Archive for the ‘Passings’ Category

Guitarist Joey Floyd passes

Monday, February 15th, 2016


We learned that musician Joey Floyd has passed away from complications related to his bout with cancer.

jerry joey2

photos: Jerry Schatzberg

Willie Nelson fans first met Joey when he played the part of Buck Bonham’s son, in the 1980 movie  ‘Honeysuckle Rose’.  Joey went on to form his own band, “El Dorado”.


photo: Barbara Davidson

He was a long time member of Toby Keith’s band, playing guitar, fiddle, banjo.    Joey is  reportedly responsible for initially introducing Toby and Willie.  Toby made the news and paid tribute to Joey on his facebook page.

His band played at Farm Aid in Ames, Iowa in 1993.


Willie Nelson, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, “One More Cowboy”

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Rest in Peace, Dan Hicks, who died on February 6, 2016, at 74.

Dan Hicks, a singer, songwriter and bandleader who attracted a devoted following with music that was defiantly unfashionable, proudly eccentric and foot-tappingly catchy, died Saturday at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He was 74.

The cause was liver cancer, said his wife, Clare.

Hicks began performing with his band, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, in the late 1960s in San Francisco, where psychedelic rock bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead dominated the music sound. The Hot Licks’ sound could not have been more different.

At a time when rock was getting louder and more aggressive, Hicks’ instrumentation — two guitars (Hicks played rhythm), violin and stand-up bass, with two women providing harmony and backup vocals — offered a laid-back, all-acoustic alternative that was a throwback to a simpler time, while his lyrics gave the music a modern, slightly askew edge.

He came to call his music “folk swing,” but that only hinted at the range of influences he synthesized. He drew from the American folk tradition but also from the Gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt, the Western swing of Bob Wills, the harmony vocals of the Andrews Sisters, the raucous humor of Fats Waller and numerous other sources.

“It starts out with kind of a folk music sound,” Hicks explained in a 2007 interview, “and we add a jazz beat and solos and singing. We have the two girls that sing, and jazz violin, and all that, so it’s kind of light in nature, it’s not loud. And it’s sort of, in a way, kind of carefree.”

Songs like “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?,” “Milk-Shakin’ Mama” (“I found the girl who keeps the ice cream/And now it’s I who scream for her”) and “Hell, I’d Go,” about a man whose fondest wish is to be abducted by aliens, displayed his dry and often absurd wit, as did his gently self-mocking stage presence. But he had his serious side, too: “I Scare Myself,” a longtime staple of his repertoire, was a brooding, hypnotic minor-key ballad about being afraid to love.

Hicks’ records never sold in the millions, but at the height of his popularity in the early 1970s, he and his band appeared on network television and headlined at Carnegie Hall, and he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Fellow musicians were among his biggest fans: Guest artists on “Beatin’ the Heat” (2000), the first Hot Licks album after a long hiatus, included Bette Midler, Elvis Costello and Tom Waits, while Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett joined him in the studio four years later for “Selected Shorts.”

Daniel Ivan Hicks was born on Dec. 9, 1941, in Little Rock, Ark., the son of Ivan Hicks, a career military man, and the former Evelyn Kehl. His family moved to Santa Rosa, Calif., near San Francisco, when he was a child.

He took up drums in sixth grade and guitar as a teenager. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in broadcasting, he performed in local folk clubs while also playing drums with dance bands.

From 1965 to 1968, Hicks was the drummer and occasional vocalist with the Charlatans, widely regarded as the first San Francisco psychedelic band, although he himself remembered it as less a band than “just kind of some loose guys.” While still with the Charlatans, he formed the first version of the Hot Licks.

The group’s 1969 album, “Original Recordings,” sold poorly, but three subsequent albums for the independent Blue Thumb label established it as a successful touring act.

Hicks nonetheless disbanded the group in 1973, at the height of its popularity. “It was getting old,” he explained in 1997. “We became less compatible as friends. I was pretty disillusioned, had some money, and didn’t want to do it anymore.”

His career stalled after that, but he returned in the 1980s with a new group, the Acoustic Warriors, which duplicated the Hot Licks instrumentation without the female singers. In the late 1990s, he added two singers and brought back the Hot Licks name.

The band, with frequent changes in personnel, toured regularly and continued to perform occasionally in recent years when Hicks’ health allowed, most recently in December in Napa, Calif.

In addition to his wife, Hicks is survived by a stepdaughter, Sara Wasserman.

“I will always be humble to my dying day,” Hicks, tongue in cheek as usual, said when interviewed in 2013 by Roberta Donnay of the Hot Licks. “On my dying day I will explain to the world how lucky they have been to be alive the same time as me.”

Rest in Peace, Jackie King

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016


Guitarist Jackie King, who toured and recorded with Willie Nelson and Family, passed away on January 24th, following a stroke, and heart attack.  He gave this 2002 interview to the San Antonio Current,  his home town.

Jackie of All Trades

“They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.” — Charlie Parker, as quoted by jazz critic Nat Hentoff in liner notes from Jackie King’s The Gypsy (Indigo Moon)Spend any time at all with virtuoso jazz guitarist Jackie King, and you’ll come to two conclusions: first, that he has an uncanny awareness of the connectedness of all things. Perhaps that’s why a typical year in King’s career will find him touring the world as a member of Willie Nelson’s Family band; putting the finishing touches on Getting Into Jazz, Volume II, a book on guitar instruction (Mel Bay Publications); performing on National Public Radio’s Piano Jazz as a guest of Marian McPartland; working on a trilogy of albums based on celestial themes (Moon Magic on the Indigo Moon label); and sitting with his family at Mr. Gatti’s on the South Side, speaking with me about plans to record an album on the Solitary Confinement label with his son, San Francisco bay area rapper DOBAD, a poet and artist known for his edgy lyrics and free-style chops. “Yeah, jazz and rap have so much in common. Both are uncensored music of the streets. In rap, the voice is used like an instrument. You can hear bebop phrasing. And rap free styling is pure improvisation, just like jazz.”

Then he laughs, which brings us to the second conclusion: he has an uncanny awareness of the humor in all things — perhaps something to do with that connectedness. King is a great storyteller, especially when the joke is on him. He tells of the time when he and Nelson were being honored at the American Indian Exposition in Anadarko, Oklahoma. One participant, an older gentleman, asked King to autograph a dollar bill. He looked at the signature, then at King. “You’re not Willie Nelson?”

King laughed. “Do I look like Willie Nelson?”

The man shrugged. “I don’t know what Willie Nelson looks like.” He then looked at the dollar bill and said, “Oh, well, I guess I can still spend it.”

King roars with laughter.


Growing up in San Antonio, King was introduced to guitar by his father, who played in a Western swing band. He studied with local legend Spud Goodall and began playing professionally at age 12. His teen years found him listening to jazz, transcribing Charlie Parker’s sax solos for guitar, and beginning his life-long friendship with Nelson. In the late ’60s, he moved to San Francisco with his buddy, Doug Sahm, and played with jazz greats such as Chet Baker and Bill Evans. After teaching at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles, he returned to San Antonio and opened the Southwest Guitar Institute, where alumni like blues guitarist Neal Black and pedal-steel player Gib Wharton benefited from his musical philosophy: “Be true to yourself. The motive is the manifestation.” He now divides his time between homes in San Antonio and San Francisco.


Still Missing Bee Spears

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

December 9th marks  anniversary of the date of Bee Spears passing.

DSC_0822 by you.


photo:  Janis Tillerson


photo thanks to Carol Sidoran, 12.9.12

Rest in Peace, Bradley (8.01.1998 – 11.12.2015)

Friday, November 13th, 2015


So sad to hear that Paula Nelson’s dog Bradley has passed away.   He was so sweet.  I got to hang out with him during a couple of Paula and her band’s shows here in Colorado, and fell in love.  He was one of a kind.  He was so protective of Paula.   He would watch her walk up on stage, and watch her entire show.  Her biggest fan, and she was his.

“It breaks my heart to bring this news….I lost my best friend Bradley this morning. He was my everything. Words cannot describe my sadness. But he left this world peacefully and he will always be in my heart and watching over me.

Love you my Bradley

xoxoox Paula


Bradley came to Colorado on every tour, even in the winter. He never complained, either. Paula shopped and made sure he had warm clothes.

bradley4 bradley1

Rest in Peace, Charlie Dick

Sunday, November 8th, 2015


Charlie Dick, husband of Patsy Cline, has passed away.


Charlie with friends, at Tootsies, in Nashville.

Rest in Peace, Buddy Emmons

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Buddy Emmons wrote, “Are You Sure ” together.
by:  Julie Thanki

Pedal steel guitar innovator Buddy Emmons has died at the age of 78. Nicknamed “The Big E” for his height, Mr. Emmons, a member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, played with some of country music’s finest, including Little Jimmy Dickens, Ernest Tubb and Ray Price, and his work forever changed the genre. The number of musicians he influenced over the past half-century is immeasurable.

“Buddy Emmons was truly a musical genius,” says Eddie Stubbs, WSM DJ and “Grand Ole Opry” announcer. “He had an unbelievable gift and was so forward thinking. He was placed here at a pivotal time, when the pedal steel guitar was a relatively new instrument. He took it to another level and expanded (the instrument’s) boundaries.”

Buddy Gene Emmons was born on Jan. 27, 1937, in Mishawka, Ind. His father bought him his first lap steel guitar at the age of 11, and the young boy quickly took to the instrument. Soon his parents noticed his musical aptitude and bought him a triple-neck steel guitar.

At 16, Mr. Emmons dropped out of school, then moved to Detroit to play in Casey Clark’s band. It was in this city that country music star Little Jimmy Dickens discovered him in the summer of 1955; by the July Fourth weekend of that year, Mr. Emmons was making his “Grand Ole Opry” debut as part of Dickens’ backing band, the Country Boys. With Mr. Emmons and guitarists Spider Wilson and Howard Rhoten, the band “reached its zenith,” Stubbs said after Wilson’s death in March.

In 1956, Dickens dissolved his band, and Mr. Emmons found a job as part of Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours. His crying pedal steel licks were an integral element of songs such as Tubb’s 1958 hit single “Half a Mind.”

Not only was Mr. Emmons a stunning musician, he also was a remarkable innovator, and would frequently tinker with his steel guitars, experimenting with different tunings and pioneering the split-pedal setup, which can be heard on “Half a Mind.” Mr. Emmons and musician Shot Jackson formed the Sho-Bud Guitar Co. in 1956. Less than a decade later, he’d leave Sho-Bud and create the Emmons Guitar Co. with Ron Lashley.

Mr. Emmons also was a talented songwriter. He and Willie Nelson co-wrote “Are You Sure”; this song was recently recorded by Kacey Musgraves for her 2015 album, “Pageant Material.” He recorded several solo albums over the course of his career as well. His 1963 release “Steel Guitar Jazz” was the first jazz record featuring pedal steel. He’d later join forces with Ray Pennington to form the Swing Shift Band; they’d release a handful of records together.

He’d return to Nashville in the mid-‘70s and would continue doing session work for some of country music’s top artists through the 1980s and ‘90s, including George Strait, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood and John Anderson. In the late 1980s, he also accepted an offer to tour with the Everly Brothers, and he’d remain with them for 12 years.

Mr. Emmons retired from music after the death of his wife, Peggy, in 2007, whom he had married in 1967.

Remembering Johnny Gimble

Monday, June 8th, 2015


Willie Nelson, Johnny Gimble, Lukas Nelson, Austin

Thanks, Dandy

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

This was from a show at Carl’s Corner, Texas, @WilliesPlace.  Dandy at the table, with someone I don’t know, I’m sorry, and Janis from Texas and me.

Gwyneth “Dandelion” Seese passed away, after a long illness.   Dandy, as many of us fans and friends shortened her name too, was a great friend of Willie Nelson, his family and fans.   Fans, historians, archivists, we all have a lot to thank Dandy for.  Before the internet and Willie Nelson’s websites, and before FaceBook, that’s how we found out tour schedules, heard about new albums coming out, and saw pictures and read stories of other fans. Her “Willie’s World”, published by her and her niece, were anticipated monthly, by fans around the world:




Willie would send her letters to his fans to publish:

Willie Nelson and family posted this on his website:

Gwyneth “Dandalion” Seese passed away yesterday after a long and painful illness. Fellow country disc jockeys, once Willie and Dandalion they met they hit it off right away. She was also a genuine fan of his music, playing his songs regularly on the air.

Dandy became the first official president of the Willie Nelson Fan Club, and remained with the fan club until her death. She kept thousands of fans in touch with Willie Nelson and Family long before social media made it easy. She was old school; writing articles, reading fan mail and caring about the fans. She typed, cut and pasted all the fan club newsletters and faithfully mailed them out to fans for over 30 years.

Dandalion was loved by many who knew her and she will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.


One of my favorite Dandy and Willie Nelson stories is this one she told:

Dandy said that on the day that Selena  (famous Texan, “The Queen of Tejano music,”) got shot in 1995, she got a call from Willie.

“Dandy.  Willie,” he said, very serious.

“Hi Willie, how are ya?,” Dandy said.

“Dandy, how are you and I doing?  We’re doing all right, aren’t we?”

“We’re doin’ fine, Willie.  Why?”

“Well, you’re my fan club president, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Well,  I just heard Selena’s fan club president shot her, so I wanted to see if you and I were doing okay, or if I needed to worry.”


I knew Dandy only through her connection with Willie Nelson & family.  To learn more, read the article by Erik Starck, published in 2009: –>


Thanks for the music, BB King

Friday, May 15th, 2015


Rest in Peace, BB King

Friday, May 15th, 2015

We lost one of the greats. B B King passsed last night, in Las Vegas. He has been off the road from his tour since April, because of illness. He was 89.

Thanks for the music, Johnny Gimble

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Rest in Peace Johnny Gimble.

Rest in Peace, Ira Doyle Nelson, Jr.

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

photo: George Fowler

We received sad news today. Ira Doyle Nelson, Jr., younger brother of Bobbie and Willie Nelson, passed away today, April 15th, 2015, of natural causes.  He was 77 years old.


Doyle spent his life in many transportation related jobs including driving tour busses for folks such as Jon Bon Jovi, Van Halen, John Fogerty and his brother Willie. He spent several years serving transporation needs for the television and film industry.

Doyle was a gentle man, who will be dearly missed.


Doyle is pictured here with Bobbie and Willie Nelson and families.

Bill Arhos, creator of Austin City Limits, passes (1934 – 2015)

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

photo:  Todd V. Wolfson
by: Kevin Curtin

Bill Arhos, the man who built the stage television viewers have experienced Austin music on for over 40 years, died on Saturday afternoon following a long illness. He was 80.

Arhos, a longtime executive at KLRU (formerly KLRN), worked at the public broadcasting station beginning with its local launch in 1961. In the fall of 1974, he created Austin City Limits, whose pilot episode starred Willie Nelson. At the time, a live music show starring hippie musicians from Texas was a left-field concept.

“Back then, stations were education focused and the idea of doing a music show didn’t fit into what public broadcasting could be,” said Terry Lickona, who succeeded Arhos as Austin City Limitsexecutive producer in 1999. “KLRU thought he was crazy.”

Arhos ensured the show’s sustainability by convincing PBS affiliates nationwide to pick up the program and thus fund it year after year. Four decades after the fact, it’s the longest running music show on television. More than simply Arhos’ legacy, it’s Austin’s.

“Bill was a great friend to Austin Music. He loved the music of Texas and created Austin City Limits to showcase it,” says Ray Benson, whose Asleep at the Wheel became ACL’s second taping. “When we met in 1975, I was a young 24-year-old living in South Austin with dozens of other aspiring musicians. Bill recognized the great potential in all of us and created a show that gave us worldwide exposure.”

Lickona describes Arhos, who was from the tiny East Texas town of Teague, as a classic Texan who chewed tobacco, fished, told great stories, and loved country music.

“Bill couldn’t be a guitar-playing country singer, so he lived vicariously through them,” he states.

Arhos’ affinity for Lone Star singer-songwriters like Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt forged Austin City Limits’ identity and remained a guiding creative force throughout his career.

“I couldn’t book a show until he approved,” admits Lickona.

His sense of humor also livened up the workplace. When Austin City Limits archivist (and Chroniclemusic scribe) Michael Toland began working at KLRU 20 years ago in shipping and receiving, Arhos liked to assist with the morning mail call.

“Though he was GM of the station, Bill used to help me put everybody’s mail in the mailboxes,” recalls Toland. “His running joke – and he had a lot of them – was to pick up the envelopes addressed to our development department and say, ‘That’s not a million-dollar check. That’s not a million-dollar check, either.’

“This went on for a couple of years, until I moved up in the organization. I imagine he assisted my successor as well until his retirement.”

That playfulness remained vibrant after his retirement in 1999. When he was inducted into Austin City Limits’ first Hall of Fame class last April alongside Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Darrell Royal, he quipped, “It’s a little intimidating to be in a class of the first inductees [since] three of the four have bronze statues around town!”

“That was a very emotional evening,” Lickona remembers of the April ceremony at Studio 6A, the show’s home before moving downtown to the Moody Theater in 2011. “His health was deteriorating by then and we honestly didn’t know if he would show.”

Two months later, Arhos came to ACL’s new digs for a star-studded 40th anniversary of epic proportions and sat in the front row, no doubt amazed at the cultural phenomenon his creation has become. When Lickona pointed him out, he received a standing ovation.

Bill Arhos will be laid to rest at Texas State Cemetery in a private ceremony. A celebration of his life and influential career is currently being planned. Maybe he’ll even get a bronze statue.

Missing Poodie Locke

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

picture credit:

Still hard to believe, we lost Poodie Locke five years today, and he is still missed, every day.

Mickey Raphael, Mark Rothbaum, Poodie Locke
photo:  Cathy Cunningham




Thanks to Margie Lemon, for sharing this picture she took of Poodie at Farm Aid II, in Austin, in 1986. Margie and her family and business continue to support


DSC_0192 by you.


Poodie and Chris Nelsen. Grand Rapids, Michigan-1982.


Jason Hardison has written a tribute to Poodie Locke that appears in the Summer 2009 Texas Monthly.


Johnny Knoxville posted this at his site

I had a good friend pass away yesterday. Poodie Locke, Willie Nelson’s stage manager for 34 years, died of a heart attack Wednesday in Briarcliff, Texas. I kept this photo of me and him by my bed up until I moved into our new house. He used to laugh and tell people, “Knoxville keeps a picture of me next to his nightstand.” It was true. He was a tequila swiggin’ big, round, bear of a man and he was as sweet as they come. Poodie was just funny as all hell, too, and the best dancer I ever saw. My cousin Roger Alan Wade and I once had him on our radio show, The Big Ass Happy Family Jubilee, and you can listen to that below.

Most memorably, Poodie was never in bad spirits. I mean, don’t get me wrong, ol’ Poodie was usually in the spirits (and I was right there with him), but he was always positive, always smilin’. “Waco Texas’s Prettiest Baby of 1952? was full of good advice, too. One time, he sagely told me, “It’s alright to step on your dick, Knox, just don’t stand on it.” At his restaurant, Poodie’s Hilltop Bar and Grill in Spicewood, Texas, he put a sign up at the door that said, “There are no bad days.” When Poodie was around there sure wasn’t, but now that he’s passed on I think today is going to be kinda rough.

I love you, Poodie. Rest in peace, buddy.