Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Edie Brickell and Paul Simon serenade Willie Nelson with, “Remember Me” @GershwinPrize concert

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

11-18-2015 Library Of Congress Gershwin Honors Willie Nelson-34
photos: Janis Tillerson

Edie Brickell and Paul Simon were two of the artists/Willie Nelson Fans who performed last Wednesday at the DAR Constitution Hall, for the concert honoring Willie Nelson. They dug deep back into Willie’s amazing cataloge from the Red Headed Stranger album for this song. So beautiful.

11-18-2015 Library Of Congress Gershwin Honors Willie Nelson-38

>11-18-2015 Library Of Congress Gershwin Honors Willie Nelson-37
The love birds held hands every minute, except when they were playing guitar and singing of course.

11-18-2015 Library Of Congress Gershwin Honors Willie Nelson-35

The entire concert will air on PBS on Jan 15.

Willie Nelson Poster @Ritz Theater — for sale, to benefit theater

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

by:  Esther Hackleman

At more than 40 years old, three restored concert posters don’t look their age.

Corpus Christi Patch is selling reprints of the three vintage originals displaying Ritz Theatre headliners Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett and Bo Diddley.

“The poster project is kicking off a new focus on fundraising for the Ritz, looking for a new leadership team and interest,” said Monica Sawyer, president of Corpus Christi Patch, a nonprofit dedicated to the theater’s restoration.

Fans will be able to buy the prints in two sizes, mini and 16-by-20-inch posters, and four options ranging from $15 to $100. The posters advertise concerts for Willie Nelson, who performed on Oct. 12, 1974; Jimmy Buffett, who performed on Dec. 6, 1974; and Bo Diddley, who performed on Dec. 31, 1974.

“We started the campaign looking for small ways to raise money while utilizing part of the Ritz history,” Sawyer said.

Depending on the success of the fundraiser, Corpus Christi Patch may continue the series of reprints with other well-known artists who have performed at the downtown theater.

As of 10:30 a.m. Thursday, the project had reached its $1,000 goal, launched on the popular crowdfunding website Indiegogo, but Sawyer said the campaign will remain open until Sunday at midnight.


How to help

What: Ritz Theatre poster project
When: Until midnight Sunday
Cost: $15-$100

Information: Call 361-887-6055 or donate to the Ritz Theatre’s poster project online at Indiegogo.

See the other posters here.

Thursday, November 5th, 2015


Willie Nelson to be honored with Library of Congress Award (11/18/15)

Friday, October 23rd, 2015


The Library of Congress will celebrate Willie Nelson’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song with a tribute concert Wednesday, November 18 at Washington’s DAR Constitution Hall.

The musically diverse line-up includes Rosanne Cash, Alison KraussJamey Johnson and the Mavericks’ Raul Malo, as well as legends like Paul Simon and Neil Young. Simon was actually the first person presented the honor, with Willie becoming the eighth to join the esteemed ranks.

Even though he recently postponed dates on his Django and Jimmie Tour with Merle Haggard because of an unnamed health concern, Willie is set to be on hand as well. The show will air nationwide on PBS on Friday, January 15 at 9 p.m. ET.

Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard rescheduled to Play Florence, SC on May 19, 2016

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

by:  Deborah Swearingen

FLORENCE, S.C. — A new date has been set for the recently postponed Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard concert in Florence.

The two will take the stage at the Florence Civic Center on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

The Oct. 15 show was postponed after the venue received a statement from Nelson’s team the morning of Oct. 14, saying Nelson had a medical problem.

“I am a fan. I was a little disappointed when I first out myself,” said Nick Hooker, senior marketing manager at the civic center. “It was unfortunate circumstances; however, the focus is on Willie Nelson’s health and to make sure that he can recover.”

All previously purchased tickets will be honored for the new date.

But Hooker said he knows the cancellation was last minute, and the venue will be offering refunds at the original point of purchase for those who can’t make the show.

Those who couldn’t attend the Oct. 15 show or never bought tickets now have another chance to see Nelson and Haggard perform together. Tickets are still available, with prices ranging from $30 to $55.

Tickets can be purchased online through or by calling the Florence Civic Center box office at 843-679-4525.

Willie Nelson in Las Vegas

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

photo:  Tom Dooughue
An Evening With Willie Nelson & Family” at Reynolds Hall in Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013.
by:  Robin Leach

He is 82 years old, but Willie Nelson is on the road again and set to perform at the Venetian theater next spring before his first-ever Daytona 500 over Memorial Day Weekend in May. Willie, who performed at our Smith Center for the Performing Arts in April 2013 and again last August, reportedly will be here next April after the Gator Jam Festival in Miami.

More and more, it seems like Las Vegas is becoming a suburb of Nashville — or even a competitor. We’ve had a string of successful residencies to prove the point with Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn and most recently The Judds.

Now comes whispered word that country music legend and multi-Grammy Award winner Ronnie Milsap will bring his farewell tour to Green Valley Ranch Resort next February on its last night. He chose the venue having performed numerous shows for Station Casinos owners during his more than 50 years in the music industry.

Ronnie received classical training at Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, N.C., where he notoriously frustrated his teachers by banging out Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard on the keyboard when he was supposed to be practicing Mozart and Beethoven.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard in Roanoke, VA (10/19/15)

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015


photo by:  Erica Yoon

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard performed at the Berglund Center Coliseum on October 19, 2015.

Nelson and Haggard’s new album Django and Jimmie was No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart this year. The two last had a No. 1 album together in 1983 with Pancho & Lefty.

Sturgill Simpson covers Willie Nelson on Austin City Limits Debut

Saturday, October 17th, 2015
by: Andrew Leahy

Sturgill Simpson makes his Austin City Limits debut this weekend, nearly 41 years to the day since Willie Nelson headlined the show’s pilot episode on October 14, 1974. Paying respect to the outlaws who came before him, Simpson turns in a respectful, reverent version of “I’d Have to Be Crazy” halfway through his set, singing the familiar ballad — which was written by Steven Fromholz and popularized by Nelson on 1976’s The Sound in Your Mind — with a country croon punctuated by a bluegrass holler.

rummer Miles Miller, bassist Kevin Black, keyboardist Jeff Crow and guitar phenom Laur Joamets get a piece of the action, too. With Joamets emulating the sweeps and swells of a pedal-steel guitar, the band keeps things gorgeously understated throughout. The loudest sounds come from the audience, whose members let out roars of approval every time Simpson’s voice leaps into a higher register. Watch the performance, which airs this Saturday evening, October 17th, on PBS, above.

Backed by a different group of musicians, Simpson recorded a similar version of “I’d Have to Be Crazy” on his first solo album, High Top Mountain, which preceded the career-breaking Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by a year. Since then, the Kentucky native has become one of the decade’s biggest success stories in country music, winning critical acclaim and commercial acceptance while still steering clear of the mainstream.

Simpson’s Austin City Limits set represents another checked box on a long list of late-night TV show appearances, festival gigs and other high-profile performances, rounding out a promotional cycle for Metamodern Sounds that’s virtually unparalleled in the Americana world. His third album, which will double as his major-label debut for Atlantic, is expected to arrive sometime next year.

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What hasn’t Willie Nelson done for us lately

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

In our series, What Have You Done For Us Lately? we examine the recent output by legendary artists. Sure, we’re happy when they return with a new album… but really, just how happy are we? We’ll gauge their output since 2000 (or, for less prolific artists, their last five albums), take a hard look and see how their recent material has held up… and maybe help you to find a few gems that you overlooked.

It’s a bit churlish to ask what Willie Nelson has done for us lately: Dude just turned 80 and released yet another new album, Lets Face The Music And Dance, which sees him performing a bunch of standards from the likes of Irving Berlin and Django Reinhardt backed by a small combo. Furthermore, Nelson tours all the time (he takes that “On The Road Again” thing pretty seriously) and seems to release at least one album per year — sometimes more, plus singles and collaborations.

To provide the scope of his work, we’re checking out select works from his discography, stretching back to 2000. Since the turn of the millennium, Willie seems willing to give just about anything a try. Happily, much of it works.

Milk Cow Blues – 2000

Willie Nelson Milk Cow Blues

In which Willie collaborates with blues legends (B.B. King, Dr. John) and younger artists (Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Johnny Lang, Susan Tedeschi). Rolling Stone gave it 3 1/2 stars, calling it “emotionally rich, musically savory and languidly blue from end to end.” A good listen, but not a classic.

Rainbow Connection – 2001

Willie Nelson Rainbow Connection

It’s sort of a children’s album, and, yes, the title track is a cover of theKermit The Frog classic from The Muppet Movie. That provides the album’s highlight, but another cool track is his cover of “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” Written by Mickey Newbury, it was originally a hit in 1968 for The First Edition, a group that featured Kenny Rogers on lead vocals. Rainbow Connection also includes vintage covers like Rex Griffin’s “Won’t You Ride in My Little Red Wagon” and Jimmie Dolan’s “Playin’ Dominoes and Shootin’ Dice.” Rolling Stone gave this one 3 1/2 stars as well, andPopmatters said “This is probably Nelson’s most casual and intimate album of recent years.”

The Great Divide – 2002

Willie Nelson The Great Divide

In which Willie’s record label – Lost Highway – made him goSupernatural. His former collaborator Carlos Santana had incredible success with that album of all-star collaborations, featuring a contribution from red-hot Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas. Willie’s album was kind of like that, minus the multi-platinum sales and multiple GRAMMYS. “Mendocino County Line,” a duet with Lee Ann Womack (written by mb20 collaborator Matt Sereltic and Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin) brought him back to country radio (briefly) – it was a Top 40 country hit. Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt also appeared on the album… as did Rob Thomas who sang on, and wrote, “Maria (Shut Up And Kiss Me).” The album’s best moment was possibly a cover of Kenny Rogers & The First Edition’s psychedelic hit “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” which, yes, he previously recorded (with a very different arrangement) on Rainbow Connection.

Run That By Me One More Time (with Ray Price) – 2003

Willie Nelson and Ray Price Run That By Me One More Time

Nelson collaborates with honky-tonk legend Ray Price, who also happens to be his former boss (he played bass in Price’s band in the early ’60s). Fans who complain about Willie getting away from his country roots should check out this album, which got very little attention but deserved much more. Run That By Me should easily make any list, in any genre, of “Most Underrated Albums Of The 2000s.”

It Will Always Be – 2004

Willie Nelson It Will Always Be

This is one of Willie’s finest post-millenial efforts, and maybe one of his best ever. The title track was written by Willie and features no guest collaborators–something he should do more often.  That said, other songs on this album do include some great collaborations: his daughter Laura wrote the lovely ballad “Be That As It May” and lends her voice to it as well. Norah Jones sings on “Dreams Come True,” and Lucinda Williams appears on an update of her own “Overtime.” The highlight of the album, though, may be Willie’s cover of Tom Waits’ “Picture In A Frame.” Other standout tracks include “I Didn’t Come Here (And I Ain’t Leavin’)” and a cover of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider” featuring Toby Keith.

Countryman – 2005

Willie Nelson Countryman

Countryman is Willie’s “we hope you like our new direction” album. Although he’s taken plenty of stylistic left turns throughout his career, this reggae album was his most drastic. Why would he make a reggae album? The pot leaf on the cover points out one thing he has in common with many reggae artists. Equally telling was the fact that the album was started in 1995 but took a decade to finish. A funny idea on paper, perhaps, but the finished product really doesn’t work. That said, there are some cool moments, including a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Worried Man” (with reggae legend Toots Hibbert), a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s classic “The Harder They Come,” and Willie’s own “Do You Mind Too Much If I Don’t Understand.”

The Dukes Of Hazzard – 2005 
Which was Willie’s craziest move of 2005: releasing a reggae album, or collaborating with Jessica Simpson? Willie costarred with the blonde bombshell in the Dukes Of Hazzard film and cameo’ed on her cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” that she recorded for the film. Less weird was Willie’s cover of the TV show’s theme, “Good Ol’ Boys,” originally written and recorded by Willie’s palWaylon Jennings.

“He Was A Friend Of Mine” / “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond Of Each Other” – 2005-’06
Willie showed his support of the LGBT community twice during the mid-’00s.  In 2005, he covered Bob Dylan’s “He Was A Friend Of Mine,” changing the meaning quite a bit, for the classic film Brokeback Mountain. The next year, he followed with a cover of “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond Of Each Other,” originally done by Ned Sublette in 1981.

“Superman” – 2005
Willie makes fun of his fondness for mind-altering substances (“Too many pain pills, too much pot, trying to be something that I’m not”) and remembers that he isn’t as tough as he used to be (“Well I blew my throat and I blew my tour, I wound up sippin’ on soup d’jour”). This was released as an iTunes exclusive.

You Don’t Know Me: The Songs Of Cindy Walker – 2006

Willie Nelson You Don't Know Me The Songs Of Cindy Walker

This was Willie’s tribute to Cindy Walker, a legendary singer/songwriter from the 1940s and ’50s who wrote many classics for western swing legend Bob Wills. The title track–cowritten by Eddy Arnold (who cut a version in 1955) and later included on Ray Charles‘ groundbreaking Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music–is one of this album’s many highlights. Like Run That By Me One More Time, it’s another album that will appeal to Willie’s purist fans, and one that, unfortunately, didn’t get the attention it deserved. Sadly, Walker (who, like Willie, is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame) died less than two weeks after the album’s release.

Songbird – 2006

Willie Nelson Songbird

Also known as “The Ryan Adams Album”… even by Willie. Lost Highway put Ryan (and his then-band, The Cardinals) in the studio with Willie, possibly hoping to tap into Adams’ younger, hipper fanbase. Not a fan favorite, Songbird still had some great moments, including the title track–a cover of the Christine McVie-penned Fleetwood Mac classic–the Grateful Dead’s “Stella Blue,” Gram Parson’s “$1000 Wedding,” and even Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

“Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)” – 2007
A somewhat more successful attempt to endear Willie to indie rockers than Songbird, this Bob Dylan cover from the soundtrack to I’m Not There (itself a Dylan tribute) saw Nelson backed by Arizona rockers Calexico. And it begged the question: Why doesn’t he pair with them for a full album?

Last Of The Breed (with Merle Haggard and Ray Price) – 2007

Willie Nelson Merle Haggard Ray Price Last Of The Breed

This collaborative release with two country legends (Ray Price andMerle Haggard) ranks as another of Willie’s occasional roots-oriented “resets.” They never get the attention that his more “stunty” albums do, which is a shame. This double album showed that the three veterans were still at the top of their respective games, although there are few new songs.

Moment Of Forever – 2008

Willie Nelson Moment Of Forever

Produced by country superstar Kenny Chesney, Moment of Foreverwas another attempt to re-endear Nelson to mainstream country audiences. It didn’t really work. There were interesting covers, however, such as Dave Matthews’ “Gravedigger,” Randy Newman’s “Louisiana,” Big & Rich’s “The Bob Song,” and Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

Two Men With The Blues (with Wynton Marsalis) – 2008

Willie Nelson Wynton Marsalis Two Men With The Blues

One of Willie’s more interesting experiments, Nelson and longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael joined legendary jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and his backing combo for a few concerts at New York’s Jazz At Lincoln Center. They took on standards like “Bright Lights, Big City,” “Nightlife” and “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It.”  The genre-crossing effort resonated with jazz fans, topping Billboard‘s jazz chart for four weeks, and hitting number 20 on the Billboard 200 album charts.

Willie And The Wheel (With Asleep At The Wheel) – 2009

Willie Nelson and Asleep At The Wheel Willie And The Wheel

If you’re looking for a Willie album that’s fun from start to finish, look no further. Willie gets back to his Texas swing roots and parties like it’s 1929 with Asleep At The Wheel. If you missed this album in ’09, we recommend catching up on this one.

American Classic – 2009

Willie Nelson American Classic

In the wake of Rod Stewart’s success with the Great American Songbook, it was tempting for any artist to dive in and try for platinum sales. Of course, Willie had jumped in that pool before, most notably on his classic 1978 album Stardust. This one didn’t work out quite as well; Rolling Stone said that Nelson “can be kind of lazy” and that “he only occasionally sounds like he’s trying.”

Country Music – 2010

Willie Nelson Country Music

Produced by T-Bone Burnett, Willie gets the O Brother Where Art Thou treatment, playing traditional country songs surrounded by a mandolins, fiddles and acoustic guitars. One of Willie’s most enjoyable albums of the past 15 years.

Remember Me, Volume 1 – 2011

Willie Nelson Remember Me, Vol. 1

He might have called this one Country Music had he not already used the title for the previous year’s release. Here, backed by Nashville musicians, he recorded covers of some of the biggest country music hits of the past 70 years, including George Jones‘ “Why Baby Why,” Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On,” and Tex Williams’ “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette).” There has yet to be a Volume 2 of the series.

Heroes – 2012

Willie Nelson Heroes

Heroes is not quite a duets album, and not a covers album, although it has plenty of both. Sheryl Crow appears on a cover of Tom Waits’ “Come On Up To The House”; other covers include Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” and Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” both lovely and neither feeling like a stunt. But the album’s big winner is the one song that he’s been using in his encores, “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die,” which features Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson and fellow ganja enthusiast Snoop Dogg. As great as some of Willie’s recent material has been, he rarely adds any of it to his setlists. “Roll Me Up” and a version of “Beer For My Horses” (a 2003 Toby Keith single that featured Nelson and spent six weeks at No. 1 on the country charts) are among the few recent songs he’s included in his live shows of late. Willie plays “Roll Me Up,” tellingly, during the gospel segment of his show.

The Verdict
Willie just turned 80, so the fact that he’s released 17 albums in the past 13 years is stunning. A household name and a country music legend (not to mention a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame), the man has nothing to prove. And yet he still works at a furious pace, continuously exploring new avenues but always returning to the country music that made him a star.

While some of his albums are clunkers and others are just dull, he has enjoyed more than a few incredible post-millenial moments. It Will Always BeRun That By Me One More Time and Willie And The Wheel, to name three, hold up to some of his best work. His concerts, though, often feature the same songs he’s been playing forever, so it would be cool if he was as open to new things when assembling his setlists as he is when in the studio. 

More from Brian Ives

Willie Nelson and Family on Tour

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

October 15, 2015 Florence Civic Center (with Merle Haggard)
(POSTPONED to 4/6/16)
Florence, SC
October 16, 2015 Bergland Center Coliseum (with Merle Haggard)(POSTPONED to 10/19/15) Roanoke, VA
October 17, 2015 Santander Areana (with Merle Haggard) (CANCELLED) Raleigh, NC
October 18, 2015 American Roots Music and Arts Festival Raleigh, NC
October 20, 2015 Fox Theater (with Merle Haggard) Detroit. MI
October 21, 2015 Indiana University Auditorium (with Merle Haggard) Bloomington, IN
October 23, 2015 Eastern Kentucky Expo Center (with Merle Haggard) Pikeville, KY
October 24, 2015 Milwaukee Theater (with Merle Haggard) Milwaukee, WI
October 25, 2015 Theater at the Resch Center (with Merle Haggard) Greene Bay, WI
November 20, 2015 Milwaukee Theater  Milwaukee, WI
November 21, 2015 Milwaukee Theater (with Merle Haggard) Milwaukee, WI
November 22, 2015 Buffalo Run Casino Miami, OK
November 24, 2015 Stafford Center Stafford, TX 
November 25, 2015 Civic Center Abilene, TX
November 27, 2015 Winstar Casino Thackerville, OK
November 28, 2015 Billy Bob’s Texas Ft. Worth, TX
November 29, 2015 Lee County Event Center Hobbes, NM
December 29, 30, 31, 2015 ACL Moody Theater (with Kacey Musgrave) Austin, TX

Willie Nelson, and Sister Bobbie, “December Day”

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015


Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie
December Day
(Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1)

1. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (Irving Berlin)
2. Permanently Lonely (Willie Nelson)
3. What’ll I Do (Irving Berlin)
4. Summer of Roses / December Day (Willie Nelson)
5. Nuages (Django Reinhardt)
6. Mona Lisa (Ray Evans & Jay Livingston)
7. I Don’t Know Where I Am Today (Willie Nelson)
8. Amnesia (Willie Nelson)
9. Who’ll Buy My Memories (Willie Nelson)
10. The Anniversary Song (Al Jolson & Saul Chaplin)
11. Laws of Nature (Willie Nelson)
12. Walkin’ (Willie Nelson)
13. Always (Irving Berlin)
14. I Let My Mind Wander (Willie Nelson)
15. Is the Better Part Over (Willie Nelson)
16. My Own Peculiar Way (Willie Nelson)
17. Sad Songs and Waltzes (Willie Nelson)

Willie Nelson, EmmyLou Harris, “Poncho and Lefty”

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

This day in Willie Nelson History: Farm Aid 25 (Milwaukee) (10/2/11)

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Farm Aid 25th Anniversary Concert at Miller Park on October 2, 2010 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

photo:  P. Natkin

Rolling Stone
November 2010
by Austin Scaggs

On the morning of Farm Aid’s 25th anniversary concert in Milwaukee, as rain pelted his tour bus, Willie Nelson reminisced about how it began.  “I remember hearing Bob Dylan say at Live Aid, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if some of this money stayed here for the farmers?’” said Nelson, holding court at the dining table, with a pack of Zig-Zags and a lighter in his left hand. “I said, ‘The man’s right!  We should take care of our own!”


Eleven hours and 16 acts later (including fellow Farm Aid board members Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, as well as Jeff Tweedy, Nora Jones, Band of Horses and Kenny Chesney, Nelson closed the 25th Farm Aid with a surprise guest:  Steven Tyler, who injected life into the marathon concert and inspired the loudest roar of the day from the 35,000.  The pair dueted on the Tyler-penned country ballad, “One Time Too Many” and Aerosmith’s “Once is Enough” as their Farm Aid co-stars watched from the wings.   “Just to sit on the side of the stage and watch Willie is the coolest,” said Matthews.  “He’s my hero.”

With rain falling and temperatures in the 40s, a decision was made early to close Miller Park’s retractable roof.  “It’s like playing in a giant plastic ball,” Matthews remarked, but Young used the staium’s booming acoustics to his advantage, creating swirls of feedback during his solo electric set on classics like “Down by the River,” “Ohio” and “Long May You Run.”

“Factory farms are the reason we have food alerts,” Young told the crowd.  “They are the reason why we have dying people and disease.”  Young — joined by Matthews, Mellencamp and Nelson — closed his set with the 1970’s jam, “Homegrown,” a Farm Aid staple.

Matthews — in his 13th Farm Aid performance since 1995 — appeared with guitarist Tim Reynolds and hit on “All Along the Watchtower,” “Don’t Drink the Water” and cuts from his 2003 solo album, “Some Devil.

“There is a sincerity in this organization that is unlike a lot of charitable concerts,” Matthews said, hanging out in his tour bus.  “Like Live Earth — that left a bad taste in my mouth.  But with Farm Aid there’s an honesty and a real clear goal that is to raise awareness about the unforgivable way that the government treats the small farmers in America, where a majority of subsidies go to giant corporations and big agribusinesses.”

Nora Jones, alternating between guitar and piano, sauntered through “Come Away With Me,” Johnny Cash’s “Cry, Cry, Cry” and “How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart” (Hank Williams’ lyrics set to music by Jones).  After celebrating her first Farm Aid in the dugout with a vodka cocktail, Jones re-emerged for the all-star finale of “Good Hearted Woman,” a song Nelson wrote with Waylon Jennings.

This year’s event raised more than $2 million, bringing Farm Aid’s 25-year total to $39 million.  “I was seven when I watched the first Farm Aid on TV,” marveled Band of Horses singer Ben Bridwell backstage.  “I’ve known about it longer than I’ve known my colors or how to do long division.  You say yes to just be in these dude’s company, but the fact that we’re in this for the most noble of causes makes it so fucking cool.”

“As the family farmer goes, so goes America,” John Mellencamp said, before tearing through “Pink Houses,” “Save Some Time to Dream” and “Scarecrow,” which he also performed at the inaugural benefit, held in Champaign, Illionis in 1985.

Before his set, he puffed on American Spirits in his Airstream trailer outside the venue.  Mellencamp reminisced about that first show, “Everybody in the fucking world was there,” he said.  “And I remember, for 45 minutes after the show, I had to wait on the bus for Willie, who was out there signing autographs.  When he finally got on the bus, I asked, ‘What the fuck took so long, Willie?’  And he goes, ‘Something you should think about.  I’ve got to take care of the people who take care of us.’”

Jen Bronenkant took this great photo of Willie Nelson and Steven Tyler at the Farm Aid concert in Milwaukee, on October 2, 2010.

Mellencamp, who noted taht Farm Aid is the longest-running music charity in history, also had a request.  “Willie deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.  We’re all just Willie’s little helpers.”

I encourage you to purchase the November 2010 Rolling Stone.

How would you like your coffee? With Willie Nelson, of course

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015



or in a Willie Nelson coffee mug, at least.  I’ve never seen this one.  Thanks, Phil.  This is a nice one.

Willie Nelson @ 1st annual Pilgrimage Music Festival

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015


photo:  Terry Wyatt
by:  Kris Rutledge

The Pilgrimage Music Festival had many people scratching their heads in its inaugural year. Not only was the Tennessee-based festival taking place in late-September, it was set to end at 7:30 p.m. both nights. The headliners didn’t follow any sort of musical pattern (except that their names all begin with the letter W), and the location was a place most people had never heard of. So how exactly did Pilgrimage Festival end up being one of the best festivals of 2015?

On its website the fest says it’s inspired by friendship, history, and the desire to create a meaningful experience. So it only makes sense that the lineup and festival grounds would reflect that. In terms of history and meaningful experiences, you can’t go wrong with Wilco, Weezer and Willie Nelson.

Willie Nelson played a smooth set heavy on hits and cover songs.  Country’s greatest living legend always lives up to his name.  This was my sixth time seeing Nelson and along with Neil Young he’s the most consistent classic act around, and as exciting of a performer today as he ever was.

Read ‘s complete review of the festival here: