Archive for the ‘television’ Category

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, backstage on Late Night with Stephen Colbert

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Their new album is out, with this song, and many more.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real on Late Night With Stephen Colbert (Tuesday, Sept. 5th)

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Willie Nelson honored with Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Willie Nelson brings the crowd to its feet at the close of the 2015 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Neil Young, Paul Simon, Alison Krauss and others paid tribute to Nelson Wednesday night in Washington. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Back in November, 2015, the Library of Congress honored Willie Nelson in a tribute concert, awarding the country music legend with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Willie Nelson has weighed in on the debate over Syrian refugees.

In front of a Washington, D.C., crowd, including a smattering of lawmakers, the 82-year-old “outlaw” musician sang that there’s “room for everyone” in America, after accepting the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on Wednesday night

“I think this is one of the most appropriate songs that we could do for this period in America,” Nelson told the crowd at Washington’s DAR Constitution Hall. “Many years ago, I recorded this song and I felt like this might be a good time to kind of try to bring it back.”

Bookended by his sons Lukas and Micah, Nelson then eased into 1986’s “Living in the Promiseland,” where he sang, “Give us your tired, your weak, and we will make them strong … There’s still a lot of love, living in the Promiseland.” At center stage, Nelson gave his variation of the poem found at the Statue of Liberty’s feet.

Video by PBS NewsHour

“Leave it to Willie: Only he can bring together Republicans and Democrats,” host Don Johnson said.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) gave Nelson a big thumbs-up, while GOP congresswoman Candice Miller smiled warmly. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) also smiled and clapped generally throughout, but House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), as spotted by NewsHour’s political director Lisa Desjardins, watched expressionless, mostly thumbed through his cell phone until the end of the song, when he clapped with the rest of the audience.

Only a man who once smoked weed atop the White House, according to Willie lore, could make a room with politicians slightly uncomfortable.

There was a standing ovation, but the crowd didn’t sit back down because Nelson ended the night with the thematic one-two punch, following up “Promiseland” with “On the Road Again,” one of his signature hits. If “Promiseland” was the plea for acceptance, Nelson’s proclamation that “The life I love is making music with my friends” is the goal realized.

Longtime friends and performers who paid tribute to the red-headed troublemaker at the beginning of the concert joined Nelson on stage to sing along in solidarity, including Neil Young, Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss, Leon Bridges, Paul Simon, among others.

Wednesday night’s concert was a snapshot of the musician’s storied discography of more than 100 albums.

The Library of Congress awarded Nelson its pop music prize, saying that the singer-songwriter was a “musical explorer.”

Country music legend Willie Nelson backstage at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Photo by Joshua Barajas/PBS NewsHour

“Like America itself, [Nelson] has absorbed and assimilated diverse stylistic influences into his stories and songs,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement. “He has absorbed and assimilated diverse stylistic influences into his stories and songs.

Raised during the Great Depression in a small Texas farming town, Nelson has documented the weight of poverty, heartache and regret in a career that continues into its sixth decade.

However, any roads of darkness described in his songs were traversed by a cowboy musician with flaming red hair in New Balance tennis shoes. Nelson’s drive has also meant a never-ending touring schedule of Fourth of July picnics, weed politics and small farm activism.

Nelson is the first country music artist to receive the prize. The award has previously been given to Billy Joel, Carole King, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon, who performed two of Willie’s songs for the concert.

Young opened the proceedings with Nelson’s concert staple, “Whiskey River,” a jaunty take on a tragic struggle with the “amber current.” Simon, backed by accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco, did a little jig in the middle of “Man With the Blues.” Krauss sang “Angel Flying too Close to the Ground” with all the fragility of a love lost. And when Mexican singer Ana Gabriel sang the kiss-off “I Never Cared For You” in Spanish, the song’s agony was not lost in translation.

Raúl Malo of the Mavericks took on “Crazy,” the iconic country ballad that Nelson wrote for Patsy Cline, years before he broke out as a solo artist in the 1970s.

Much was made at the concert of how the young songwriter challenged the “Nashville machine” in the 1950s and 1960s. In his autobiography, Nelson said he had trouble selling “Crazy” to Nashville ears because “[i]f a song had more than three chords in it, there was a good chance it wouldn’t ever be called country.”

“Crazy” had at least four chords.

“Not that ‘Crazy’ is real complicated,” Nelson wrote, “it just wasn’t your basic three-chord country hillbilly song.”

Many of the concert’s performers also didn’t mimic Nelson’s trademark off-beat phrasing, which never gelled with the Nashville standard. Especially in a live setting, Nelson is unhurried by the band.

“I could sing on the beat if I wanted to,” Nelson wrote, “but I could put more emotion in my lyrics if I phrased in a more conversational, relaxed way.”

President Carter, who was unable to attend the concert, wrote a letter to Nelson that Johnson read to the crowd.

Carter congratulated his friend of 30 years, saying that the country music legend’s “music has enriched the lives of people far and wide for decades, and it is only fitting that your life’s work be honored in this way.”

“Your music has become the soundtrack of our lives,” he said.

Armed with his weathered, holey guitar Trigger on stage, Nelson, whose hair is now more gray than red, didn’t miss a beat.

Austin City Limits Hall of Fame NYE Special

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

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.

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.

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 Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at


2016 ACL Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve | Bonnie Raitt & Willie Nelson photo by Scott Newton

Willie Nelson’s, “On The Road Again” featured in Carpool Karaoke

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017
by:  Will Butler

The latest trailer for the Late Late Show With James Corden spin off showCarpool Karaoke is out and it looks like a lot of fun.

The show will be arriving on Apple Music on August 8. Every episode won’t just feature James Corden chauffeuring famous people around and singing their songs, there will loads of star-studded pairings.

The trailer alone shows appearances from Metallica, Seth MacFarlane, Billy Eicher, John Legend, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Will Smith, John Cena, Shaquille O’Neil and more.

The clip features Willie Nelson classic ‘On The Road Again’ and shows that the celebrities won’t just be singing in the car, they’ll be jaunting around LA too.


Willie Nelson on the Porter Wagoner Show

Saturday, July 29th, 2017


Willie Nelson on CBS Good Morning

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

The singer-songwriter, nearing 84, proudly proclaims he’s “still not dead” with his latest album, “God’s Problem Child.”

Willie Nelson has been “On the Road Again” — and again and again — ever since he released that song back in 1980. And a song on his newest album proves he has no intention of hanging it up any time soon, a point he underscores to our Bob Schieffer, For The Record (An earlier version of this story was originally broadcast on April 2, 2017):

“I woke up still not dead again today
The Internet said I had passed away
If I died I wasn’t dead to stay
I woke up still not dead again today.

“Now, how in the world do you come up with that song?” Schieffer asked.

“Oh, I don’t know — I’ve been killed several times throughout the years!” Nelson laughed. “And so I just thought I’d write something funny about it.”

It’s easy for Willie Nelson to laugh off these greatly exaggerated rumors of his demise. Now 84, he’s on the road again — performing and writing music. His last album, “God’s Problem Child,” was his 110th, give or take, with songs like “Still Not Dead” and “Old Timer.”

To hear Willie Nelson perform “Old Timer” from “God’s Problem Child,” click on the video player below:

Willie Nelson – Old Timer by WillieNelsonVEVO on YouTube

“There’s a theme here,” said Schieffer. “This is about the autumn of life. Is that hard for you to think about?”

“No,” he laughed. “You remember one of those deep thinkers, a guy named Seneca? He said you should look at death and comedy with the same countenance. And I believe that.”

Sony Legacy

“The autumn of your life — and I’m right there with you, buddy — it’s like the springtime in everybody else’s life. I mean, you’re at the top of your powers, I would say, right now.”

“Everything’s going good,” Nelson said. “I think age is just a number. I’ve heard it all my life: It’s not how old you are, it’s how you feel. And I’ve been lucky with [everything], health-wise and career-wise.

“I haven’t really got anything to bitch about!” he laughed.

It wasn’t always so. Early on, Nelson left his native Texas for Nashville, making a name for himself writing hits for others, like “Crazy,” recorded by Patsy Cline.

Nashville liked his songs, but his singing? Not so much.

At one point Nelson became so dejected that he went out and laid down in the middle of the street in Nashville hoping that a car would run over him. “‘Course, it was midnight — there wasn’t a lot of traffic!” he laughed. “No car got me!”

“What were those days like?” Schieffer asked.

“Oh, they were wild and crazy. You know, I was going through one relationship after another, one divorce after another. And those things will make you write songs. If you’re a songwriter, that’s where you get your material, from all your headaches and heartaches.”

Nelson went back to Texas, changed his look, and changed his tune — less Grand Ole Opry and more good ole boy, spiced with a little hippy and redneck. With his friend Waylon Jennings came a new, raw sound: Outlaw country.

To watch Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings perform “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” at Farm Aid (1986), click on the video player below.

Willie Nelson & Waylon – Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys (Live at Farm Aid 1986) by Farm Aid on YouTube

Through the years, Nelson’s music came to transcend genre. He’s won eight Grammys, and honors he never imagined.

Regarding the record producer Harlan Howard’s quip that “Country music is three chords and the truth,” Schieffer asked Nelson, “What is it that sets your songs apart?”

“Well, you know, it’s three-quarters of the way true. You can have more than three chords!  But the truth matters.”

“What causes you to come up with these songs that people say, ‘Well, that’s right’?”

“I don’t know. I’m just writing what I’m thinking. And if it comes out pretty good, I’ll write it down somewhere and come up with a melody to it. But I’m just writing what I’m thinking, just off the top of my head, really.”

When he’s not traveling on his bus to one of the more than 100 shows he stills does every year, Nelson splits his time between a home in Maui (where he hangs with friends like Woody Harrelson), and his ranch outside Austin, complete with an Old West town he named Luck, Texas.

Correspondent Bob Schieffer and Willie Nelson in Luck, Texas.

CBS News

When Schieffer dropped by, 3,000 fans filled the town for the Luck Reunion, the brainchild of Willie’s great niece, Ellee.

She said the Luck Reunion had started as a one-day event: “Celebrating singers and songwriters who were kind of forging their path in the same kind of vein as Willie is. Just, you know, doing their own thing without compromise.”

“A lot of people get to hear a lot of good music and hang out, have a good time,” Nelson added. “So it’s turned out to be real good.”

Things didn’t always turn out “real good” for Willie. Back in the ’90s there was the little matter of back taxes he owed Uncle Sam.

“I gotta say,” Schieffer noted, “you’re the only guitar picker from Abbott, Texas that I ever knew or heard of that owed the federal government $32 million!”

“It’s kind of funny when you think about it!” Nelson laughed.

“But I’m sure it wasn’t funny to you at the time.”

He worked it out, and paid it off. But he never declared bankruptcy. “I don’t believe in that,” Nelson said. “You know, I believe if I owe some people some money, I want to pay them.”

He’s been arrested more than once for possession of marijuana.

“I want to ask you a little about pot,” Schieffer asked.

“You got one?”


These days he’s in the cannabis business in places where it’s legal. So why has he been such an advocate? “For myself, it’s good for me,” he said. “It keeps me from going off and doing crazy things. I can relax and play some music and sit around and visit and act like a grown-up, I think.”

Nelson once said that his fourth wife, Annie, married a better man than his other wives. “I did!” she laughed. “I got him after everybody else sort of trained him.”

They’ve been together more than 31 years.

And what’s it like to be married to Willie Nelson? “It’s not boring! It’s never boring. He has a lot of energy. There’s 23 years between us, but I think his goal is to wear me out so that we’re both the same age!”

Schieffer asked Nelson, “You think you’ll ever retire?”

“What do you want me, to quit?  All I do is play music and a little golf, and I don’t want to quit either one of those!”

For Willie Nelson the way to stop wearing out is to speed up.

Schieffer noted, “Andy Rooney said one time, ‘We don’t ask to get old. We just get old … And if you’re lucky, you may get old, too.’  You and I have been pretty lucky!”

“Yeah, we have,” Nelson said. “Very lucky. We’re still here. We woke up still not dead again!”

To hear Willie Nelson perform “A Woman’s Love” from “God’s Problem Child,” click on the video player below:

Willie Nelson – A Woman’s Love by WillieNelsonVEVO on YouTube

Mr. Monk Meets the Red Headed Stranger

Friday, June 16th, 2017


Is country superstar Willie Nelson a cold-blooded murderer? The police think so – but Monk has other ideas.


An upset Willie Nelson accuses his road manager, Sonny Cross, of embezzlement just hours before making a San Francisco radio appearance. Sonny later arrives at the radio station to find a note summoning him to a side entrance. As Sonny disappears down an alley, two shots ring out, and an engineer throws open the side door to find a blind woman, Mrs. Mass, screaming hysterically – and Willie Nelson hovering over Sonny’s dead body.

An injured Captain Stottlemeyer decides to put Lt. Disher in charge of the investigation, and Disher loses no time in calling in Adrian Monk. Monk learns that only Sonny, Mrs. Mass, and Willie Nelson were in the alley, and even though he seems to be the most likely suspect. Monk can’t picture Willie – a favorite singer of his late wife Trudy – as a killer. Stottlemeyer arrives with his right arm in a sling. Mrs. Mass gently shakes his left hand, then identifies Willie’s voice as the one that threatened to kill her if she spoke to the police. Orphaned at 16 in a car accident that also robbed her of her sight, Mrs. Mass is a persuasive witness. Things look grim for the Red-Headed Stranger.

With Sharona gushing about her great new boyfriend Justin, and the SFPD occupied with trying to track down a persistent and elusive streaker, Monk starts to investigate. He begins by learning more about Sonny Cross. A reckless womanizer and boozehound, Cross had previously served two years in prison for vehicular manslaughter. Willie had been close to firing Cross on many occasions, but never had the heart.


For now, Willie Nelson is still the prime suspect, and the police arrest him and formally press charges. Meanwhile, Monk decides to go see Mrs. Mass again. He learns she received a concussion after falling in a wet supermarket aisle the year before, but never sued. As they say goodbye, she offers to shake his hand, and Monk suddenly remembers how she’d previously shaken Stottlemeyer’s hand – and offered him her left hand because his right hand was in a sling. How had she known that… unless she had somehow regained her sight!

The SFPD has finally caught the streaker, and Monk bails him out of jail so he can lay a trap for Mrs. Mass. From a place of concealment, Monk and Sharona watch Mrs. Mass turn her head in wonder as the nudist streaks by her ¿ and Sharona recognizes the streaker as her new boyfriend, Justin!

Once in custody, Mrs. Mass finally comes clean: the fall last year in the supermarket somehow reconnected her optic nerve, restoring partial vision in one eye. She’d kept this miracle to herself in order to be above suspicion when she took finally her revenge on Sonny Cross – the drunk driver that took away her family and her eyesight 30 years before.


All charges against Willie Nelson are dropped, and on a crisp autumn sky under a sparkling blue sky, the two new friends play a soulful, moving duet together – Willie on guitar, Monk on clarinet – at the site of Trudy’s grave.






Willie Nelson keeps The Carter Family Music Alive

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

A song’s enduring popularity is hard to predict, but Willie Nelson still routinely performs “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” in concert almost a century after A.P. Carter wrote it.

Nelson’s love of the Carter Family is a key element in American Epic, a three-part historical documentary premiering Tuesday (May 16) on PBS.

“I grew up hearing all their songs. I was a huge fan of theirs all my life,” Nelson says in the first episode, titled “The Big Bang,” which tells the story of the Carter Family — A.P. and Sara Carter along with Sara’s cousin, Maybelle.

Noting that the original trio essentially helped form the foundation of country music, Nelson adds, “I think once you hear the original Carter Family, you don’t have to explain why they were special.”

T Bone Burnett, Jack White and Robert Redford are the executive producers of American Epic, described as “a journey to the birth of modern music.” The film follows the recording machine’s trail across the United States in the 1920s in search of unknown artists who transformed American music.
Legacy Recordings last week released American Epic: The Collection, a five-CD boxed set featuring 100 historic recordings by country pioneers such as the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, along with blues and regional music by Mississippi John Hurt, Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Joseph Falcon, the Memphis Jug Band, Lydia Mendoza and many others. American Epic: The Soundtrack, a single-disc compilation containing 15 songs, is also available.

Additionally, a concert film titled American Epic Sessions will air June 6 on PBS. It will be accompanied by the release of American Epic: The Sessions, a collection of new recordings produced by White and Burnett after an engineering team reassembled the very first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s.

Recorded with a single microphone to a record-cutting lathe powered by a weight-driven pulley system of clockwork gears, the innovative project includes performances by Alabama Shakes, Ashley Monroe, the Avett Brothers, Beck, Bettye LaVette, Elton John, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal, Pokey LaFarge and Rhiannon Giddens, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and Nelson and Merle Haggard.

White’s Third Man Records will release a triple-LP version of American Epic: The Sessions on June 16 and is also issuing audiophile vinyl collections from the documentary.

Willie Nelson featured in, “American Epic” PBS music documentary (starts tonight!)

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Catch “American Epic,” a PBS music doc series, starts tonite.

Willie Nelson on the Simpsons, “Behind the Laughter”

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Willie Nelson plays an integral role in a year 2000 episode of ‘The Simpsons’ called “Behind the Laughter.” It’s a mockumentary of the way VH1 creates Behind the Music. After 11 successful years on television, the family is unable to avoid the trappings of fame and success and soon find themselves jailed, broke and not speaking to each other. Nelson puts on a phony awards show to bring them all back together, and it works — or it seems to. At the end, Homer says the 2000 season will be the show’s last. Obviously, it wasn’t. Nelson was one of two country artists to make a cameo that year.

The show gives a behind the scenes look is taken at the Simpson family’s rise to fame, their successful years together and then their feud which resulted in a breakup and solo careers for the family members. The history is as follows: Homer decides to start a television show in the 1980s. He sends in a tape of their family antics to the major networks, and even FOX. They soon become successful, so successful that they waste money. They put out terrible records to supplement their income. Homer gets injured filming a scene, beginning his long addiction to painkillers. They start having financial problems due to their outrageous spending. Apu rats them out to the IRS and they lose everything.

The episodes’ plots get really lame, too. Bart goes to jail, being replaced by Richie Rich. When he returns, they agree to do an appearance at the Iowa State Fair. It goes to hell when they get in an argument onstage. This is the end of the Simpsons, or is it? Each goes on to do solo projects and they all hold grudges. Homer returns to his first love, the theatre, where he was dissed for literally eating the set. Marge opens a nightclub named “Marge and Friends,” Lisa writes a book, and Bart gets a TV show.

They hope through the efforts of Dr. Hibbert’s old college buddy Willie Nelson (musician/taxpayer) the family might be reunited to bring their brand of entertainment back to the millions of viewers who tune in each week.


Willie Nelson and Beck on the Tonight Show (1997) “Peach Pickin’ Time in Georgia”

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

Willie Nelson on CMT Hot 20 Countdown (May 13, 14)

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Willie Nelson is always good for a joke. He loves them, and before he and Katie Cook wrapped their CMT Hot 20 Countdown interview on his bus in San Diego, they exchanged a few clean ones.

“I went on this blind date and I told the guy I’d meet him in the bar,” Cook said. “I sat exactly where I would be, he comes walking over and he was like, ‘Are you Katie?’ I’m like, ‘Are you John?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘I’m not Katie.’”

“That’s good,” Nelson said. “I’ve got a drop joke that you might like: A guy was on the second floor of this hotel, too close to the window and he fell out on the ground. Someone walks up to him and says, ‘What happened?’ He said, ‘I don’t know I just got here.’”

Humor is at the heart of how Nelson looks at life — and death. Rumors and hoaxes about the music icon’s untimely end have followed the singer since his 1980 No. 1 “On the Road Again” and he takes them all in stride.

“There have been rumors out there,” he said, “‘One day, Willie was out on the road singing ‘On the Road Again’ and a truck hit him.’ … Ever since then I’ve been hearing those stories. I thought it was really funny.”

At 84, Nelson shows no signs of stopping. In the last 60 years, he’s recorded more than 110 albums (not counting his live sets and greatest hits compilations), and he continues to tour all year long.

His latest collection, God’s Problem Child, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart. The lineup for his six-city Outlaw Music Festival tour starting July 1 in New Orleans includes Bob Dylan and His Band, the Avett Brothers, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, My Morning Jacket, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Margo Price, Hayes Carll and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

When Cook asked Nelson if he saw age as just another number, he agreed.

“People do get old, that’s the way life is, and fortunately we’ve gotten this old. And hopefully we can get older.

“One of those heavy-thinkers, Seneca, said that you should look upon death and comedy with the same countenance. I thought that’s pretty interesting.

“You know we’re all gonna die one day,” he added, “It’s not not going to happen. So you have to have some kind of attitude about it, and I guess comedy is as good as any.”

The second part of of Cook’s interview with Nelson will air on an all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown on Saturday and Sunday (May 13-14) at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

Willie Nelson featured in PBS special, “American Epic”

Monday, May 8th, 2017

Go inside one of the greatest-ever untold stories: how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time.

The three-part historical documentary “American Epic” will explore the recording process during the Roaring 20s, when music scouts used cutting edge technology to capture the music and artists who would change the world. Robert Redford narrates the series that includes appearances by a wide roster of well-known musicians, including Willie Nelson, Jack White, Elton John, Beck, and Merle Haggard. It premieres May 16.

First, catch the three-part series Tuesdays, May 16 to May 30 at 9/8c on PBS.

Then catch The American Epic Sessions premiering Tuesday, June 6 at 8/7c on PBS (check local listings).

The American Epic Sessions

In THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS, the American Epic team has reassembled the very first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s, and invited Jack White and T Bone Burnett to produce an album of recordings by twenty of today’s greatest artists. In this beautifully filmed musical feature, these artists are given the chance to pass through the portal that brought the world into the modern era.

Engineer Nicholas Bergh has reassembled this recording system from original parts and it is now the only one left in the world. The system consists of a single microphone, a towering six-foot amplifier rack, and a live record-cutting lathe, powered by a weight-driven pulley system of clockwork gears. The musicians have roughly three minutes to record their song direct to disc before the weight hits the floor. In the 1920s, they called this “catching lightning in a bottle.” All the musical performances in this film are live. The audio you hear is taken directly from the discs they were recorded to, with no editing or enhancements.

Starring: Alabama Shakes, The Americans, Ana Gabriel, Ashley Monroe, The Avett Brothers, Beck, Bettye LaVette, Bobby Ingano, Elton John, Frank Fairfield, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, Los Lobos, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Nas, Pokey LaFarge, Raphael Saadiq, Rhiannon Giddens, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Taj Mahal, Jack White, and Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard



It premieres May 16.

Willie Nelson interview with Charley Rose (1999)

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017