Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Willie Nelson at the Grand Ole’ Opry (1963)

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

WIllie Nelson, Merle Haggard concert in Roanoke, Virginia (October 16, 2015)

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015


Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard continue to ad show dates to their schedule.  I think they like each other!

The two will play at the Berglund Center Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. October 16.

Nelson and Haggard have teamed up for the album “Django and Jimmie.” The album is at No. 18 on Billboard’s country albums chart.

Tickets, priced at $55, $65 and $75, go on sale Friday, August 28 at the Berglund Center Box Office, online at, or by calling 877-HTB-TIXNow.



Thirty Years of Helping Farmers: Farm Aid

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015



photo: Paul Natkin

The 1980s were a bleak time for family farmers, especially in America’s heartland. A number of factors that included a series of droughts, low crop prices and high production costs, and bad lending practices, all joined together to strangle the life out of small farms, some of which had been passed down through families over generations.

The Farmers Home Administration, the lending arm of the United States Department of Agriculture during the 1980s, was aggressively collecting on loans they had just as aggressively encouraged small farmers to take a few years earlier, when land values were high. When the price of farmland bottomed out, the government foreclosed on farmers, ordering them off the land within 30 days or forcibly removing them.

“The mood in the countryside was one of helplessness,” recalls Roger Allison, a Missouri farmer and rural organizer who fought the USDA in federal court in the early ’80s over attempts to foreclose on his land. “We were up against the government. Farmers wanted to make their loans and deprived themselves and their families of food, electricity—the very basics—just trying to pay the debt.”

It was in this oppressive atmosphere that Willie Nelson came up with and idea for a fundraising concert for desperate family farmers. He joined forces with John Mellencamp and Neil Young to organize the event.

“Farm Aid really was the organization that brought the people’s attention to the family farmer. It’s fortunate that these three extremely iconic artists were on board for family farms,” says Carolyn Mugar, who’s been Farm Aid’s executive director since the beginning and was a trade union organizer before stepping into the position.

On Sept. 22, 1985, Nelson’s vision became a reality. The Farm Aid concert featured some of the greatest American musicians of the 20th century, from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan to B.B. King, together with 80,000 fans at the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium.

The 80,000-strong crowd at the original Farm Aid concert. Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve, Inc.

That year, Farm Aid raised about $7 million and, among other endeavors, provided funding to theMissouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC), the nonprofit Allison helped start to advocate for family farmers. Farm Aid also helped fund the Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG), a nonprofit law center that took on the federal government leading to the halt of 80,000 farm foreclosures.

It boosted the morale of family farmers who had been beaten down by the system.

Beyond the monetary aspect of the first Farm Aid concert there was a perhaps less tangible but arguably equally important facet of the event: It boosted the morale of family farmers who had been beaten down by the system. Allison recalls being on a train heading from Des Moines, Iowa, to the concert in Champaign, Illinois, and seeing fellow farmers lining the train’s route.

“All along the railroad tracks, there would be farmers with flags, with their families, because they knew this was our best shot at turning things around,” he says.

farmaid3The concert also planted seeds in many young people who had never considered agriculture as a career and knew little about sustainable farming. Tim Ryan, a freshman in pre-law at the University of Illinois at the time, went to the first Farm Aid concert for the music, but once there he learned about the plight of farmers and about organic agriculture.

“I vaguely knew that Farm Aid was trying to raise money to help farmers who were losing their land, but I didn’t really know why. It made me want to know more about it,” says Ryan. “I remember sitting with a hog farmer from North Carolina and he was explaining some of the reasons he was struggling.”

The experience would stick with Ryan. He would eventually work for the Seeds of Change organic research farm in New Mexico, before returning to Illinois. He now sells his sustainably grown produce, flowers, and seeds in Springfield. Ryan’s been to seven Farm Aid concerts and plans to attend the 2015 event in Chicago. His younger sister, who also attended the first event, plans to meet him there for a family reunion of sorts.

Thirty years on, Farm Aid continues to help family farmers, as does the MRCC and FLAG. The focus has shifted somewhat over the years and now includes the fight against corporate control of agriculture.

Rhonda Perry, who with her husband, Allison, runs the MRCC, says following the farm crisis, corporations took control of “the agricultural land and the food system, including the market place.” The couple has led the protest against giant agribusinesses and confined farming methods in Missouri, with the help of Farm Aid.

“Farm Aid has a long history of working with organizations like ours, that are on the ground, that are on the front end of bad corporate policies, bad government policies, and of what it would really take to change what’s going on in rural America,”

Perry and Allison raise livestock and grain on 850 acres in Howard County, Missouri, and also run Patchwork Family Farms, a cooperative of 15 independent hog farmers who raise sustainable meat. The two were also involved in bringing local, sustainable food to the Farm Aid concerts, beginning in 1998. While today it’s becoming more commonplace to see concert venues serving this type of food, it was fairly radical nearly a decade ago when they began.

Perry says one of the reasons Farm Aid has remained important for family farmers is its close ties to grassroots organizations.

“Farm Aid has a long history of working with organizations like ours, that are on the ground, that are on the front end of bad corporate policies, bad government policies, and of what it would really take to change what’s going on in rural America,” she says. “We’ve continued to have similar visions of what is wrong, but also of what is possible.”

Nelson, Young, and Mellencamp remain on Farm Aid’s board and were joined by Dave Matthews in 2001. All four will be playing, along with a long list of other artists, at the 2015 concert set for Sept. 19 at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island in Chicago. Over the course of its history, Farm Aid has raised about $48 million and has a four-star rating (the highest possible) from Charity Navigator for 2013, the latest year available. Mugar says Farm Aid isn’t going away anytime soon.

“[Farm Aid’s founders] are junkyard dogs and don’t let go of the bone. We don’t have all the answers yet. There’s so much work to be done and so many people to be brought together,” she says.

Allison agrees that the struggles of family farmers are far from over and that Farm Aid is still badly needed.

“Thank God for Willie Nelson. Thank God for Farm Aid. They’re still there with us. We need them,” he says. “Together we’ve changed a lot of the bad stuff in agriculture. We’ve allowed farmers to have a new vision of a type of sustainable agriculture that we can all participate in, and profit from.”

Read article, see more photos:

Willie Nelson art, by Michelle Carlson

Monday, August 24th, 2015


art by Michelle Carlson

Michelle Carlson gave this original mosaic artwork to Willie Nelson.  About the piece, Mitch Brookman said, “The piece  was originally meant to be sold and the money received was to benefit a charity. Because of the size and breakability  of it we just presented to Willie to relieve me of the responsibility of keeping it intact. Willie was very gracious and loved it. this piece will forever hang at Whiskey River Saloon in LUCK TEXAS.

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, “Two Men With the Blues”

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

A country music icon teaming up with a jazz icon would seem to most to be an even stranger pairing than, say, a heavy metal icon with a bluegrass icon. But followers of both Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis would know that there’s hardly anything unnatural about these two teaming up to make music together.

The red-headed stranger, however, is no stranger to the blues. Willie Nelson even made all-out blues record with 2000’s Milk Cow Blues, and most of the songs were rendered in the graceful, blues-jazz style of Bessie Smith — or more recently, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson. Better yet, go back to 1978 and his landmark re-imaginings of classic jazz standards on Stardust. Nelson even guested on a Herb Ellis record saluting Western swing as a session guitarist without sounding out of place.

Wynton Marsalis, on the other hand, has long been a keeper of the flame of old-timey jazz, including music from when the lines between jazz and blues were still blurry. He adores the same old classic tunes that Willie Nelson does, and loves to render these songs with a strong sense of swing that strangely fits well with Nelson’s nasally, singular vocal delivery.

Captured live over a two-night gig at the Lincoln Center, their collaboration Two Men With the Blues arrived on July 8, 2008. It was the perfect setting. There were great acoustics, and no studio rehearsal was needed to play songs these guys know so well, anyway. Wynton Marsalis’ band was supple, tighter than a drum and swung as hard as Count Basie when called upon. Willie Nelson, meanwhile, gaves them plenty of space to strut their stuff, too.

At the same time, the old cowboy was in charge of things, delivering his lines stubbornly his own relaxed, slightly melancholy way, but then again, his own way usually transcends whatever setting is presented to him. By the way, if you liked “Rainy Day Blues” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” from Milk Cow Blues, wait until you hear it with Marsalis and his crack band backing Nelson up. Moreover, if “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It” doesn’t make you nod and grin, you’re lacking a pulse.

I’m not one to run out and snap up everything either Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis puts out, but Two Men With the Blues, a collaboration between two national treasures, was special. They brought out the best of each other, solidifying the icon status that each has earned so many years ago.

Willie Nelson and Family on Tour

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

August 19, 2015 Merriweather Post Pavilion (with Old Crow Medicine Show) Colombia, MD
August 21, 2015 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion (with Old Medicine Show) Bostin, MA
August 22, 2015 Simsbury Meadows PAC(with Old Crow Medicine Show) Simsbury, CT
August 23, 2015 Bank of NH Pavilion (with Old Crow Medicine Show) Gilford, NH
September 18, 2015 Horseshoe Casino
Hammond, IN
September 19, 2015 Farm Aid Chicago, IL
September 21, 2015 Clay Center Charleston, WV
September 22, 2015 Peace Center Greenville, SC
September 23, 2015 Innsbrook After Hours Glen Allen, VA
September 25, 2015 Chastain Park Atlanta, GA
September 26, 2015 Wind Creek Casino Wetumpka, AL
September 27, 2015 Pilgrimage Festival Franklin, TN
October 17, 2015 TBA venue, with Merle Haggard Reading, PA
October 18, 2015 American Roots Music and Arts Festival Raleigh, NC
October 24, 2015 Milwaukee Theater with Merle Haggard Milwaukee, WI
November 27, 2015 Winstar Casino Thackerville, OK

Willie Nelson & Family, with Old Medicine Show (August 22, 2015) (Simsbury)

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015


On Saturday, Aug. 22, Old Crow Medicine Show opens for Willie Nelson and Family at Simsbury Meadows in Simsbury. Showtime is 7 p.m.
by:  Michael Hamad

1997, as the Route 11 Boys, 18-year-olds Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua played a show in a Wesleyan dormitory basement, Secor had an epiphany. “It was the first time I’d ever been in command of 100 people, and these 100 people looked just like me,” he said. “But I could see that I was on my way to doing something that you couldn’t do at Wesleyan University.”

The next morning, the banjo player skipped town on a bus, and the band broke up.

“It was heavy,” Secor said. “There was more to it than that show. It was the show, and then realizing, ‘Oh, no, you can’t do this anymore. You have to go back home.’ And we did.”

Nearly two decades later, as founding members of Old Crow Medicine Show, Secor and Fuqua have toured the world. Old Crow has shared bills with Doc Watson, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, the Avett Brothers, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile and countless others. Old Crow inspired Mumford & Sons and other top-grossing folk-rock acts who’ve followed in its wake. (The Mumfords, Old Crow and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros toured the country via railroad for the documentary “Big Easy Express” in 2011.)

Inspired by Bob Dylan, Old Crow busked around New York State. In Boone, N.C., folk/bluegrass legend Doc Watson’s daughter heard them and alerted her father. Old Crow went on to land a residency at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry (the band has since been inducted) and to establish itself as a frequent musical guest on NPR’s “Prairie Home Companion.” Old Crow has also been busy in the studio; “Remedy,” its ninth studio album, was released in 2014, and subsequently won a Grammy award for Best Folk Album.

But even as the band approaches its 20th anniversary, Secor doesn’t give much thought to Old Crow’s longevity.

“Being around guys like Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson reminds you that 20 years is nothing,” he said. “It’s like a couple of bus rides.” Rather he thinks about his musical heroes (Dylan, Haggard, Nelson, Watson, Pete Seeger) more than his contemporaries (the Mumfords, the Magnetic Zeros, the Avetts, and so on).

“I’m still looking at where the torch has been passed from,” Secor said. “I’m thinking about how we can do it more like Willie Nelson. That’s really a movement. … Willie himself was thinking about what Ray Price would do, what real country music was all about. All of us, all of those bands: We’re all just looking at our heroes and trying to do right by them.”

“When Old Crow formed in 1998, I thought I’d get across the country and make some music and then do something else,” Secor said. “It is kind of a surprise that it has lasted this long, but it has gone to all of the places that I had hoped music would carry me. Old Crow has been the vehicle, so I have great respect for it.”

Secor and Fuqua met when they were 14 as seventh-graders in Harrisonburg, Va., — a place that couldn’t be more different from Middletown.

“Those 18-year-olds work at Wal-Mart, McDonald’s or a tractor supply company, or else join the Marines,” Secor said. “Those are your choices.”

“Wagon Wheel,” written by Secor around an obscure Bob Dylan chorus (Dylan shares writing credit), remains one of Old Crow’s best-known songs. It was first released on the band’s debut EP, and again on its 2004 studio album “O.C.M.S.” In 2013, Darius Rucker, the ex-Hootie and the Blowfish singer, topped the country charts with his version.

During the recording of “Remedy,” Secor jumped at a second chance to collaborate (at a distance) with Dylan, who supplied a demo of a song called “Sweet Amarillo” — written, it turns out, by Donna Weiss, Dylan’s compatriot from the 1974 Rolling Thunder Revue days.

Secor found out six months later, when the lawyers got involved, but he doesn’t hold a grudge.

“It was fun having another crack at a Bob Dylan song,” Secor said, “even though it’s not a Bob Dylan song. I’m delighted by Bob Dylan. I’m in love with Bob Dylan. I don’t care what he gives me. I don’t care who wrote it. Just the fact that the guy knows my name. I’m so enamored. The guy can say whatever he wants. The guy is 25 feet tall and plays a 60-story guitar.”

Mumford & Sons, through Old Crow’s influence, become a powerful, commercial, Grammy-winning arena act. “That’s really exciting to me,” Secor said. “We were never on the charts or anywhere you would see that sort of impact. But the fact that we helped to fuel this incredible Mumford & Sons thing, that was a way that we could be behind the scenes.”

Rucker’s success with “Wagon Wheel,” written when Secor was only 17, is further proof of Old Crow’s endurance. Still, Secor doesn’t believe like-minded bands and artists sit around listening to Old Crow albums.

“They’re all listening to Bob Dylan, like me,” Secor said. “They really ought to be listening to Bob Dylan and not my records.”

OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW opens for Willie Nelson and Family at Simsbury Meadows in Simsbury on Saturday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $38 to $98. Information:

Willie Nelson: “My Life: It’s a Long Story”, with David Ritz,

Monday, August 17th, 2015


Willie Nelson keeps it country
by:  John Spain

Back in 1977, before he became quite as famous as he is today, Willie Nelson was on a gruelling American tour with another country singer/songwriter Hank Cochran. They got a two-day break at one point and flew to the Bahamas, where Frank had a boat, to do some fishing.

Their luggage was delayed and the following morning when they went back to the airport to collect it, Willie was arrested. The customs had found a small bag of weed in his jeans.

He was thrown in jail but when he appeared in court the next day the judge let him go on condition that he never return.

Two days later, back in the US, Willie was in the White House as an overnight guest of President Carter, who was a big fan. Willie sang for his supper, there was lots of farm talk after dinner and then he and his wife retired to the Lincoln bedroom.

He lay there thinking that just a couple of days before he had been “in the pokey” and now here he was in bed in the centre of world power.

It was early for a night owl like him and he couldn’t sleep – but help was at hand. A White House staffer he knew knocked on his door and offered to give him a midnight tour of the place.

They ended up on the roof, looking at the sights against the night sky. Willie’s pal produced a joint and the pair of them chilled out as the stars twinkled above.

“Getting stoned on the roof of the White House, you can’t help but turn inward,” Willie writes in his book. “Certain philosophical questions come to mind, like … How the fuck did I get here?”

How indeed. This is just one story from Willie’s book which, although hugely entertaining, does not really provide answers. At the start of the book Willie approvingly quotes Harlan Howard, the man who wrote Patsy Cline’s I Fall to Pieces: “A song ain’t nothing but three chords and the truth.”

It’s an indication of what is to come. Willie, now 82, probably the best country songwriter ever (he wrote Crazy for the same Ms. Cline, among so many other great songs) has led an extraordinary life devoted to his music. But he tells his story in a superficial, folksy-style peppered with throwaway lines; it’s funny, but it’s also a clever way of not revealing much.

The IRS, for example, are “sons of bitches” for hitting him with a $32m bill for unpaid taxes when he was nearly 60, forcing him to sell off almost everything he owned at that point after decades of work. He blames a dodgy manager and tax shelters. But there is not nearly enough detail to explain how he got himself into such a mess, supposedly without realising it.

To be fair, for Willie it was always about the music rather than the money, so it might just be believable that he had not known his taxes were not being paid. But the same superficiality runs through the book, whether dealing with his various marriages, his wild times with Waylon, or a whole lot more that a good biographer would have explored in great depth.

The exception to this is the music, and this book will be essential reading for all aspiring country songwriters. Above all, it shows the 20 years of grinding failure he went through before he had enough success even to feed his family.

From the little town of Abbot in Texas, Willie was born in 1933 during the Depression and raised by his grandparents when his mother, who was a Cherokee, and his father, a fiddler from the Ozarks, took off.

Music on the radio was a central part of his childhood, listening to country stars like Ernest Tubb and Bob Wills, but also in his teens to Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra. If you listen to the way he sings today, playing with the phrasing, you can hear this influence.

There were other influences as well, like the blues sung by the black workers in the cotton fields where he worked as a kid, the music made by the Mexican family who lived opposite him and the polkas played by the Czech community up the road (as a youngster he even played in a polka band).

They were dirt poor, but Willie remembers a home full of love where his granddad bought him a guitar when he was seven. By the time he was 10 he had written enough songs to fill what he called ‘The Willie Nelson Songbook’. Instead of laughing, his Granny recognised his talent and encouraged him. Soon he was playing in dance halls and honky tonks and the pattern of his life had been set.

It may come as a surprise to learn that he spent many years working as a DJ in several cities, playing the bars at night and trying to get record industry people to listen to his songs. He slept in his car at times, while his family were living in the grimy trailer park later made famous by his buddy, Roger Miller, in the song King of the Road.

The best part of the book describes the years of grind, the long nights of near despair when he was turned down by yet another bar owner or record label who didn’t “get” his music.

It was out of this came the great songs like Crazy, The Night Life, On the Road Again, Always on My Mind, and so on.

Willie Nelson and Family in Atlantic City (August 16, 2015)

Monday, August 17th, 2015

by Dan DeLuca

Willie Nelson is an extraordinary octogenarian. The 82 year old Red Headed Stranger – still ponytailed, though now mostly gray –  played outdoors at the Borgata Festival Park in Atlantic City on Sunday, and he was frisky and inventive all night long.

The tour stop with openers Old Crow Medicine Show was billed as a “Willie Nelson & Family” concert, but with Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah off backing up Neil Young this summer, the only family member on stage throughout the briskly paced, 90 minute set was his piano playing older sister Bobbie.

The other band members, though – starting with drummer Paul English and harmonica player Mickey Raphael, who have both been aboard since 1973 – are so simpatico with their boss that they might as well be blood relatives. And they follow their amiable Abbot, Texas-born national treasure leader – with a beat-up gut string Martin classical guitar, nicknamed Trigger, hung around his neck with a red white and blue strap – wherever he takes them.

On this breezy evening at the spiffy Festival Park, where the crowd mellowed out on a field of Astro-Turf and marveled at the high quality bathrooms (air conditioned trailers, not port-o-potties), the masterfully understated, nasal-voiced singer led the way on a gypsy jazz tour of the country, blues and roots music that is commonly known as Americana but might just as accurately be called Willie Nelson Music.

Kicking off with his version of Johnny Bush’s “Whiskey River,” Nelson dove right in to the stream of Zen wisdom that coarses through his ragged but right body of work, calling out for “Still Is Still Moving To Me.” “I can be moving or I can be still,” the (still) always on the road singer sang. “But still is still moving to me.” The set that followed was full of forward momentum as it delivered self-penned signature songs (“Nite Life,” “Crazy,” “Always On My Mind”) that were tinged with melancholy as Nelson, as his wont, let his scratchy voice linger as he sang behind the beat, pulling out hard earned life lessons (“Love’s the greatest healer to be found”; “Little things I should have said and done, I just never took the time”) as he moved steadily along.

There were covers of favored songwriters, with Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind” slyly packaged with Billy Joe Shaver’s “Georgia On A Fast Train,” and nods to Tom T. Hall and Hank Williams. The only guitarist in the confidently ambling band, Nelson played brittle, expressive leads, saying as much, as always, with the notes he didn’t play as with those he did.

Two thirds of the way through, he got around to Django & Jimmy, his new album with old pal Merle Haggard, named after their heroes Reinhardt and Rodgers, with the jokey but well crafted “It’s All Going to Pot.” The song was a cheery crowd pleaser fro the intergenerational audience, but its puns about the passage of time and the recreational weed that Nelson’s name is synonymous with gave way to songs that each, in their own way, were about death.

Nelson brought Old Crow on stage for two spirited hymns that confront the afterlife with doubt and belief in “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” and “I’ll Fly Away.” And he also he another cheeky marijuana song – sung in the set and then reprised as an encore with his openers – that suggest that best use for his remains when he passes away: “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”

Nashville string band Old Crow’s members switched up their instruments – guitars, banjo, mandolins, harmonicas, fiddles – throughout an hour plus set full of breakneck speed fiddle tunes and two stepping honky tonkers. Leader Ketch Secors is relentlessly energetic showman, and  he fronts a spirited unit whose fleetly-flecked idea of a good time is expressed in the song “8 Dogs, 8 Banjos” from 2014’s Remedy, which celebrated various pleasures including “hot coffee, sweet tea” and “corn whiskey, dirt weed.”

Secors sang a hurried version of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery,” and brought out Raphael for “Cocaine Habit.” The harp player stuck around for Wagon Wheel”  Old Crow’s most recognizable song, a rewritten Bob Dylan tune which was a #1 country hit in 2013 for Darius Rucker, who played the previous evening.  Along with his impressive command of various American idioms, Secors proved himself a master of localized stage patter, with references to Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, the Jersey Devil and New Jersey Turnpike toll plazas. “Summertime on the Jersey coastline,” he asked. “What could be finer on God’s green earth?”  On this particularly pleasant night, few gathered on the Astro-Turf field could have suggested a better alternative.

Willie Nelson and Family at Celebrate Brooklyn! (Prospect Park)

Saturday, August 15th, 2015












Toby Keith’s Oklahoma Twister Concert Slideshow (July 6, 2013)

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

On July 6, 2013, over 60,000 fans gathered to hear Toby Keith and his friends, and support the people devastated by at Tornado.

The concert was held at the University of Oklahoma’s Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., just outside Oklahoma City and not far from Moore, a town hit hard by tornado in May of 2013.  Along with Toby Keith, was Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Dunn, Mel Tillis, John Anderson, Sammy Hagar, Krystal Keith, Kellie Coffey, and (via satellite) Carrie Underwood.

Related: Toby Keith Talks Oklahoma Tornado Relief Concert

Despite the heat, remained energetic throughout, both for the artists and the cause. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund.

Get Pre-Sale Tickets to see Willie Nelson @ American Roots Music & Arts Festival (Oct 17, 18, 2015) (Raleigh, NC)

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

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The festival will take place on Saturday, October 17 & Sunday, October 18 at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, NC.
Presale Code: ARRALEIGH2015

Buy Pre-Sale Tickets Now »


North Carolina’s own Eric Church, headlines two days of an extraordinary line-up of artists including Willie Nelson, Modest Mouse, Sheryl Crow, The Roots, Warren Haynes, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Grace Potter, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Chris Stapleton, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, and Greensky Bluegrass. Additional performers and special events will be announced in the coming weeks. The festival will take place on Saturday, October 17 & Sunday, October 18 at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, NC.

“Raleigh has an energy that celebrates the best in music, food and arts, making it the perfect place to launch the American Roots Music & Arts Festival. This incredible line-up headlined by North Carolina’s own Eric Church along with The Taste of Raleigh Food & Brews Celebration will give music fans and the Raleigh community an unforgettable experience,”says Keith Wortman, CEO of Blackbird Production Partners, LLC.

“The American Roots Music & Arts Festival will be THE event of the season,” says Wilson Howard, President Live Nation Southeast. “We could not be more excited to present such an incredible line-up of artists headlined by North Carolina’s own Eric Church. Live Nation and Blackbird are thrilled to bring a two-day festival of this magnitude to the Triangle area community.  Don’t miss out!” |

Line up:

Willie Nelson, Vanity Fair (November 2003)

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

Willie Nelson, by Annie Leibovitz, on the cover of Vanity Fair

Willie Nelson lives on the road. So it made perfect sense for him to just park the tour bus on the street outside Annie Leibowitz ‘s studio sometime in the middle of the night before the shoot. (We got the permit.) By his own account, the 70-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer is tough and stuborn and knows what he wants. When asked if he would like to put on one of the many cowboy hats that had been collected for him, he said, “You mean as opposed to the one I’m wearing?” leaving little room for discussion.

He’s also a charmer, an elequent poet, a songwriter, actor, Farm Aid Co-Founder, and golfer who, in his 40-year career has made records and performed in concerts with practically everyone — including Frank Sinatra, Keith Richards, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow and Julio Iglesias. One of his favorite duet partners is Norah Jones, and at our shoot these two very private stars were clearly pleased to have some time to sit next to each other and catch up. Later, posing duties over, Willie got back on his bus to go to New Jersey for a show on the never ending tour that is his life.

by Lisa Robinson .

Annie Leibovitz: American Jewish Photographer, born October 2nd, 1949 in Westbury, Connecticut, She is the third of six children, her great grandparents were Russian Jews and her father’s parents emigrated from Romania. Her mother was a modern dance instructor and her father was a lieutenant colonel for the U.S. Air Force. They moved a lot because of her father’s work and took her first photographs in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. When she was in high school she became very artistic and interested in music and writing. She attended the San Francisco Art institute where she studied painting. Later. she kept developing her photography skills and soon learned to adapt Jewish concepts to her photographs in certain jobs.

When the Rolling Stone magazine was just launched in the 1970s, Leibovitz started her career as a staff photographer for them. In 1973, she was titled chief photographer for the Rolling Stone which she would continue on for 10 years. Most of her intimate photographs of celebrities is what helped define the Rolling Stone look; Photographers such as Robert One of Her first assignment was to shoot John Lennon.

Willie Nelson and Webb Pierce, “In the Jailhouse Now”

Saturday, August 8th, 2015


Happy Birthday to Webb Pierce, born August 8, 1921, in West Monroe, Louisiana.  One of the biggest honky-tonk stars of the 1950s, reaching the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.  He and Willie Nelson recorded a great album together.

Farm Aid 2015 Concert in Chicago, Illinois (September 19, 2015)

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Dear Family Farm Supporter,

We’re excited to announce that Farm Aid is bringing our 30th anniversary concert to Chicago, Illinois, on Saturday, September 19. Farm Aid 30 comes to FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island to shine a spotlight on the family farmers whose hard work and ingenuity are essential for all of us.

Farm Aid 30 will feature Willie Nelson & Family, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson and many more artists. Get the full lineup here.

Farm Aid 30 will be a full day of incredible music, HOMEGROWN Concessions® featuring family farm food, hands-on activities in Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village and, of course, family farmers. Don’t miss it!

Ticket Presale Starts Tomorrow

Our ticket presale gives you access to the best seats in the house -before the tickets go on sale to the public. The Farm Aid presale starts tomorrow, Wednesday, July 29 at noon CDT – visit for all the information you need!

Public Ticket Sale

Tickets for Farm Aid 30 go on sale Monday, August 3, at 10 a.m. CDT, at, the venue box office, or by phone at 800-745-3000. Ticket prices range from $49.50 to $189.50.

Join us on the #Road2FarmAid

As Farm Aid celebrates 30 years of action to keep family farmers on the land, we want to hear from you. We know that real change happens when we all work together. We have all played an important part in building the Good Food Movement.

Actions that may seem simple can add up to make a big difference. Tell us what you’re doing to make a difference on the #Road2FarmAid and you could win Farm Aid memorabilia and tickets to Farm Aid 30 on September 19.

Bid on Unique Concert Experiences to Support Farm Aid

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences, from meeting Willie Nelson on his legendary tour bus to joining Farm Aid Board Artists for a concert kick-off event, are available on

Get Connected

For the latest concert updates and information all summer long,  like us on Facebook , and  follow @FarmAid on Twitter and Instagram. Keep an eye out for the Farm Aid 30 app for iPhone and Android, coming soon!