Archive for the ‘Photographs’ Category
Thanks to filmmaker, photographer, Andrew Shapter, for sharing another of his amazing photos of Willie Nelson, from Luck, Texas.
Thanks, Katie Perrin, for photo from the House of Blues.
photo: Chris Granger
Willie Nelson enchants a sold-out New Orleans crowd Sunday
by: Chelsea Brasted
Just before showtime at the House of Blues in New Orleans on Sunday (Jan. 8), white lights came on at stage left as an 83-year-old man with long braided pigtails and a black, long-sleeved puffer jacket was escorted to a seat just in the wings.
He folded his legs over each other and waited patiently as the crew made final adjustments until, slowly, he stood and his jacket was removed. Music started, and the man found his way to the guitar at centerstage.
With hands as mottled and as marked by time finally on the near-mythical instrument he calls Trigger, Willie Nelson came to life.
For just a little more than an hour, Nelson smiled and sang and strummed that guitar with the kind of loving comfort that can only come with decades of familiarity. The songs, too, were familiar to the jovial, honky tonk-like, sold-out crowd of chattering, beer-raising fans who lent help as a motley chorus.
photo: Chris Granger
With a life spent writing, pioneering and playing music, Nelson’s appeal is as much about his role as a country music patriarch as it is about the novelty of seeing the charismatic, reefer mad octogenarian friend of Snoop Dogg. Just weeks ago, Dolly Parton, who reigns as the charming queen of country came to New Orleans for a stop at the Smoothie King Center, where she held court for more than two hours, telling stories and swapping bedazzled instruments in and out of her hands.
Not so with Nelson.
From the moment he wrapped his red, white and blue macrame guitar strap around his frame, Nelson didn’t bother with the stories. He instead let his music do the talking, and he and Trigger offered one blues-tinged solo after another, filling the space between “Whiskey River” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.” Nelson was joined in the effort by his touring band, known as the Family: Bobbie Nelson, Paul English, Billy English, Kevin Smith and harmonica player Mickey Raphael, who performed in New Orleans at in May 2016 as part of Chris Stapleton’s band.
Nelson eventually traded his bent-rim cowboy hat for the first of several red bandanas, each folded identically in a stack near his hip. He’d slip one over his braids, then tear it off after mere moments to toss to the first row or two with a smile and a blown kiss.
From the moment they set foot onstage, Nelson and his Family barely stopped, allowing nearly ever song to melt into the next. With Nelson leading charge with what’s now his nearly speaking-voice way of singing, they strolled into “If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time,” Waylon Jennings’ “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” and Billy Joe Shaver’s “I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train.” Fans hollered and clapped and cheered and occasionally held the final vowel on Nelson’s first name as they did so, leaving him to smile some more.
In a fit-for-TV finale, Nelson welcomed openers Runaway June to add their harmonies to “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and the closing lines of “I’ll Fly Away,” which is exactly what he did.
Nelson placed Trigger back in its space, gave his final waves, blew kisses and threw bandanas before finding his way back to the darkness of the wings, to the warmth of his jacket and the satisfaction of a show well played.
photo: Andrew Nelles
by: Juli Thanki
Only Willie Nelson could announce “This is a gospel song for y’all,” then start singing “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”
For most of his 83 years, the fiercely independent Nelson has done things his way, and there’s certainly no reason to stop now.
For 75 minutes on Saturday night, the legendary country singer, who has penned some of the most enduring songs in American music history, delivered one classic after another in rapid succession onstage at the War Memorial Auditorium: “Angel Flying to Close to the Ground” followed by “On the Road Again” and “Crazy” followed by “Night Life.”
The Red Headed Stranger wasn’t much for onstage banter. When he did talk, it was short and straightforward. Introducing drummer Paul English, Nelson explained, “I wrote a song about me and Paul. I called it ‘Me and Paul.’ “
Throughout the set, Nelson and his band the Family (which included sister Bobbie Nelson and longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael) saluted his friends, the late Waylon Jennings (“Good Hearted Woman”) and Merle Haggard (“It’s All Going to Pot”), as well as his heroes. He expertly covered Django Reinhardt’s “Nuages,” and delivered a toe-tapping Hank Williams medley that included “Move It on Over,” “Hey, Good Lookin’” and “Jambalaya.”
His creased and crinkled hands can still coax remarkable solos from his trusty guitar Trigger. The audience, which seemed to range in age from 18 to 80, cheered every guitar solo, hooted when he flung away his black cowboy hat and traded it for his trademark red bandanna, and sang along to every word of his set. Nelson will turn 84 this year, and even though he’s slowed down a bit over the years, few performers can captivate a crowd like he does.
“Theresa Haggard and I had a wonderful New Years Eve night with you. We both thank you for loving our men — and us too… you da bomb…” — Catherine Allen-Powers
Three days of peace, love and music with Willie Nelson and his cool friends at the end of the year in AustinTuesday, January 3rd, 2017
photo: Gary A. Miller
It was another love fest in Austin with Willie Nelson & Family at his Three Night New Year’s Eve Celebration Extravaganza. There is something so special about ending the year listening to Willie Nelson sing and then start the next year listening to Willie Nelson sing. It erased the craziness that was 2016 and sent us all into 2017 feeling good and hopeful. And he has the coolest friends who want to hang out with him and play.
photo: Gary A. Miller
For the sixth year, ACL has hosted Willie Nelson & Family and Friends to perform at the Moody Theater at 310 Willie Nelson Boulevard in downtown Austin. The ACL Live Moody Theater was completed in 2011, and that December was the first Willie Nelson and Friends New Year’s Eve Celebration. That first year, Ray Price joined Willie Nelson & Family bring in the New Year. Recent years have included Kacey Musgraves, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, with Willie Nelson and Family. Sturgil Simpson opened for the band in 2014. John Stamos has been known to show up and sit in with the band on percussion.
photo: Gary A. Miller
This year, Ryan Bingham performed all three nights before WN&F. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real flew in from shows in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to open the show, and then Lukas came back on stage after Ryan Bingham’s set, to play with WN&F. Ray Benson, of Asleep at the Wheel, joined Willie and the band on Thursday and Friday nights. On New Year’s Eve, as in years past, rock and roll hall of famer and blues guitarist Billy Gibbons played with Willie for a few songs in the opening set, before leaving to go play music at another gig.
Keeping with tradition, at midnight Father Time Texas descended from the ACL Moody Theater ceiling, accompanied by the New Year Baby. Andy Langer served as MC and helped with the countdown to midnight and introducing Willie Nelson. “New York has Anderson Cooper. LA has Ryan Seacrest. We have Willie Nelson. We win! Austin wins!”
Willie Nelson lead us in rowdy version of Aulde Lang Zyne, and then a cake was brought out for Sister Bobbie, who’s birthday is on January 1st, and Willie and the crowd sang happy birthday to her. Then, Willie was off and running with Whiskey River. And the audience loved him, and cheered at all his hits, laughing at his escapades with almost getting busted in Laredo and singing very convincingly that Willie was always on their mind. The last show on New Year’s Eve had the liveliest crowd, and fans stood up for the entire concert, which is what I always like to do.
Willie comes out on stage wearing his black hat, and plays a few songs before he sets his hat on an amp and picks up one of the bandannas, already tied, stacked on top another amp, and puts it on. It is always exciting to hear the crowd cheer when he puts on the bandanna. And then they squeal even louder when he tosses them out to fans in the crowd. I lost count how many bandannas he tossed out over the weekend, six the first night, I know. On New Year’s eve, these two fans were having so much fun dancing and enjoying the music, and Willie tossed them one of his bandannas. Sorry it’s so dark, but I just had my cell phone, no other camera at the shows. If you squint, it isn’t so bad.
(All these blurry cell phone pictures are mine.)
photo: Gary A. Miller
Gary A Miller: “Glad I didn’t do a “favorite shots of 2016″ list yet ’cause this one is on it. Or maybe it’s the first one of 2017, I’ll have to check the time code. For now I’m gonna get some sleep.”