Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

This day in Willie Nelson history, “Dennis Kucinich for President” concert in Austin (January 3, 2004)

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

www.thenation.com
by: John Nichols

Dennis Kucinich still faces an uphill climb in his campaign to win the Democratic presidential nomination. But his anti-Iraq war candidacy has already inspired better music than those of contenders who are garnering far more attention and campaign money. The New Year’s weekend benefit for Kucinich at the Austin Music Hall was one of the finest campaign concerts in recent memory, and the sentiments of the stellar cast of performers was well summed up by singer Bonnie Raitt, who introduced a bluesy version of the Buffalo Springfield hit “For What It’s Worth,” be declaring, “Here’s to free speech. Here’s to fair elections. Here’s to the possibility that Dennis Kucinich could win.”

The Texas concert, which drew a crowd of 4,000 and was expected to raise more than $80,000 for the Kucinich campaign, showcased the success the Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair has had in appealing to some of the country’s most inspired and independent-minded musicians. The candidate who has been endorsed by artists ranging from Pete Seeger to Ani DiFranco brought some of his best-known backers together for a sold-out concert in Austin. Along with Raitt, a pair of younger artists with Texas roots and national reputations, Michelle Shocked and Tish Hinojosa turned in musically and politically charged performances. Tim Reynolds, guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band, played. So too did Pat Simmons and Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, who performed some of that group’s greatest hits before being joined by Raitt for a raucous rendition of “Taking It To The Streets.” The highlight of the Saturday night show came when Kucinich’s most high-profile musician backer, Willie Nelson, took the stage.

Nelson, who has been talking up Kucinich’s candidacy since last summer, says he was attracted to Kucinich first because of the Ohio congressman’s passionate defense of family farmers — a cause close to the heart of the country singer, who has been a core backer of the Farm Aid concerts. But, as he campaigned for Kucinich over the weekend, Nelson picked up on the anti-war message that has been central to Kucinich’s run for the White House.

Nelson used appearances with Kucinich to talk about a new song he wrote on Christmas Day, “Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?”
“(It’s) only the second protest song I’ve ever written,” Nelson said, “but it just came pouring out.” Nelson, who performed his earlier protest song, the anti-war ballad “Jimmy’s Road,” prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, said he was inspired to write the new song by Christmas morning news reports of the ongoing violence in Iraq. “There was nothing but bad news and here it was Christmas Day,” Nelson recalled. “I said, ‘There sure are a lot of babies dying and mothers crying,’ and (Nelson’s wife) Annie said, ‘That sounds like a song.’”

When Nelson sat down to write the song’s words, he pulled no punches. “How much oil is one human life worth?” the lyrics ask. “How much is a liar’s word worth?”

Nelson joins his critique of the war and the president who launched it with a poke at the media, singing, “Now, you probably won’t hear this on your radio/Probably not on your local TV/But if there’s a time, and you’re so inclined/You can always hear it from me.”
Is Nelson, who achieved international fame as a self-described country music “outlaw,” trying to stir things up?

“I hope there is some controversy,” said Nelson, when a reporter asked whether he feared the song’s biting commentary on George W. Bush’s war might stir anger among country music fans who have been cheering for songs like Toby Keith’s angry, war-cry, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” Added Nelson, “If you write something like this and nobody says anything, then you probably haven’t struck a nerve.”

The singer hopes to strike that nerve for Kucinich, whose criticism of the rush to war and its pursuit echo the bluntness of the lyrics to “Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?”

Nelson, who put his arm around Kucinich during several Austin appearances Saturday, says, “I just like him because he tells the truth. Whether he’s electable or not, who knows? But when you’ve got a guy you can trust, you’ve got a good candidate.” And Kucinich, whose campaign is using pictures of Nelson wearing a “Kucinich for President” t-shirt on posters, has a good supporter in the country star.

On Saturday night, just around midnight, Nelson gave Kucinich a rousing endorsement and debuted “Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth,” singing:

There’s so many things going on in the world/Babies dying/Mothers crying/How much oil is one human life worth?/And what ever happened to peace on earth?

We believe everything that they tell us/They’re gonna’ kill us/So we gotta’ kill them first/

But I remember a commandment/

Thou shall not kill/How much is that soldier’s life worth?/And whatever happened to peace on earth?

(Bridge)And the bewildered herd is still believing/Everything we’ve been told from our birth/Hell they won’t lie to me/

Not on my own damn TV/But how much is a liar’s word worth?/

And whatever happened to peace on earth?

So I guess it’s just/Do unto others before they do it to you/

Let’s just kill em’ all and let God sort em’ out/Is this what God wants us to do?
(Repeat Bridge)And the bewildered herd is still believing/

Everything we’ve been told from our birth/Hell they won’t lie to me/Not on my own damn TV/But how much is a liar’s word worth?/And whatever happened to peace on earth?

Now you probably won’t hear this on your radio/Probably not on your local TV/But if there’s a time, and if you’re ever so inclined/You can always hear it from me/How much is one picker’s word worth?/

And whatever happened to peace on earth?

But don’t confuse caring for weakness/You can’t put that label on me/The truth is my weapon of mass protection/And I believe truth sets you free
(Bridge)And the bewildered herd is still believing/Everything we’ve been told from our birth/Hell they won’t lie to me/Not on my own damn TV/

But how much is a liar’s word worth?

Willie Nelson, “Vote ’em Out”

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

Just Vote

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Willie for Beto, Beto for Texas

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Willie for Beto, Beto for Texas, Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Willie for Beto, Beto for Texas

Monday, October 29th, 2018

#JustVote

Willie Nelson, “Vote ’em Out”

Friday, October 26th, 2018

“The biggest gun we’ve got
Is called the ballot box.
So if you don’t like who’s in there
Vote ’em out.”

— Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson’s new single VOTE ‘EM OUT.   Available now:

https://willienelson.lnk.to/vote

www.post-gazette.com
by:  Randy Lewis

Like many celebrities, Willie Nelson is doing his bit to motivate fans to participate in the upcoming midterm elections.

But with his latest song, the veteran Texas maverick musician and country outlaw isn’t serving up some soft-sell public service announcement.

“If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ’em out,” he sings in the appropriately titled “Vote ’Em Out.” “That’s what Election Day is all about.”

The idea, he said, came to him in the course of talking with young people at a benefit for March for Our Lives in Maui in spring, where he performed with a longtime friend, singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson, and several other musicians.

“It was right after the Florida shootings, and a lot of young people out there were doing protests against the guns and all the lobbying and everything, and so we did this benefit over there,” Mr. Nelson, 85, said on his tour bus this week while in Hollywood to tape a segment for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” scheduled to air Tuesday.

“I was talking to the kids about well, you know, if you see something you don’t like out there, you vote ’em out of it,” he said. “I started thinking about it — It took about three minutes to write the whole thing.”

It’s aimed at all Americans, Mr. Nelson said, but he’s particularly focused on the population of young people who will vote for the first time next month.

“There’s a group of folks coming up to vote that ain’t never voted before, and they are very excited about it,” he said. “I think all the activity on both sides of the parties up there have shook ’em up a little bit. They’re saying, ‘Well, maybe we’re important,’ and, of course they are, and they’re going to go out there and prove it, I think.”

A few minutes later, backstage just after performing “Vote ‘Em Out!” for his segment on the show, Mr. Nelson met and spoke with Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was among the 17 people killed in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting — an emotional meeting for all concerned during which Mr. Nelson and Mr. Kimmel thanked Mr. Guttenberg for his activism.

“It don’t take aim at anybody,” Mr. Nelson said. “Whether you’re on one side or the other, whoever you want to vote in or out, it’s something to talk about. If you like who’s in there, leave ’em in. I think it’s important now to take a stand and vote.”

Mr. Nelson’s politics, however, are no secret.

He introduced the song a few weeks ago at a political rally in Texas for U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz. Such politicking, however, isn’t something Mr. Nelson typically does at his own shows.

“My shows are as nonpolitical as you can get,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re a Christian, an atheist, a Baptist or Methodist. I don’t care who you are or what you are: If you like our music, that’s cool. Come on out. We’re not going to bore you with politics. But right at this particular time, I think it might be a good time to say something.”

One reason Mr. Nelson avoids delving deeply into political issues at his shows is that he sees music as a unifying force in this era of extreme divisiveness and political partisanship.

“I’ve always believed that music was the equalizer, you know?” he said. “Everyone can relate to music. You don’t have a choice. Once you hear the melody and the words, it goes right into your soul, and you either like it or hate it, turn it on or turn it off, but you can’t ignore it.”

Some projects close to Mr. Nelson’s heart involve political issues. Those include the annual Farm Aid benefit shows in support of family farmers who struggle to survive in the age of agribusiness, and his budding operation selling medicinal and recreational marijuana under the brand name Willie’s Reserve. But he leaves the political dimensions of those operations to others.

“It’s something they have to deal with. I don’t have to deal with [anything],” he said.

Willie Nelson for Beto O’Rourke

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

“Vote ’em Out”

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

 

“The biggest gun we’ve got
Is called the ballot box.
So if you don’t like who’s in there
Vote ’em out.”

— Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson’s new single VOTE ‘EM OUT.   Available now:

Indian Country ally Willie Nelson releases political parody song #VoteEmOut

Monday, October 8th, 2018

https://newsmaven.io
by: Vincent Schilling

Willie Nelson sings that if people don’t like the politicians in office now, #VoteEmOut!

Earlier this week the Twitter account @MoveOn posted a fun jingle by Indian Country ally and award-winning country and folk singer Willie Nelson titled Vote ‘em Out.

@MoveOn tweeted “.@WillieNelson debuts his new song, “Vote ’em out” and it’s officially our favorite song of this election season. #VoteEmOut.”

Willie Nelson has been a longtime ally to Indian Country issues and has often appeared and performed at concerts benefitting Native peoples as well as showing his support at presence to the water protectors at Standing Rock.

Roughly 55,000 people showed up for Beto O’Rourke’s rally in Austin! This video was shot on Sept 29, 2018, as the crowd began to pour into Auditorium Shores around sunset. The event didn’t begin for about an hour later. Don’t forget, early voting begins Monday, October 22, 2018.

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

Thousands turn out for concert and Rally headlined by Willie Nelson in support of Beta O’Rourke in Austin last night

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

www.kxan.com
by: Chelsea Moreno

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thousands flooded Auditorium Shores Saturday night for a concert and rally headlined by Willie Nelson in support of Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.

The KXAN crew at the concert estimated there were between 15,000 and 20,000 people who attended.

The event began with speeches from elected officials and other Democratic candidates, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Congressman Lloyd Doggett. Some of the performers that followed were Leon Bridges, Carrie Rodriguez, Tameca Jones and Joe Ely.

The O’Rourke campaign also had voter registration booths set up around the concert grounds, and volunteers were working their way through the large crowd with sign-up sheets. They’re hoping to increase turnout for the upcoming midterm election and get as many people who attended to register to vote.

The concert is Nelson’s first “public” concert held in support of a political candidate, a spokesperson for the folk singer said.

“My wife Annie and I have met and spoken with Beto, and we share his concern for the direction things are headed,” Nelson said. “Beto embodies what is special about Texas, an energy and an integrity that is completely genuine.”

Willie Nelson, “Vote ’em Out”

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

https://thehill.com

Country music icon Willie Nelson debuted a surprise political anthem during a rally for Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the state’s Democratic Senate nominee.

Nelson, who performed at O’Rourke’s rally on Saturday night in Austin, finished his headlining set with a premiere of “Vote ‘Em Out,” a rallying cry to get voters to the polls.

“Election Day is coming ‘round again,” Nelson sang, urging attendees to cast their ballots to vote out this “bunch of clowns you voted in.” The audience enthusiastically sang along with Nelson during the performance.

The country rock star has made political statements before, with a Trump-inspired song “Delete and Fast-Forward” released last year.

Nelson faced backlash from many fans for headlining a rally for O’Rourke, who is running to defeat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), but said earlier this month that he doesn’t care.

Polls have repeatedly shown a tight race between Cruz and O’Rourke in the red state, which has not elected a Democrat to the Senate in decades.

 

Leon Bridges joins Willie Nelson and supports Beto O’Rourke

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Willie asks you to vote #WilliesReserve

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018