Archive for the ‘Picnic’ Category

Willie Nelson on the 4th of July in Austin (2017)

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Thank you, Janis from Texas, for once again treating us with her great pictures from a Willie Nelson and Family Picnic.

 

Willie Nelson’s Summer Tour 2017

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Thanks, Janis, for photo of the 2017 Willie Nelson’s Picnic Shirt, with the band’s summer schedule on the back.

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me (when I die)”

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic 2017

Friday, July 7th, 2017

photo:  Rick Kern

Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic 2017: 10 Best Things We Saw

From Margo Price’s gutsy set to the host’s virile show-closing performance

www.Rollingstone.com
by:  Jeff Gage

Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July picnic is a far cry today from its outlaw roots. Once a communal country-hippie party in central Texas, today it’s a slick corporate affair that takes place at the state-of-the-art Circuit of the Americas racetrack outside Austin. Yet, as the 44th installment of the picnic unfurled on the country’s most patriotic holiday, it felt refreshingly in touch with those roots. Nelson, never one to shy away from an opportunity to jam, rolled out plenty of old friends and a number of his family members as he celebrated America’s birthday like only he knows how, fireworks show and all. With 17 acts playing over 12 hours on two stages, these were the 10 best things we saw.

Lukas Nelson

Rick Kern/WireImage

Trying to carve out your own music career as the child of an icon like Willie Nelson is one of the toughest gigs in the business, but Lukas Nelson is used to it. Playing a few hours after his second cousin, Raelyn Nelson, Lukas and his band, Promise of the Real, sounded like a chip off the old block, with the pretty “Forget About Georgia” – a response to one of his dad’s most famous recordings that included an Allman Brothers-worthy coda – proving a midday highlight. But Lukas really starred during his old man’s set, when he stepped up to sing and play a fiery rendition of “Texas Flood.”

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Rick Kern/WireImage

Early in the day, the picnic featured a series of old outlaws and Texas mainstays, including David Allan Coe (the first set of the day), Billy Joe Shaver and Johnny Bush, all on the smaller Honor Flight Grand Plaza Stage. Ray Wylie Hubbard, the first performer on the main pavilion stage in the 360 Amphitheater, was the perfect bridge to the past, with his ominous, loping back beats, off-beat banter, and the stellar guitar work of his son, Lucas. And, of course, there was his “long-haired cosmic cowboy” anthem, “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother.” “This ain’t exactly ‘Kumbaya,'” Hubbard told the crowd, “but looking at y’all, it seems more appropriate.”

Sheryl Crow

Gary Miller/GettyImages

The picture of pop-star polish, Sheryl Crow and her band put on a masterful performance, with Crow herself taking turns at guitar, bass and harmonica. Early hits like “Strong Enough” and “If It Makes You Happy” were easy crowd-pleasers, while songs off her latest album Be Myself proved the singer-songwriter is making some of her best work yet. Crow, sporting a T-shirt adorned with an image of the host, also created one of the highlights of the night when she brought out Willie and Lukas Nelson – with whom she’s touring this summer on the Outlaw Music Festival ­– to pay tribute to Gregg Allman with a cover of “Midnight Rider,” a song she’s been known to slip into her sets in the past.

Margo Price

Gary Miller/GettyImages

During the daylight hours, no one’s singing came close to matching that of Margo Price. Following Carll on the pavilion stage, the Illinois native – who’s had a breakout year since she played the picnic last year – gave the gutsiest performance of the day, her vocals a cross between a twangy coo and a siren wail, reverberating around the amphitheater no matter the intensity. Her band, including husband Jeremy Ivey on harmonica, never missed a beat, especially on a rollicking cover of “Me and Bobby McGee” that Price kicked off with an a cappella intro that was downright spine-tingling.

Steve Earle & the Dukes

Gary Miller/GettyImages

“Fixin’ to die, reckon I’ll be going to hell,” Steve Earle snarled as the sun began to set behind him, the final set on the smaller Honor Flight stage. No one else rocked like Earle and the Dukes. Really, only one other group, the delightfully eccentric Insects Vs. Robots featuring Lukas Nelson’s brother, Micah, rocked at all, but Earle was in particularly fine form. Angry and defiant in song, he virtually spat the words out, but was loose and engaging in between. While some of the classics were present (“Copperhead Road”), it was songs like “Fixin’ to Die” from his newly released LP, So You Wanna Be an Outlaw, that really stirred.

Turnpike Troubadours

Turnpike Troubadours
Rick Kern/WireImage

References to Independence Day were inevitable at Circuit of the Americas, but they proved relatively few and far between besides the occasional stage banter. That was just as well, seeing how Turnpike Troubadours nailed it with a storming version of “The Bird Hunters.” That song was the finale of an amped-up set from the Oklahoma natives, who turned the Red Dirt up to 11 and never backed off with their flurry of fiddle, accordion and banjo. Singer Evan Felker pointed out that it was the Troubadours’ first picnic, which he followed up by shredding his way through “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead” on acoustic guitar.

photo:  Gary Miller

Kacey Musgraves

The best set of the day arguably belonged to Kacey Musgraves. Pitch perfect, sweet and salty, the Golden, Texas, native hit all the right notes between girl-next-door charm and trailer park sass. She swooned one minute (“Late to the Party”) and got sentimental the next (“Family Is Family”), striking the perfect love-’em-and-hate-’em balance that family is liable to evoke on any holiday. Best of all was Musgraves’ touching new “Butterflies,” which she admitted was one of many new love songs she’s written. “I went and got happy,” she told the crowd. “Sorry, not sorry.”

Sorry, not sorry.”

Jamey Johnson

Rick Kern/WireImage

The Troubadours may have done well by the Fourth of July, but Jamey Johnson took poignant patriotism to the next level with a particularly emotional set. His cover of “This Land Is Your Land” was a tearjerker that gave Margo Price a run for her money in the vocal department, a fact that was appropriate given that the pair – who’ve been on the road together recently – then collaborated on the Band’s “It Makes No Difference.” But theirs wasn’t even the best duet of the set. That honor went to Johnson’s rendition of his sole hit “In Color,” which saw the Alabama native joined by two little girls – his daughter Kylee and her best friend Alyssa Greene – who got a standing ovation.

Hayes Carll

Hayes Carll
Gary Miller/GettyImages

The 100-degree heat hadn’t begun to break yet by the time Hayes Carll played on the pavilion stage, where there were zero options to hide from the sun. As such, there was something particularly welcome about the Austin native’s off-kilter sense of humor, which added a delirious edge to the afternoon. At one point, Carll reminisced about playing Nelson’s picnic 15 years ago, alleging that he’d been booked to play a half hour before doors even opened. The real highlight, however, was his charming duet with pianist Emily Gimble on “Another Like You,” in which the pair gave each other as good as they got.

Willie Nelson

Rick Kern/WireImage

For all the ink that’s been spilled in 2017 contemplating Willie Nelson’s health, the Red Headed Stranger was at home and in his element as he closed out his 44th picnic on Tuesday. You’re not liable to catch a better set from the 84-year-old this year, who smiled and laughed and cranked from one song to the next with nary a pause. Backed up by sons Lukas and Micah, and Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson, he paid tribute to Waylon and Merle and had an all-star sing-along during “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” Most importantly, Trigger was turned up high in the mix, the Lefty to Nelson’s Pancho, there to help him close out another trip around the sun for the U.S.A. on their own terms.

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic, the gospel set

Friday, July 7th, 2017

It’s always exciting when Willie Nelson invites family and friends back on stage at the end of his show to sing gospel songs.  Thanks, Janis from Texas for sharing the moment with your pictures.  Looks like fun!

 

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic at Austin360 Amphitheater

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic presented by Budweiser at Austin360 Amphitheater

Posted by Austin360 Amphitheater on Thursday, July 6, 2017

David Alan Coe at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic, photos by Gary Miller

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

See more of Gary Miller’s Great Photos here.

Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Jamey Johnson at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Thank you Janis Tillerson, for sharing these great photos of Jamey Johnson and his daughter at Willie’s picnic.  Here’s Jamey with Margo Price.

At the 2013 Picnic, Willie delighted Jamey’s daughter when he put a bandanna on her head.

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Jamey Johnson’s daughter joined her dad on stage for a few songs during his set in Fort Worth at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic in 2013, and again for the gospel set at end of show.

She watched Willie taking bandannas from his amp, putting them on, then tossing them to the fans. At one point, when he tossed a bandanna, she ran and grabbed a bandanna and ran up to the edge of the stage where Willie was, and handed him the bandanna to put on. I was so sweet. Then, after that one got tossed, Willie grabbed one and put it on her head, and you can see how much she enjoyed it.

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David Allan Coe watches as she ties it on.

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Willie Nelson, American Treasure

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Great Catch, Nathan

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Willie’s Annual 4th of July Picnic

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Willie Nelson’s Picnic

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

www.wideopencountry.com
by  Bobbie Jean Sawyer

July 4th in Texas is practically synonymous with Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic. The event has been a part of Texas culture – on and off – for over 40 years. But beyond being a great party with some of country music’s greatest icons, the picnic helped give birth to the outlaw country movement that changed Texas and country music forever.

In honor of the 44th edition of the famous picnic, take a look back at Texas’ biggest party and how it all came together.

The Family Reunion

In 1972, Willie Nelson was fresh from Nashville. He had been spending time in his home state after his Tennessee home was destroyed in a fire. He had grown tired of Nashville suits overproducing his records and was eager to start over far from Music City. Then he heard about a gig in Dripping Springs.

The site was Hurlbut Ranch, an unassuming plot of land along Hwy. 290 just west of Dripping Springs. Dallas promoters had their heart set on creating a “Hillbilly Woodstock,” investing $250,000 into the event. It was called the Dripping Springs Reunion.

While the reunion is now remembered for its gathering of hippies and rednecks converged in the Texas Hill Country to see Waylon, Willie and the rest of the redneck rock brigade, the actual lineup was far more conservative. The reunion assembled country legends like Earl Scruggs, Tom T. Hall, Tex Ritter and Roy Acuff.

Missing from the list of names on the much touted lineup? Willie Nelson. Even though he was one of the most sought after songwriters in Nashville, Nelson hadn’t earned top billing just yet (at least in the eyes of the promoters). The long-haired Red Headed Stranger we now know and love was still sporting short hair and a golf cap.

‘Hillbilly Woodstock’

Both the promoters and national media expected the Dripping Springs Reunion to have a massive turnout. (Rolling Stone even sent Annie Leibovitz to snap photos of the event.) But in terms of attendance, the reunion was kind of a bust. Organizers expected 60,000 people a day. Between 7,000 and 10,000 showed up at the reunion, which ran from March 17 through the 19th.

But the Dripping Springs Reunion is remembered because of what it inspired. It further proved that country music wasn’t as straitlaced as Music Row assumed. It showed that there was a hunger for country songs that Nashville wasn’t offering.

One of those songs was by a young songwriter named Billy Joe Shaver. When Waylon Jennings heard Shaver sing “Willie the Wandering Gyspy and Me” backstage at the reunion, he knew on the spot that he’d record the song.

And when clean cut Willie was hanging out backstage with his friends, watching guitars being passed around and listening to songs sung, he realized he didn’t need to be in Nashville to make the music he wanted to make. In fact, he needed Texas.

The Inaugural Picnic

In the months following the reunion, Willie Nelson’s star continued to grow in Texas and beyond. Gigs at progressive country hubs like the Armadillo World Headquarters had made him the face of Austin’s growing music scene. He was free to do whatever he wanted. And what Willie wanted was to throw a massive 4th of July celebration in the Texas Hill Country with all of his closest friends.

Nelson decided the same Dripping Springs ranch should be the site for the inaugural 4th of July Picnic. Inspiration struck Willie in early summer of 1973, which only left a weeks to organize the massive event. Incredibly, Willie’s crew pulled it off and 40,000 people attended the one-day event.

The lineup included Waylon Jennings, John Prine, Tom T. Hall, Doug Sahm and Kris Kristofferson.

The video below shows a performance by Waylon Jennings and Leon Russell during an early 4th of July Picnic.

A Brief History of the Traveling Picnic

Despite being a Texas tradition, Willie’s picnic hasn’t really stayed in one spot for long. Here’s a rundown of some of the notable venues that have hosted the celebration.

College Station

In 1974, the picnic moved to College Station at the Texas World Speedway. The event is especially notable for the parking lot fire that broke out, destroying a young Robert Earl Keen’s car. (The car going up in flames is on the album cover for Keen’s album Picnic.)

Liberty Hill

The picnic was held in Liberty Hill in 1975. Apparently, several attendees messed with Texas, leaving litter scattered across the grounds. Willie was fined $1,000 for violating the Texas Mass Gatherings Act.

Gonzales

The 1976 picnic in Gonzales is one of the largest in history, with more than 80,000 people in attendance. Unfortunately, the three-day festival was racked with controversy. More than 140 people were arrested and several assaults were reported. Willie was even sued by a couple of the injured attendees. Perhaps due to the Gonzales fiasco, Willie moved the picnic outside of Texas for the next couple of years.

Luckenbach

After the picnic bounced around sites from Tulsa to Kansas City to Willie’s own Pedernales Country Club, the event found a new home in Luckenbach from 1995 through 1999. In ’96, Waylon Jennings made his only trip to the small town he helped make famous.

The Family Reunion

In 1972, Willie Nelson was fresh from Nashville. He had been spending time in his home state after his Tennessee home was destroyed in a fire. He had grown tired of Nashville suits overproducing his records and was eager to start over far from Music City. Then he heard about a gig in Dripping Springs.

The site was Hurlbut Ranch, an unassuming plot of land along Hwy. 290 just west of Dripping Springs. Dallas promoters had their heart set on creating a “Hillbilly Woodstock,” investing $250,000 into the event. It was called the Dripping Springs Reunion.

While the reunion is now remembered for its gathering of hippies and rednecks converged in the Texas Hill Country to see Waylon, Willie and the rest of the redneck rock brigade, the actual lineup was far more conservative. The reunion assembled country legends like Earl Scruggs, Tom T. Hall, Tex Ritter and Roy Acuff.

Missing from the list of names on the much touted lineup? Willie Nelson. Even though he was one of the most sought after songwriters in Nashville, Nelson hadn’t earned top billing just yet (at least in the eyes of the promoters). The long-haired Red Headed Stranger we now know and love was still sporting short hair and a golf cap.

‘Hillbilly Woodstock’

Both the promoters and national media expected the Dripping Springs Reunion to have a massive turnout. (Rolling Stone even sent Annie Leibovitz to snap photos of the event.) But in terms of attendance, the reunion was kind of a bust. Organizers expected 60,000 people a day. Between 7,000 and 10,000 showed up at the reunion, which ran from March 17 through the 19th.

But the Dripping Springs Reunion is remembered because of what it inspired. It further proved that country music wasn’t as straitlaced as Music Row assumed. It showed that there was a hunger for country songs that Nashville wasn’t offering.

One of those

Spicewood

In 2003, the picnic was held at Two River Canyon outside Spicewood, Texas. The event was a success, but a massive traffic jam on Texas 71 caused by concert goers was a deal breaker for several would-be attendants.

Billy Bob’s Texas

In 2004, Willie moved the party to to the Fort Worth Stockyards behind Billy Bob’s Texas. Finally, there was real air conditioning just a few feet away– a novelty for the picnic. The large condensed crowd was a challenge for downtown Fort Worth but the picnic came back to the Stockyards for two more years.

Austin 360 Amphitheater

For the last couple of years, the 360 Amphitheater has been the home of Willie’s 4th of July Picnic.

This year’s lineup features Margo Price, Kacey Musgraves, Steve Earle, Jamey Johnson, Turnpike Troubadours, Asleep at the Wheel, among several others. Like always, they’re all renegade artists who play by their own rules. No matter where the picnic is held, the independent spirit will always live on.

 

Willie Nelson celebrates the 4th with fans in Austin

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

www.kxan.com

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a Central Texas tradition like no other – Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic!

The 44th edition of the event was held Tuesday at the Circuit of the Americas, marking the third year for the celebration out at the track.

Several fans KXAN spoke with said the event is an annual must-do for them. “Well, Willie is America, you know?” said fan Laura Benedict. “God bless Willie. Willie is the representation – I remember him back in the Farm Aid days. I remember all of that. He’s worked really hard. That’s the heart of America.”

Special guests at this year’s event include Sheryl Crow, Kacey Musgraves and Billy Joe Shaver.

Enjoy Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic Broadcast Live on Sirius/XM Radio TODAY!

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017