TV’s Nashville Network.

Tickets are priced at $17.50 and a limit of six per person has been established.

Willie Wows 78,000

Monday, September 12th, 2016



[Thanks so much to Phil Weisman, from Illinois, who sent me a copy of the Front Page of the Chicago Sun-Times from Monday, September 23, 1985, the day after the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois.  One of my all time favorite posters now.  I love this ]

Chicago Sun-Times
Willie Wows 78,000
by:  Andrew Herrmann

CHAMPAIGN — Some 78,000 field hands heard the calling of farm distress and lent a hand here yesterday.

And after 14 hours of nonstop country and rock music, the crops of Farm Aid were harvested.

They called it the biggest country-and-rock concert ever, but the music was merely the plow that tilled the minds of Americans to open them to problems of many of the nation’s farmers.

Backer’s hoped to raise some $50 million from the concert, the media coverage and a toll-free hotline set up to take donations.

Willie Nelson, who organized the event, said at midnight that the hotline had generated $5 million.

More than 55 entertainers played from 10 a.m. until past midnight, encompassing a rare blend of country music and rock n’ roll.  And a rare blend of fans, too.

Willie Nelson & Family in Canada (Sept. 8, 2016) (Windsor, Ontario)

Friday, September 9th, 2016


photos:  Nick Brancaccio

Willie Nelson & Family performed Sept. 8, 2016 at Caesars Windsor. One of the most successful singer-songwriter’s in country music history, Nelson’s legendary career has spanned over six decades.

See More photos from the show here.

Willie Nelson & Family at the Washington Pavilion (8/3/2016)

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

by:  Bruce Falk

No more denying it: Our endlessly lingering evenings are gone for the season, and darkness closes in more quickly and authoritatively with each passing day.

Yes, the end of summer has sneaked up on us again despite our repeated refusals to accept such a painful truth. But now it’s Labor Day weekend, and the school year is upon us, and the corn and beans are turning color, so there’s no use in covering our eyes and ears and hiding from the cold, hard fact: Summer’s gone.

But what a beautiful song my summer sang this year, and I mean this literally. A series of concerts that my wife, Julie, and I attended might have been the high point of the season for us.

The cream of the concert crop for me was Willie Nelson’s show Aug. 3 at the Washington Pavilion. I’ve loved Willie for decades, and as a teenager in the 1970s, I wore out my copy of his “Red Headed Stranger” album. He didn’t perform any of the songs from that collection at the Pavilion, but he redeemed himself by doing my personal favorite, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.” Lyrics don’t come much better than “I patched up your broken wing and hung around a while, trying to keep your spirits up and your fever down.”

Yes, Willie gets a lot of credit for being a great songwriter, but as he proved again at the Pavilion, he also is brilliant on the guitar. And here’s the thing: He’s 83. He was born just after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated into office – the first time. But, man, this child of the Great Depression pushed the pace with that guitar as if he were 20.

What could be the reason for his incredible energy at such an age? Clean living? Well, maybe not. But naturally, I like to credit Willie’s longtime pursuit of distance running as his means of cheating Father Time.

In contrast, Gordon Lightfoot’s performance at the Pavilion on June 25 required fans to make allowances for his 77 years of age. His voice didn’t do justice to the brilliant songs he has written over the decades. And maybe I was a little miffed at him for not performing my personal favorite, “That Same Old Obsession.”

The other two concerts Julie and I attended were at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. The first performer there was James Taylor, whose voice was as clear as ever on July 24 as he sang my favorite Taylor hit, “Walking Man.”

Similarly, the Doobie Brothers rocked through “Takin’ It to the Streets” on Aug. 11 as if it were 1976. Julie and I once again were mystified at how musicians who have endured the rocker lifestyle for decades have maintained such youthful energy.

Oh, Dave Mason and Journey performed that night, too, which was nice. But I was there for the Doobies, and they were there for me.

So, yes, summer’s gone, but I’m thankful for a season full of sweet songs to sustain my spirits until it comes back around again.

Willie Nelson & Family at the Stone Pony (9/2/2016)

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

photo by:  Matt Smith
by:  Bobby Olivier

Asbury Park – Unfortunately, every free-wheelin’ country outlaw runs out of gas sooner or later.

Merle Haggard, one of the genre’s original tough-stuff partisans, passed away in April, joining Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings somewhere on that heavenly highway. He was soon followed by fellow desperado Guy Clark, another prolific southern troubadour, who saw the light in May.

Luckily, the gang’s old pal Willie Nelson still hangs here with us, and he’s got plenty left in the tank.


About half of Nelson’s performance was lent to tunes that weren’t solely his, from a rolling Williams medley of “Jambalaya,” “Hey Good Lookin'” and “Move It On Over,” to “It’s All Going to Pot,” his toke-happy duet with Haggard.

But Nelson, 83, never lamented in any discernible way. Instead he was cordial and quick with a smile, urging the crowd to sing the refrains to his Toby Keith collaboration “Beer for My Horses” and classic “On The Road Again.”

Nelson reached for greater notes in more wistful moments, on his set staple “Always On My Mind,” and fresher cover “Georgia On My Mind.” Nothing from his most recent recording “Summertime – Willie Nelson sings Gershwin” or upcoming release “For the Good Time – A Tribute to Ray Price,” due out Sept. 19, was played this night.

Nelson was most impressive when he stepped away from the microphone, to pick and strum his old friend Trigger. It’s a marvel that in his six-piece band, Nelson is the lone guitarist, and he took lead for several bright, twanging solos, on “Night Life” and Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night.”


photo:  Matt Smith

The audience, whose age ranged a good seven decades, were elated just to see Nelson at all, gushing every time he tossed one of his red bandanas in the crowd. Fans filled the parking lots and boardwalk outside the Summer Stage, just to hear one of the longest-running acts in popular music. Really, who else this side of Tony Bennett is still drawing thousands into his octogenarian years?

“It’s been a long, long time,” Nelson told the Asbury Park crowd. “… how am I doin’?”

Fine, Willie. Just fine.


  • “Whiskey River”
  • “Still Is Still Moving to Me”
  • “Beer for My Horses” (Toby Keith cover)
  • “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” (Ed Bruce cover)
  • “Good Hearted Woman” (Waylon Jennings cover)
  • “Funny How Time Slips Away” / “Crazy” / “Night Life”
  • “Down Yonder”
  • “Me and Paul”
  • “Bloody Mary Morning”
  • “It’s All Going to Pot”
  • “Help Me Make It Through The Night”
  • “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” / “Hey Good Lookin'” / “Move It On Over” (Hank Williams cover)
  • “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground”
  • “On the Road Again”
  • “Always on My Mind” (Brenda Lee cover)
  • “Georgia on a Fast Train” (Billy Joe Shaver cover)
  • “Georgia on My Mind” (Hoagy Carmichael cover)
  • “Somewhere Between”
  • “Shoeshine Man” (Tom T. Hall cover)
  • “Nuages” (Django Reinhardt cover)
  • “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die”
  • “Living in the Promiseland”
  • “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” / “I’ll Fly Away”


Read the entire article and See more great photos here.  

Farm Aid Blossoms (September 22, 1985)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016


Chicago Sun Times
Monday, September 23, 1985

About 78,000 people jammed Memorial Stadium yesterday for the Farm Aid concert.  The stage used for the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia was used in Champaign.

Thanks so much to Phil Weisman, of Illinois, for kindly sharing his collection of newspaper clippings and newspapers about Farm Aid throughout the year.  What a great collection he has!

About Willie Nelson

Monday, August 29th, 2016

by: Kellie Lambert

Willie Nelson is 83 years old. And the octogenarian is like no other musician before or after him.

Here are 10 things you may not know, or remember, about Nelson, who will showcase six decades in the music business when he takes the stage at College Street Music Hall in New Haven on Saturday.


With long braids, a weathered face and trademark bandanna, the Texan’s trademark look lasted most of his incredibly long career. In 2014, Nelson’s braids were one of 2,000 things auctioned off as part of the late Waylon Jennings’ estate. The braids, fetched $37,000.

The braids were given as a gift to Jennings at a party in 1983 to celebrate his sobriety. The party was hosted by June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash.


In 1990, the Internal Revenue Service claimed Nelson owed several million dollars. To pay off his debt, Nelson released an album in 1992 titled “The IRS Tapes: Who Will Buy My Memories?”

The profits of the double album were given to the IRS. The album, which was originally sold via mail order and later in stores through a deal with Sony Music, earned $3.6 million. An auction of his assets cleared his debt; many fans and friends bought the items and returned them to Nelson.


In 1985, Nelson partnered with Neil Young and John Mellencamp to host the first Farm Aid concert to promote awareness to the loss of family farms in America. The funds raised from the concert would help keep farm families on their land and operating. The first show featured 54 artists.

Since then, Farm Aid has organized 26 concerts, raising more than $43 million to keep family farmers on their own land.

Nelson, along with Mellencamp, also testified on Capitol Hill in 1987 about the farm crisis. Soon after, Congress passed the Agricultural Credit Act saving countless farms from foreclosure.


Nelson, who once claimed he smoked a joint on the roof of White House when Jimmy Carter was president, is a strong advocate for the legalization of marijuana. He has been arrested several times for possession. He’s a member of the advisory board for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

After his arrest for possession of marijuana in 2010, Nelson created the TeaPot party. The party motto was “Tax it, regulate it and legalize it!”


Nelson has celebrated 16 No. 1 songs in his career, seven Grammy Awards and an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was in the supergroup The Highwaymen with Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash.

His 1978 album “Stardust,” a collection of pop standards, was on the country album chart for 10 years. He has appeared on approximately 200 albums and is a prolific songwriter, and even penned the Patsy Cline hit, “Crazy.”

In June, a new album with Merle Haggard titled “Django And Jimmie,” debuted in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Country album chart and at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart.


Nelson has a customized tour bus, called “Honeysuckle Rose,” which runs not on gas, but biodiesel – his own biodiesel, in fact. Nelson owns the brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, known as “Biowillie,” created from soybeans and vegetable oils.


Nelson has several offspring in the music business. Nelson’s sister Bobbie plays piano in his band.

His daughters Paula and Amy are in their own bands. His son Micah is an artist but also performs in a California band called The Reflectacles.

And son Lukas Nelson – who performed a song of his dad’s in a television public service announcement to not litter in Texas – is part of the group Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, which backed Neil Young on his last album.


Nelson made his big-screen acting debut in the 1979 film “The Electric Horseman,” starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. One year later, he starred in the film “Honeysuckle Rose.” He has also appeared in “Wag the Dog,” “Stardust” and others.

He has also been on television in “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “Monk,” “Miami Vice” and “The Rockford Files.”


Nelson has written several books, starting with his first book, “Willie: An Autobiography,” published in 1988.

He continued with “The Facts of Life: And Other Dirty Jokes,” a personal recollection of tour and musical stories from his career and song lyrics, in 2002; “Farm Aid: A Song for America,” celebrating the 20th anniversary in 2005; “The Tao of Willie: A Guide to Happiness In Your Heart,” co-authored with Turk Pipkin, in 2005; “On the Clean Road Again: Biodiesel and the Future of the Family Farm,” in 2007; “A Tale Out of Luck,” in 2008, a fiction book co-authored by Mike Blakely; “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings From the Road,” in 2012; and “It’s a Long Story: My Life,” in 2015.


It’s likely that on Saturday, when Nelson takes the stage at College Street Music Hall, he will perform the tune “On the Road Again,” a live staple.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show, headlined by Willie Nelson & Family. Robert Ellis opens the show. Tickets range from $63 to $175.

The event is all ages. For information, visit

Willie Nelson in the News #WilliesReserve

Sunday, August 28th, 2016


I was just enjoying my morning coffee and the Sunday paper, and there’s Willie Nelson in the Business Section.


Willie’s Reserve

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel at the Broken Spoke, Austin (Feb. 4, 2016)

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

by:  Donna Marie Miller

About 200 very lucky country music fans were treated to a private concert by Willie Nelson, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel February 4th at the famed Broken Spoke; Thursday nights in February will never feel so hot again in Austin, Texas. The founder of Girling Home Health Care Inc. sponsored the city’s biggest private event of the year at its oldest and most beloved honky tonk. Unable to attend her own birthday party due to the onset of sudden illness, Bettie Girling, the widow of the late Robert Girling, watched the party via Skype from her bed at home across town.

Nevertheless, Nelson and Benson sang “Happy Birthday” to Bettie together with all of her invited guests who also enjoyed a barbecue feast and spirited drinks. For about an hour and a half and just inches away from his audience, Nelson sang a hit parade of songs that marked more than 50 years of his professional music career, beginning with the 1961 number one hit, “Hello Walls,” followed by “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” (1975) and “On The Road Again” (1980).

The 82-year-old Red Headed Stranger closed the night with an intimate crowd sing-along on “The Party’s Over,” a song Nelson wrote and Claude Gray first recorded in 1959. All evening Benson accompanied Willie on guitar and backup vocals together with keyboard player Emily Gimble, the daughter of the late Texas Playboy Johnny Gimble. Other Asleep at the Wheel members included fiddler Katie Shore, steel player Eddie Rivers, mandolin and fiddle player Dennis Ludicker and David Sanger on drums.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his wife, Cecilia, also made a brief appearance together at the celebration, flanked by several Travis County deputies. Dozens of other local celebrities, including writer/actor/filmmaker Turk Pipkin sat on the dance floor to take photos up close and personal. Closing time came early– 10 o’clock– at the red, rustic and barn-like Broken Spoke, a 51-year-old icon that has withstood the test of time and new development along a one-mile stretch of South Lamar. Its 76-years young founders, James and Annetta White, both waved goodbye from the porch as dust settled in the Broken Spoke’s dirt parking lot and Nelson’s tour bus left for a Feb. 9 appearance in Charlotte, N.C. at The Fillmore.

Willie Nelson to help honor Kris Kristofferson at his induction into 2016 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Induction

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

photo:  Rick Diamond
by:  Lorie Liebig

Some of the biggest names in music have been selected as presenters for the upcoming 2016 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Mavis Staples will officially present the honors to this year’s inductees.

Nelson and Crowell will recognize their longtime friend and musical comrade Kris Kristofferson during the event.  B.B. King will be inducted by  ZZ Top vocalist Billy Gibbons, while Bonnie Raitt will be presented with her official Hall of Fame title by acclaimed blues singer Mavis Staples.

The ceremony will also feature a series of musical tributes by the presenters in honor of each individual honoree. Acclaimed rock guitarist Gary Clark Jr. and blues artist Taj Mahal are among the special guests who will join in on these performances.

The 2016 ACL Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Oct. 12 at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Although the event is currently sold out, fans can watch highlights from the show during a special episode of Austin City Limits, which will air on PBS this New Year’s Eve. You can find more info on the event here.