Archive for the ‘Other bloggers’ Category

Another great review for Naked Willie, by Matt Bjorke

Monday, March 16th, 2009


The great reviews for Willie Nelson’s, ‘Naked’ album, due in stores tomorrow, keep coming in.

Here’s one from Matt Bjorke, of, who likes it as much as I do:


“After “Crazy” became a success and Willie had recorded sides for a few Liberty Records albums and even scoring one Top 10 hit, he then moved over to Chet Akins’ RCA Records and while the legendary C.G.P. knew what a talent he had with Willie, he couldn’t figure out that Willie was best left to be an artist of his own devices to record his albums, as he did with 1975’s “Red Headed Stranger.”  From that point forward, labels and fans got Willie and he, along with his Outlaw friends, redefined the way albums were made.  Instead of having a producer tell them what songs and what musicians they could use on the recording, which was standard until “Read Headed Stranger,” artists were now free to record their albums with more input.  It is with this sprit that Willie Nelson’s good friend and band member Mickey Raphael went to work on ‘un-producing’ seventeen tracks from Willie’s 1966-1970 records that were all produced by Chet, Felton Jarvis and Danny Davis in the “Nashville Sound” of lush strings and harmony vocalists.  Instead of that lush sound is a bare bones, classic album that recalls the stuff that Willie got famous.  It’s a less is more approach and it works, very well.

To read the rest of this great review:

Elizabeth McQueen blogs about touring with Willie Nelson

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Elizabeth McQueen, Asleep at the Wheel, photo by Dan Schram

So, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Willie Nelson has a profound effect on people. He’s just got this hella strong positive energy emanating from him, and it makes any one watching him go positively crazy with glee. Hey, it happens to me every night.

I say this because the other night we were able to really witness Willie’s effect on a large crowd. You see, most of our shows have been at large performing arts centers, or cool old theaters. If there is one thing that all these venues have in common, it’s that they all have strict policies to reign in the audience. There is no dancing in the aisles and any rushing of the stage is reserved for the encore. Most places won’t even let you stand up in your seat too long before a burly security guy comes and tells you to sit down. This has more or less kept the crowd wildness to a minimum. Willie does shake hands and sign autographs when he can at the end of the show but during the show things are pretty calm.

And then we played Williamston, NC, population 5200. The venue wasn’t a theater, but rather…well I think it may have been some kind of horse arena type thing. It may host a Rodeo or two and definitely hosts horse shows (is there a name for those? I have no idea). The ground was covered in compact sand, rather than flooring. Seats were set up in front of the stage, and people could also sit in the bleachers on the side. Very different from the other places we’ve played.

Photo by Dan Schram (Thanks, Dan!)

But the real difference between the Williamston venue and the other theaters was the security. It may have been because they knew a bunch of the folks there, or because they’re not full time security guys, or maybe they just didn’t want to deny anyone the Willie experience–whatever the reason, these guys were way lax. They let the crowd run all over them.

And we got to see how Willie fans act when they stop being polite and start being real.

They go wild!

First off, people were up and out of their seats from moment one, taking pictures, trying to catch Willie’s eye, dancing around. There was a little barrier between us and the crowd–a lane created for press photogs. I’m pretty sure without that we would have some attempts at climbing on stage. But people were getting as close as they could.

It was relatively calm at first. But as the show wore on the crowd kept getting more and more amped up. More and more people were out of their seats. Signs were held “we love you Willie!” And “You are on my bucket list”

Then the clothes items throwing started.

The first thing thrown was a hat. I saw the guy do it. He was standing right up at the barrier and seemed poised to leave and let someone else have his spot. Then a wellspring of excitement and happiness just seemed to grab hold of his spirit. He whipped his hat off of his head, let out a whoop of joy, and let fly his hat.

It was followed by a shirt, two more baseball hats and a multicolored striped bra. I think I saw the woman who threw the bra. She was pretty well endowed though, and there was no visible post-bra throwing droopage, which led me to conjecture that she either had on a bra underneath her thrown bra or had brought a bra specifically for throwing.

By the time Willie threw his cowboy hat into the audience the crowd was at near frenzy state. No one was hurt, but man, did people go for that hat.

The bandannas however, almost caused a riot. The first bandanna Willie thew didn’t quite clear the barrier in front of the press lane. Consequently, you had people going both over and under the barrier to get it. One woman who felt the bandanna had been intended for her but wasn’t able get it (she opted for over rather than under) was pissed! She yelled for another bandanna, and when Willie went to throw it, she climbed up on the barrier, stretching her body towards the stage. The poor security guy try to get her down, but she yelled at him, explaining in a not so polite manner that that was her bandanna! And her bandanna it became.

It was an awesome show, both musically and crowd watching wise. We really got to see the full effect of Mr. Nelson. It’s a beautiful thing to watch in all it’s unfettered glory. So often we keep a lid on our joy. We worry about what other people think. We stifle ourselves. But sometimes you get to watch Wilie. And Willie’s vibe is such that you stop the tamping down and start the enjoyment. Especially if there aren’t any security guys there bumming your groove.

You can follow Elizabeth’s stories from the road at her blog:

Willie and the Wheel on the World Wide Web

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Photo via Kevin Smith’s Flickr account:
  Click here to check it out!

Lana Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel and Ruby Jane are  doing a good job of documenting the Willie and the Wheel Tour:

— Lana Nelson has posted lots of great pics from her backstage vantage point at (look under news)

— Ruby Jane has a blog with pictures at has stories and photos

— Elizabeth McQueen and Dave Sanger are telling their story of touring with a new baby at:

— Kevin Smith has dozens of great photos at his flickr account:

Willie Nelson wins in the 9513’s First Annual Country Music Awards

Monday, February 2nd, 2009


The nice folks at, one of my blogs I read regularly, have posted the results of their first annual Country Music Awards, and Willie Nelson received the award for Country Music Artist of the Year.

In 2008 Willie Nelson released an adventurous (if not entirely successful) new album with producer Kenny Chesney (Moment of Forever), collaborated with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis on a full-length album titled Two Men With The Blues, starred with Toby Keith in a movie (Beer For My Horses), co-wrote a Western novel (A Tale Out Of Luck), had a biography (An Epic Life) and a Box Set (One Hell of a Ride) released, and played dozens of shows all around the country.

Not bad for a guy who celebrated his 75th birthday in April.

Nelson edged out Patty Loveless to capture the title of Country Artist of the Year in The 9513’s 1st Annual Country Music Awards, for which ballots were tabulated from three voting blocs: The 9513’s staff, readers who made 50 or more comments in the voting period, and the public at large.

To read the entire article:

Mickey Raphael Bikes, and Blogs, in San Francisco

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Mickey Raphael in San Francisco

 Mickey Raphael has started blogging, and posted this picture at his website at  

To read his blog, visit, and follow the LINK/NEWS link at his site.   Mickey has been part of Willie Nelson and Family for over 30 years, and his site has many great photos taken over the years. 

Also, also at his site, you can listen to and purchase his album:  Hand to Mouth. 



 Mickey Raphael — Harmonica
 Gene Rabbai, Jr. — Keyboards
 Lee Michaels — Accordion
 Ben Keith — Pedal Steel
 Joe Lalo — Percussion
 Billy Ray Austin — Guitar
 Scott Page—Flute, Recorder
 Willie Nelson — Guitar on Trude
 Paul Butterfield — Harmonica Duet on Hand To Mouth

Willie Nelson keeps on rockin in the free world

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Thanks to Baron Lane, who has a music blog I link to here from here, for sending me these pictures from last night’s Willie Nelson and Family Show.  I couldn’t use my big camera up front, so I didn’t get any pictures.  Baron did, and sent them on this a.m.  It was fun to meet a blogger in person, after getting to know them on the internet.

Photo by  Baron Lane

Willie Nelson

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Photo by  Baron Lane

Willie Nelson at the Fillmore (1/17/09)

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Thanks to Baron Lane for this picture.  Baron has a music blog at

Willie Nelson at the Filmore (Day 2)

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Photo by Baron Lane.  Thanks for sharing!