Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Songwriter Wayne Carson talks about writing, “Always on My Mind”

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

by: Vi-an Nguyen

Nashville Songwriter, music biographer Jake Brown interviews elite country songwriters to get “the true stories behind country music’s biggest and most enduring hits,” he says. “What followed has been one of the most thrilling writing adventures of my life, and a bible of sorts for hopefully multiple generations of country music fans wanting to know more about where the soundtrack of their lives came from.”

We’ve been excerpting a series of passages from the book—concluding with the story behind the classic song, “Always On My Mind,” (made famous by Willie Nelson) a hit that won the Country Music Association’s 1982 Song of the Year and Single of the Year awards as well as the Grammy Awards for Best Male Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song, and Song of the Year. Songwriter Wayne Carson explains how the beloved song came together, below.


“I wrote those two verses of ‘Always On My Mind’ living in Springfield, Missouri, and I usually write from the melody. I’ll think of the melody or the chord structure or something … If the melody is singable, the words are not far away. It’s only a story, you know.

In this case, ‘Always On My Mind’ happens to be one of those things that, universally, everybody on the planet has been there, you know. And it struck all at one time. Everybody touched base with that one. It was just magic that it was so simple and so right on the button.

I purposely didn’t write a bridge to ‘Always On My Mind’ because I didn’t think it needed one. We decided to cut that dude one night in Memphis, back when I was recording for United, I guess it was—or whatever label I was recording for at that time; and so, Tips Smallman, my producer and dear, lifelong friend, said, ‘Wayne, I think this thing needs a bridge.’

And so I said, ‘Well, how do you want me to do it?’ He said, ‘Why don’t you take it upstairs to my office; I’ve got a little piano up there, or a guitar—whatever you want to use.’ I said, ‘Well, actually, I used a piano so I’ll go up there and see what I come up with.’
In the meantime, Johnny Christopher comes wandering in and he said, ‘Do you need some help?’ And I said, ‘Well, it looks like I’m going to because I haven’t come up with anything as far as a bridge.’ And I said, ‘Johnny, I never thought it needed a bridge, so I never did give it a second thought.’ And we sat there and sat there and nothing happened.

Then pretty soon here comes Mark James just picking up his mail at the publishing company, which was right next door to the studio. He said, ‘What are you doing?’ and I said, ‘Tips wants a bridge for this song.’

Now Mark had never heard the song at that point. And we had a version of it cut already, without the bridge. That’s why there had been some talk that Mark had wrote the song and cut me in on it at one time. So we got that dispelled real quick.

Anyway, the three of us sat there and finally wrote those two lines—you know, the bridge. ‘Tell him that your sweet loving …’—that part. Hell, a hit’s a hit.

Anyway, I took it back downstairs and we cut it and all the guys in the band seemed to like it—that was kind of my gauge. When I did something new, I asked my pickers, my buddies I played all those records with, like the Box Tops and all that stuff—I did a lot of recording with that band as just a guitar player, you know. Myself and Bobby Womack and, of course, Reggie Young were the band. Anyway, we cut it. And a little session on it right there, and took it to Nashville. I was recording for Mongoose Records—that’s who I was with, Fred Foster. We couldn’t wait to get here and play that thing for him.

Tips and I were convinced that it was a No. 1 record. We were just like two school kids with a new invention, you know. I played it for Fred Foster and he said, ‘I don’t think the world’s ready for that.’ I said, ‘You’ve got to be … kidding me.’ And Tips, ditto. We left there—I mean, we were mad.

So we flew back to Memphis and I remember the last thing Tips said about it was, ‘He’s going to rue the day he ever turned that song down, I’m telling you right now Wayne. That song is a big, huge song.’”

Nashville Songwriter by Jake Brown is out now.

Lessons from Willie Nelson

Sunday, September 7th, 2014


What Willie Nelson Taught Me This Summer: What does it take to maintain fire and passion for your career over the decades?

by: Chris Murphy

I saw a Willie Nelson concert this summer, and I can’t get it out of my head. I went in wondering whether Willie, at 81 years old, would still have the goods. I left with the question turned around on me: Do I have the same passion and fire for my craft at 40-something that Willie delivers at 81? Am I striving to get better?

It’s the kind of question that, to me at least, speaks to why the arts are so important for us working in the business world of technology, media, etc. An artist puts himself or herself out there so completely, so bravely, so how can we balk at the chance to do something as unique and creative in our world?

At the concert, Willie’s guitar playing was by far the star of the show. This performance wasn’t about working around the limitations of an aging star. Sure, his voice, while mostly golden, had its moments. But Willie’s riffs and solos on his battered, holed-out guitar, Trigger, revealed a master at work. His focus and passion in those moments — by a performer who’s been on stage since he was 9 and still tours 150 days a year — marked both an artist and a professional.

Read Chris Murphy’s article here.

Guitar and Golf, please don’t give up either (especially guitar)

Thursday, September 4th, 2014



“For years people have been asking me ‘when are you going to retire?’.  I ask them, ‘All I do is play golf and play guitar.  Which one do you want me to give up?'” — Willie Nelson

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014


Another Willie Nelson fan: Miley Cyrus

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
by:  Stephen L. Betts

Before she was Hannah Montana, before she twerked her way to national headlines, and long before she sent a homeless man onstage to accept her 2014 MTV VMA award, Miley Cyrus made her first-ever TV appearance as an adorable toddler, introducing viewers to her boyfriend,  “Willie Nelson.”

In 1994, just two years after sending the nation into a line-dancing panic with the pop-country smash, “Achy Breaky Heart,” Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus (still rocking that magnificent mullet), was a guest on the Nashville Network’s Music City Tonight talk show. In mid-interview with hosts Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase, Billy Ray talks about marriage and family and, almost as if on cue, is interrupted by then-2-year-old Miley, who is attempting to push a baby carriage up the steps to the stage to get to her daddy. Cute, right? Well, it all gets even cuter… and just a little bit creepy.

Inside the baby carriage, Billy Ray reveals, is Miley’s “boyfriend,” a crudely carved wooden Willie Nelson doll, complete with flattop guitar. Billy Ray explains that while the doll was intended as Christmas gift for his mother, once Miley spotted it she dumped her “crybaby” doll and placed Willie in the “buggy” (that’s Kentucky-speak for carriage), rarely letting the doll out of her sight. He also notes that anytime she sees Willie on TV, Miley stops what she’s doing and covers the screen in kisses.

Coached by her daddy, the little Willie fan also says “coffee,” and rolls her eyes for the camera. “This is very dangerous,” warns Crook prophetically, with Miley seated on her lap. “You’re teaching her to flirt at a very early age.”


Thank a Farmer

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014


Tickets on sale to 2014 Farm Aid concert in Raleigh, NC on September 13, 2014.  For tickets, or to learn how you can support family farmers, or learn about the food you eat:

Farm Aid 2014 in Raleigh, NC (9/13/14)

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Another strong argument for why we need farms! #road2farmaid

Willie Nelson and Family on Tour

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014


August 8, 2014 Grand Casino Mille Lacs Onamia, MN
August 9, 2014 Grand Casino Hinkley Events Center Hinkley, MN
August 10, 2014 Big Top Chautaqua Bayfield, WI
August 12, 2014 Sangamon Auditorium Springfield, IL
August 13, 14, 2014 Potawatomi Bingo Casino Milwaukee, WI
August 16, 2014 Brown County Fair Aberdeen, SD
August 17, 2014 Deadwood
Deadwood, SD
August 21, 2014 Foellinger Theater Ft. Wayne, IN
August 22, 2014 Eaton County Fairgrounds Charlotte, MI
September 7, 2014 LockN Musical Festival Arrington, VA
September 9, 2014 9:30 Club Washington, DC
September 10, 2014 Grand Opera House Wilmington, DE,
September 11, 2014 FM Kirby Centr Wilkes-Barre, PA
September 13, 2014 Farm Aid 2014 Concert Raleigh, NC
September 15, 2014 The Palladium Carmel, IN
September 16, 2014 Benedem Center Pittsburg, PA
September 17, 2014 Ridgefield Playhouse Ridgefield, CT
September 19, 2014 Harrah’s Atlantic City, NJ
September 20, 2014 Indian Ranch Webster, MA
September 21, 2014 New Jersey PAC Newark, NJ
October 10, 2014 Scheldegger Center for Arts St. Charles, MO
October 11, 2014 First Council Casino and Hotel Newkirk, OK
October 12,, 2014 Missouri Theater Colombia, MO
October 14, 2014 Shrine Mosque Springfield, MO
October 16, 2014 Grand Casino Shawnee, OK
October 17, 2014 Floore’s Country Store Helotes, TX
October 18, 2014 Floore’s Country Store Helotes, TX
November 14, 2014 Grand Opera House Galveston, TX
November 15, 2014 Windstar Casino Thackerville, OK
November 18, 2014 House of Blues Houston, TX
November 20, 2014 Mississippi Coliseum Jackson, MS
November 21, 2014 Horsehoe Tunica Robinsville, MS
November 22, 2014 Horseshoe Casino Riverdome Bossier City, LA
November 23, 2014 Majestic Theater San Antonio, TX
November 25, 2014 Pharr Events Center CANCELLED Pharr, TX

***** Always check with the venue or to confirm any shows listed here.

Willie Nelson & Family, Woodstock, NY (1999)

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Willie Nelson, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me (when I die)”

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Willie Nelson, Songwriter (NPR Interview)

Friday, July 18th, 2014


Listen to the NPR Interview Here.



Again thanks for listening. This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I’m Arun Rath.


PATSY CLINE: (Singing) Crazy, I’m Crazy for feeling.


FARON YOUNG: (Singing) Hello walls.


ROY ORBISON: (Singing) Pretty paper, pretty ribbon.


WILLIE NELSON: (Singing) Night life, ain’t no good life


NELSON: (Singing) Gee ain’t it funny, how time slips away…

RATH: All those hit records you just heard were written by the same redheaded stranger from Texas. Long before he had his own hits.


NELSON: (Singing) On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again.

RATH: Willie Nelson proved his songwriting chops years ago, but over the past two decades he’s peferred to record other people’s writing, not his own. His new album comes out on Tuesday, It’s called “Band of Brothers” and for the first time in almost 20 years he’s given us a record packed with Willie Nelson originals.


NELSON: (Singing) We’re a band of brother and sisters and whatever. On a mission break all the rules. And I know you love me, ’cause I love you too but you can’t tell me what to do.

RATH: I spoke with Willie Nelson on Friday night. Not surprisingly on the road again. At the age of 81 he’s currently on a grueling tour, more than two dozen shows this summer. He joined us where he seems the most comfortable, on his beloved tour bus.

NELSON: Yeah we’re somewhere around Philadelphia I think getting ready to do a show tonight.

RATH: And here’s how much of a road dog you are. I’ve read – tell me if this is true, that you even sleep on the bus when it’s parked at your house?

NELSON: Well yeah I. Mean I have everything I need here. And it’s a lot of hassle to get off and go into a room and come back. So I have a room available if I needed or wanted for anything.

RATH: Now you are such a great songwriter but it’s been more than a few years since you released an album and one with so much new material on it. I’m curious have you been writing songs the whole time or are all these very recently written?

NELSON: I’m sort of a spasmodic writer I guess. Roger Miller said it pretty well. He said when a writer has to sometimes stop and let the well refill because you run out of things to write about or good things to say. So I think he’s right. Also you have to have some kind of challenge or goal. And there was this new album that we wanted to do. And I needed some new songs. And I said well you know why don’t I write something?


NELSON: (Singing) There’s a guitar in the corner, that used to have a song. I would hold it while it played me and I would singing along.

RATH: You know when I think of my favorite Willie Nelson songs they have this quality of, you can be sentimental but with out being cheesy or cloying. And I feel like on the new album “The Wall” is one that kind of fits into that category.


NELSON: (Singing) I took on more than I could handle. I bit off more than I could chew. I hit the wall.

RATH: What inspired that?

NELSON: Well, actually it’s a true story. I literally you know got so tired I overbooked myself and well of them have in some work done, some health work. And I went over to Germany to get that done. And while I was over there wrote this song, “The Wall.”


NELSON: And the wall came down, crashing down. And there was not a sound.

RATH: You’ve got on this album – there’s a great kind of combination – a couple of really funny songs – “Wives and Girlfriends.”


NELSON: (Singing) Well, I love my wives and I love my girlfriends, but may they never meet. May they never know each other when they pass on the street.

RATH: And right after that you have a song that might be the wives and girlfriends response. I thought “I Thought I Left You.”


NELSON: (Singing) What part of we can’t make it don’t you understand? It’s no longer you and me there’s another world you see. I thought I loved you so why will aren’t you leaving me?

RATH: You know it – the two sides like that makes me think of “Phases and Stages” you know the album where you tell the story of both sides of a breakup. There’s side A, is the woman’s perspective, Side B is the man’s. I’m wondering what you’d get out of changing perspectives as a songwriter writer. How do you write as a woman?


NELSON: Well I have had a little experience. I’ve been around a lot of women. So you’d think I would have learned more than I know. But I have learned enough to write a few stories and songs. You know I think are pretty truthful and not too bad.


NELSON: (Singing) After carefully considering the whole situation and I stand with my back to the wall.

RATH: Now when you’re doing that, when you’re changing perspectives are you – do you feel like you sort of become the person and the voice of the song you’re writing? Or are you kind of like at a distance, you know, the creator?

NELSON: Well I think it depends on the situation. In that particular story in “Phases and Stages” it wasn’t really that difficult to write both of the story because at that time I was going through both sides. And it was just a matter of writing what I thought might be going through a woman’s mind and what was going through mine, and trying to tell both sides of the story because you know there always is.

RATH: Most of us though are so wrapped up in our own skins though I don’t – I think it’s hard for most people to kind of step outside in that way.

NELSON: Well I’m such a shameless songwriter that I’ll write about anything.




NELSON: (Singing) Walking is better than running away. And crawling ain’t no good at all.

RATH: A few months ago you made news when you earned your fifth degree black belt in the Korean martial art Gong Kwon Yu Sul. Am I saying that right?

NELSON: That was right, Yeah that’s better than I can say.

RATH: What I know about it, I know it’s one of the most demanding and comprehensive styles of martial arts. You must be an incredible shape.

NELSON: I’m really Healthy, And who know who knows why? I think a lot of it has to do with my doing shows lot. I think when you get out there and sing for an hour and a half and play the guitar and move around and wave and clap, that that’s probably the best exercise – best workout that you can do. And you know I do 100 or 150 or so shows a year. And that’s just really good exercise for me.

RATH: And when you’re at that level – fifth degree black belt, I’m curious of the disciplines, the philosophy of the martial arts have had an effect on your performance an your songwriting even?

NELSON: Well I don’t think you can separated at all. It’s good for you spiritually, physically, mentally. There’s a you know, a little air of confidence that you get. And I think it shows up in your performances, also in your songwriting. It’s been good for me that’s all I can say.

RATH: Your new album ends with a song called “I’ve Got a lot of Traveling to Do.” Can I take that to mean that you have no plans to slow down anytime soon?

NELSON: You know, I was telling somebody the other day that I quit after every tour. But after a few days off I say, let’s try it again. So you know I’m having fun, the audience is still there and seem to be enjoying the show. So I don’t have any plans to quit right now.


NELSON: (Singing) I give traveling to do. A whole lot of traveling to do. Well the road is getting crowded. And they’re shortening my fuse and there ain’t nothing here I really care to lose. I’ve got a lot of traveling to do.

RATH: Willie Nelson thank you so much.

NELSON: All right. Thank you very much. Enjoyed talking to you.

RATH: Willie Nelson’s new album comes out on Tuesday. It’s called “Band of Brothers.”


NELSON: (Singing) Of course I can’t forgive you cause that’s just what I do, but I’ve got a lot of traveling to do.

RATH: And for Sunday that’s ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I’m Arun Rath. Check out our weekly podcast, look for weekends on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED on iTunes or on the NPR app, and you can follow us on twitter at (@npratc. I want to wish a happy fathers day to simply best man I’ve ever know. My dad, love you. We’re back again next weekend, until then thanks for listening, and have a great week. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Willie Nelson & Family in Newkirk, OK (Oct. 11, 2014)

Friday, July 18th, 2014


by: Brandy McDonnell

NEWKIRK — Although the Country Music Hall of Famer’s Oklahoma City show earlier this month was canceled due to an illness in his band, Willie Nelson already is planning a return trip to the Sooner State. Willie Nelson & Family will play Oct. 11 at First Council Casino & Hotel, 12875 N U.S. 77.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, with a presale that started at 10 a.m. today, at

The Paula Nelson Band @ Bob Stock (July 11, 2014)

Saturday, July 12th, 2014


The Paula Nelson Band is winding down their Colorado tour, and played last night in Fort Morgan at the city’s annual summer music festival in the park. The band plays tomorrow night in Sedalia, Colorado, before heading home to texas. For more tour information:

Paula is like a flame to moth for children. If it is a kid-friendly show, like Bob Stock yesterday, in Fort Morgan, then sooner or later the kids are drawn to front of stage and Paula Nelson. She dances with them on the lawn, then they all want to be on stage with Paula and the band.


The boys are more shy. There is usually one or two who will go on stage, but mostly it’s the little girls who can’t resist.










And of course, a couple selfies, I can’t resist.


Willie Nelson, “Man of the Week” (ABC News) (July 11, 2014)

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Willie Nelson (July 4, 2008)

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Thanks to Carol S., of NY, for sharing this picture she took in Selma on 7/4/08