Archive for the ‘television’ Category
June 21, 1982
by Cheryl McCall
photos: Evelyn Floret
It is high noon in Austin, and the atmosphere is sultry in the $257 -a-night LBJ Suite of the Driskill Hotel, where Barbara Walters has turned off the air conditioning. She has come to Texas to interview Willie Nelson for the 20th ABC special bearing her name, and is savoring a moment of decadent leisure. Denuded of makeup, padding around in her bare feet and a shapeless cotton caftan, Walters bears little resemblance to the empress of televised conversation. She looks softer, almost homey, as though she just might mosey into the kitchen and whip up a batch of brownies. The effect is casually, but not entirely unstudied.
Like no other correspondent, perhaps, Walters is both of the press and apart from it. As anxious about her image as any politician or movie queen, she has been stung by criticism of herself as a creature of outsize go and privilege. “The biggest misconception about me is that I’m cold and controlled, that I have this great prima donna life where I’m followed around by limousines, hairdressers and press agents,” she says. “It’s just not true.”
It is possible, of course, that even Mrs. Onassis thinks of herself as Just Plain Jackie. Moments later Walters is frantically pulling clothes off hangers and issuing a volley of commands to her secretary: have her clothes pressed, call room service, summon the hairdresser. With a taping scheduled for 5:30 p.m., a three-hour transformation begins as the Walters hair is cut and styled (“Don’t make me look like Shirley Temple,” she warns), and emmy-winning makeup artist Tommy Cole applies a poreless mask of cosmetics to the famous face. “I have not had a face lift,” says Barbara, fifty. “When I’m doing a special, I am beautifully lit and I look terrific.”
Producer JoAnn goldberg and director Don Mischer arrive to go over plans for the taping and to approve a selection of newly ironed dresses. (“All form my own closet,” Walters points out.) In preparation for her summit meeting with Nelson, Barbara’s staff has compiled a voluminous binder of research and drawn up some of the 150 questions she might ask on-camera. Advance people have scouted out the locations, arranged flights for the staff, booked hotel rooms, rental cars and limousines, hired local camera crews and arranged catering services for the two days of taping in Austin. Routinely, when the time comes to take the show on the road, Walters boards her plane to the interview, pres over the research once more in flight, and reviews the questions she will use. Her secretary, Monica Caulfield, guides Barbara to airlines, limos and out-of-town destinations.
For this special, which will also include segments on Clint Eastwood and Carol Burnett, Barbara has postponed 20/20 interviews with Alexander Haig and Yoko Ono to focus her attention on Nelson. Relentless in pursuing the subjects she wants, Walters writes letters, sends flowers or telegrams, and even pleads with celebs on the telephone. Leonid Brezhnev, the Pope and Greta Garbo have spurned her requests, but few others have shown such powers of resistance. Willie Nelson had twice turned her down until she cornered him at a Friars roast for Burt Reynolds last year. Now, with his hot crossover album of the year, Always on My Mind, topping both pop and country charts, Nelson has become the key to an audience share that Walters would not automatically attract.
Barbara readily admits that his celebrity interrogations are “gentler” than her usual interviews. “These are people, like Nelson, who are doing me a favor,” she explains. “They’re superstars who don’t need this publicity. Nobody comes out of these interviews angry or hurt. If I’m asked not to discuss something that’s very painful, I won’t, because I’m creative enough to discuss a lot of other things.” Nelson has declared nothing off limits, yet Barbara is expecting some problems. “Willie’s a tough one, he’s not a talker,” she frets. “But I’ve got 90 questions, and if I can get eight minutes out of him, I’m okay.”
After spending five hours taking scene-setters at a local restaurant, on Willie’s private golf course and in his recording studio, Walters seems perplexed by her ultra-casual subject. Willie has turned up for the taping in running shorts, bandanna and T-shirt. Off-camera, Barbara broaches the subject of Willie’s legendary fondness for marijuana. He admits he has smoked “enough to fill a silo,” but says he stopped after his lung collapsed last August. “If you ever want to try it, I’ll smoke a joint with you,” Barbara reports Willie told her. Nelson remembers the exchange a bit differently. “Barbara told me she’s never tried grass,” he says, “but she said she would with me.”
The next morning, after six hours’ sleep and a two-hour makeover, Walters arrives at Willie’s range by 10, primed for interviews with the singer and his wife, Connie. She hopes to open a few gaps in Nelson’s legendary easygoing facade. “I care less about his music than the man who writes about love that’s invaded or lost,” she says. “I want to know if he’s really that controlled. What makes him tick? what makes him laugh? What makes him throw up?”
To find out, Barbara spends 45 minutes with Connie, probing for chinks in the Nelsons’ domestic armor (“Do you ever get jealous?”) and unexpected insights into what makes Willie run. A poised, soft-spoken woman, Connie fields even improbable queries (“Why does Willie need you?”) until Walters is satisfied she has enough for the minute of air time she is planning to use.
After Barbara changes into a Laura Ashley print, sparingly buttoned to expose ample cleavage, she turns her attention to Willie. As the taping beings, the 28-member cw falls silent an Walters leans forward with solicitous, breathy intensity like someone consoling the dying. Willie is mystified, then amused. “Do you like yourself?” Barbara asks. Wilie does. “Are you serene?” she wants to know. Willie thinks so. “The crowds, the adulation the women reaching up to you. What’s it like?” Willie says it’s not bad at at all.
During a break in the taping, there is a lapse in the pose of intimacy between interviewer and subject. As Willie sits by, Barbara tensely confers with producer Goldberg. “What about question 74? Should I ask that? Is there anything you thought I missed? What about 54?” When the tape rolls again, Walters weighs in with a few formula questions. (“If you had three wishes what would you do with them?”), then thanks Willie for being her guest.
Decompression at last. “Okay, Barbara,” teases Willie, “now let’s burn one down.” Later, the hypothetical joint gone unsmoked, Nelson seems pleased. “She wasn’t tough at all,” he marvels. “I was a little concerned about what she might ask about smoking dope and being afraid of getting arrested, but she was a doll.”
The following afternoon, in Los Angeles to edit the tapes, Goldberg and Walters repair to Barbara’s suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel to trim the written transcript of the interview to a size they can work with. The next morning another limo ferries Walters to the home of tape editor Jim McElroy, where she and Goldberg whittle their 27-minute version almost in half. Watching the rough cut, Walters slashes away at the script and orders changes in what appears on the screen. “I like it beter like this… Go to my face when he says, “I’m not complaining’… The Nashville think I liked. When he went there and he cleaned himself up. Now our audience is looking at him and thinking, “Why is he so dirty with that bandanna and all that hair?’… Pick up my question on the next page. Now this is important, JoAnn. This is one of the few guys who openly smoked pot and always talked about it and always got away with it.”
Finally Walters asks to see herself on the tape. The imge appears; Barbara is satisfied. “I look terrific,” she says lightly, “Pretty and bosomy and everything.” And her subject? “Will Nelson looks like the oldest 49 I ‘ve ever seen. No wonder he believes in reincarnation.” Goldberg agrees. “There’s an ancient feeling about Willie Nelson,” JoAnn says. “He’s an old soul.” But not otherworldly that Barbara simply couldn’t make a contact. “Whe had the luxury of two days in Austin instead of the normal two hours,” says JoAnn, the organizationl wizzard who is involved in every aspect of the specials except actually asking the questions. “I felt Barbara needed that to get the feeling of Willie and his life. We’are careful about who w put her with. People like Mick Jagger or Bruce Springsteen she might not get. But she always surprises me. If you give her enough time, she’llf igure them out.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: the continuing musical saga of the great Willie Nelson.
Jeff is back with our profile.
JEFFREY BROWN: He’s 81 years old, hair still long, though no longer all red, more legend these days than outlaw, but, yes, still very much on the road.
WILLIE NELSON: And I can’t wait to get on the road.
And everybody say it right here.
JEFFREY BROWN: Willie Nelson has just released a new album titled “Band of Brothers,” the first in many years to feature primarily his own original material.
On his tour bus before a recent concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, I asked him about the burst of songwriting.
WILLIE NELSON: Well, I know that some days you write and some days you don’t. And you learn to live with that. Roger Miller said one time that the well goes try, and you have to wait until it fills up again.
JEFFREY BROWN: You know what makes a good song after all these years of writing?
WILLIE NELSON: Oh, I think I do.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes?
JEFFREY BROWN: Indeed, Nelson has been writing songs and hits for five decades.
WILLIE NELSON (singing): Crazy for feeling so lonely.
JEFFREY BROWN: “Crazy,” made famous by Patsy Cline in 1961, “Always on My Mind” in 1982, and dozens of others from more than 100 albums.
All the while, he’s performed around the world, long ago becoming one of music’s best known faces and voices.
WILLIE NELSON (singing): Time just slips away.
JEFFREY BROWN: All this began in the tiny town of Abbott, Texas, a childhood in which he and his sister, Bobbie, who still performs with him on piano, were raids by their grandparents.
He wrote about those beginnings in his 2012 memoir titled, in pure Willie fashion, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”
I read in your last memoir, you said that you actually started writing poetry as a kid.
WILLIE NELSON: As I kid, I had — before I could play guitar, I was writing poems. And then, once I had figured out a couple chords on the guitar, I started putting melodies to my poems. And nobody ever told me I couldn’t, so I went ahead and done it.
JEFFREY BROWN: But were the words first?
WILLIE NELSON: Usually, yes.
JEFFREY BROWN: Oh, really?
WILLIE NELSON: Usually a little line or something that is said, and then the melodies are out there.
JEFFREY BROWN: In that memoir, you write about working in the fields picking cotton in 100-degree-plus weather and thinking that maybe playing the guitar would be a better way of making a living.
WILLIE NELSON: I would see these Cadillacs drive by on the highway with the air conditioner and all, and I would get a little bit jealous.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes? You remember that feeling?
WILLIE NELSON: Oh, yes, heck yes.
JEFFREY BROWN: Are you surprised these years later that it worked , that it worked out?
WILLIE NELSON: No. I’m a little surprised at the — how well it worked out.
JEFFREY BROWN: You are?
WILLIE NELSON (singing): We’re a band of brothers, sisters and whatever on a mission to break all the rules.
JEFFREY BROWN: Not only has it worked out, but it seems to have done so on Nelson’s terms. He had success as a songwriter in Nashville in the ’60s. Then from his new base in Austin, Texas, he helped create a new, more raw sound for country music dubbed outlaw country.
WILLIE NELSON (singing): Whiskey River, take my mind.
JEFFREY BROWN: He appeared on the first “Austin City Limits” program on PBS 40 years ago and in the ’80s was part of an all-star collaboration with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson called the Highwaymen.
Over the years, he’s become known for his activism on behalf of small farmers and for legalizing marijuana and for reaching new audiences with recordings of American standards.
WILLIE NELSON: I think innately knew that music draws people together and that good music is liked by almost everybody.
I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like “Stardust,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” or “Crazy Arms” or “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” There are just certain sounds, music, that sort of you know people are going to like it.
That was me. Oh, you like it. And you try it out on an audience and, sure enough, they like it, too.
JEFFREY BROWN: You come across in song and here in person as calm, gentle. I was a little surprised that I read in your memoir where you talked about the rage that was — that has been there at times and that drinking somehow pushed that and marijuana later kind of helped it, suppressed it.
WILLIE NELSON: Well, I think there must be a little bit of truth in high temper and red hair.
JEFFREY BROWN: High temper and red hair.
WILLIE NELSON: Yes. Have you heard that?
JEFFREY BROWN: I have heard of that.
WILLIE NELSON: Yes. Well, I was sort of living proof of that, I guess, because I had flaming red hair and a high temper.
And that’s something that I have to control and live with all the time. But at least I know what my problem is.
JEFFREY BROWN: Whatever you call it, even after all the awards and honors, there’s clearly still a drive to the man that comes out on stage, the guitar playing on a guitar famous in its rights, as well-worn as its owner, named Trigger.
WILLIE NELSON (singing): I can be moving or I can be still, but still is still moving to me.
JEFFREY BROWN: And the unique phrasing, often off the beat, that has made Nelson’s sing so familiar to millions.
Behind all this, it turns out, is a great deal of attention to keeping in shape. Nelson has a black belt in karate and another in Korean mixed martial arts.
While on tour, he told me, he rides a bike, works out with a punching bag, takes walks. And that’s how he can do this into his 80s.
WILLIE NELSON: Really, I think the best exercise that I do is singing for an hour-and-a-half out on the stage, because, yes, I use the lung, the biggest muscle in your body. And I use it continually. And I kind of watch myself and I kind of feel how that singing is helping me as I do it physically.
JEFFREY BROWN: After a show, you feel better?
WILLIE NELSON: Oh, I feel much better after a show. And so does my sister, Bobbie, and all of us in the band.
JEFFREY BROWN: So being out on the road and playing like this all the time you think is keeping you healthier?
WILLIE NELSON: You have to be a professional athlete to do it.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes?
A professional athlete maybe, but somewhere in every tour, he says, he decides, at least for the moment, that he’s had enough. He wrote of that on a new song titled “The Wall.”
WILLIE NELSON (singing): I hit the wall.
That really happens to you along the way. But I enjoy playing music. Then I get back doing it.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. But what happens to you when you’re not playing that for too long?
WILLIE NELSON: You get bored to be at home, or you’re used to coming out and doing it. It is an addiction. There’s no doubt about it, but it’s one of the good ones, I think.
JEFFREY BROWN: And not only the performing, but the songwriting continues. Nelson has already announced that another album of new material will come out later this year.
WILLIE NELSON (singing): You can’t tell me what to do. You can’t tell me what to do.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That Willie Nelson is an inspiration.
Willie Nelson, Gregory Porter, Rusangano Family, Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan and many more to appear in new series featuring exclusive performances from Austin and Dingle.
Starting Thursday 2nd February / 23:30 / RTÉ 2
In October 2016, Other Voices hit out from Dingle crossing the Atlantic on the musical expedition of a lifetime. The show found a sister home in Arlyn Studios, Austin, Texas where we filmed an exclusive acoustic performance with the legendary Willie Nelson and captured a mesmerizing performance from Grammy winning jazz and bluesman vocalist Gregory Porter.
Special guests Mumford and Sons performed songs from their number one, platinum selling album ‘Wilder Mind’ and and gave us a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’. Fresh from performances on SNL and Jimmy Kimmel, the new Queen of Honky Tonk Margo Price and her band showed us exactly why she is Country’s rising star. Aoife O’Donovan recalled summers spent in West Cork and sang the beautiful ‘Lakes of Pontichartrain’. Iarla O’Lionard (The Gloaming) and Colm Mac Con Iomaire brought the room to a standstill with a spellbinding performance of The Foggy Dew
The new series of Other Voices will also include performances from Cage The Elephant, Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Sweet Spirit, Asleep At The Wheel, Dale Watson, Carson McHone and Wild Child who all joined us in Austin, Texas.
Read article here:
Willie Nelson sings, “Me and Bobby McGee” to celebrate Kris Kristofferson induction into ACL Hall of FameWednesday, January 4th, 2017
Published on Dec 30, 2016
Willie Nelson performs Kris Kristofferson’s classic “Me and Bobby McGee” to celebrate Kristofferson’s induction into the ACL Hall of Fame.
Enjoy this bonus track featuring Willie Nelson’s classic hit “Night Life,” which was not included in the broadcast episode.
Ring in 2017 with Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2016 on PBS. For more visit acltv.com.
About the Episode
Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King and Kris Kristofferson are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Performers include Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and more. Hosted by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally.
About the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame
The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame recognizes both performing artists and special individuals who have been instrumental in making the long-running show a music institution.
The 2016 ACL Hall of Fame inductees were celebrated at a ceremony held October 12, 2016, at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Performers included Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Rodney Crowell, Gary Clark Jr., Billy Gibbons, B.B. King Band, Taj Mahal, and Eve Monsees. Comedy super couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally served as emcees for the evening.
The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is located at The Moody Theater and consists of a photo gallery, timeline/anthology mural, and an interactive online library of Austin City Limits content.
About Austin City Limits
ACL offers viewers unparalleled access to featured acts in an intimate setting that provides a platform for artists to deliver inspired, memorable, full-length performances. The program is taped live before a concert audience from The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL is the longest-running music series in American television history and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. Since its inception, the groundbreaking music series has become an institution that’s helped secure Austin’s reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The historic KLRU Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in 2012.
ACL is produced by KLRU-TV and funding is provided in part by Dell, the Austin Convention Center Department, Shiner Beers and HomeAway.com. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at acltv.com.
Austin City Limits have released a special preview from their upcoming New Year’s Eve broadcast of the third annual ACL Hall of Fame Inductions and Celebration.
The clip features country music legend Willie Nelson teaming up with Gary Clark Jr. for a performance of “Night Life” which will be part of the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve broadcast on Saturday, December 31st at 8pm CT/9pm ET on PBS.
Apart from Nelson and Clark, the hour-long special will feature performances from Mavis Staples, Rodney Crowell, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons playing their tributes to 2016 inductees Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King.
The special concert was filmed live back on October 12, 2016 to honor “the artists who’ve helped make the award-winning TV series an American music institution” and will feature the finale performance that included the entire lineup playing the blues classic, “Every Day I Have The Blues,” a song that B.B. King performed on his iconic 1983 Austin City Limits debut, followed by “Auld Lang Syne”.
Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve Setlist:
Rodney Crowell – “Help Me Make It Through The Night”
Kris Kristofferson – “Lovin’ Her Was Easier”
Willie Nelson “Me & Bobby Mcgee”
Mavis Staples & Bonnie Raitt – “Well, Well, Well”
Bonnie, Mavis & Taj Mahal – “Thing Called Love”
Billy Gibbons – “You Upset Me Baby”
Bonnie Raitt & Gary Clark Jr – “The Thrill Is Gone”
All: Finale – “Every Day I Have The Blues”
All: “Auld Lang Syne”
Willie Nelson on the Ernest Tubb television show.
PBS to broadcast “Last of the Breed” concert tour, with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Freddy PowersFriday, November 25th, 2016
WILLIE NELSON, MERLE HAGGARD, AND RAY PRICE RETURN IN ENCORE BROADCAST OF “LAST OF THE BREED” ON PBS STATIONS – Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price — the elder statesmen of classic country music who have inspired artists and thrilled fans for decades — return to PBS stations (check local listings) in an encore presentation of Last of the Breed, a once-in-a-lifetime concert event taped in March 2007 during the final performance of their sold-out “Last of the Breed” tour that played to rave reviews everywhere. Nelson, Haggard and Price (backed by Grammy® Award winning “Kings of Texas Swing” Asleep at the Wheel, led by Ray Benson, and Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys) deliver rousing performances of their greatest hits in the richest voices this side of the Rio Grande.
The new airings of Last of the Breed are a particularly special tribute to Merle Haggard, who passed away in April of this year, and Ray Price, who passed away in December 2013. Said Willie Nelson: “With my dear friends Merle and Ray gone, it’s even more special that Last of the Breed is airing again. I’m so pleased that PBS is bringing this program back, and I hope everyone gets to see what a great time we all had together on-stage.”
Among the songs performed in Last of the Breed are “Okie From Muskogee,” “Pancho and Lefty,” “For the Good Times,” “Night Life,” “Crazy,” “Mama Tried,” “Always on My Mind,” “On the Road Again” and many others. The timeless music — warm yet gritty, powerful and honest — is bound to have viewers singing along from beginning to end.
Check local PBS station listings for broadcast dates and times.
Last of the Breed is an Ambassador Entertainment Inc. production, produced by Albert Spevak, directed by Lawrence Jordan, and executive produced by Mark Rothbaum and Albert Spevak. www.ambassador.tv
The PBS broadcast of Last of the Breed includes the following songs:
“San Antonio Rose” Ray Price
“Make the World Go Away” Ray Price
“For the Good Times” Ray Price
“Route 66” Asleep at the Wheel
“Take Me Back to Tulsa” Merle Haggard
“That’s the Way Love Goes” Merle Haggard
“Silver Wings” Merle Haggard
“Sing Me Back Home” Merle Haggard
“Okie From Muskogee” Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson
“Pancho and Lefty” Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
“Ramblin’ Fever” Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
“Night Life” Ray Price
“Crazy” Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price
“On the Road Again Willie Nelson
“Always on My Mind” Willie Nelson
“Mama Tried” Merle Haggard
“Whiskey River” Willie Nelson
- On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)
In March 2007, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price performed on-stage together for the first time in the Last of the Breed tour.
Mickey Mouse turns 88 today in California. In 1978, Willie Nelson joined others to wish Mickey Mouse Happy 50th birthday, on a televised special. Other guest appearance on the show were made by: Gerald Ford, Billy Graham, Lawrence Welk, Gene Kelly, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Edgar Bergen, Jodie Foster, Goldie Hawn, Eva Gabor, Anne Bancroft, Jo Anne Worley, and Burt Reynolds.
by: Stephen Betts
Willie Nelson, whose early Nashville music career included playing bass in Ray Price’s band, paid tribute to his friend and former employer on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday night with a sprightly version of Price’s Number Two country hit “Heartaches by the Number.” Delivered with his typically unorthodox phrasing, Nelson’s jazz-influenced vocals veer off from the original but the band nevertheless holds true to the shuffling beat.
A 1959 Number One pop hit for Guy Mitchell, “Heartaches” is among the 12 tracks on Nelson’s new album For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, which also features “I’ll Be Here (If You Ever Want Me),” “Crazy Arms” and “Night Life,” a Price hit penned by Nelson. Recorded at Nashville’s Ocean Way Studios, where Price crafted his final album, Beauty Is…, the LP was engineered by recent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Fred Foster, the legendary producer who signed Nelson to Monument Records in 1964. The Time Jumpers, the Western swing outfit featuring Vince Gill, are featured on half of the album’s cuts.
“Ray was as a close a friend as you could have,” says Nelson of the performer, who passed away in 2013 at age 87. “We traveled together, lived together, played music together, partied together … and had a lot of good times.”
by: Chris Meyer
By far the coolest 83-year old any of us know, country star and American hero Willie Nelson appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night to participate in a skit titled “3 Ridiculous Questions” with the show host. Though, Kimmel managed to slip in an additional question or two.
The two imbibed on some Crown Royal while Nelson responded to questions, such as “What would you really say to all of the girls you’ve loved before?” and “If you were going to die fighting an animal, what animal would you want it to be?”
The octogenarian proves himself to be as sharp as ever in the skit, which was taped in conjunction with the upcoming 50th Annual CMA Awards. Watch the full skit below: