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Willie Nelson Fun Facts

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Here’s a look at the life of Grammy Award-winning musician Willie Nelson.

Birth date: April 30, 1933

Birth place: Abbott, Texas

Birth name: Willie Hugh Nelson

Father: Ira Nelson

Mother: Myrle (Greenhaw) Harvey

Marriages: Ann Marie D’Angelo (1991-present); Connie Koepke (1971-1988, divorced); Shirley Collie (1963-1971, divorced); Martha Matthews (1952-1962, divorced)

Children: with Ann Marie D’Angelo: Micah and Lukas; with Connie Koepke: Amy and Paula; with Martha Matthews: Billy (died in 1991), Susie, Lana; with Mary Haney: Renee

Education: Attended Baylor University, 1954

Military: US Air Force, 1950, medical discharge

Other Facts:
Raised by his grandparents.

Sold encyclopedias door-to-door and taught Sunday school.

Has collaborated with Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Lee Ann Womack, Rob Thomas and Snoop Dogg, among others.

Has a fifth-degree black belt in GongKwon YuSul.

Nominated for 49 Grammy Awards and won eight. He has also been awarded the Lifetime Achievement and Legend Grammy Awards.

Nominated for one Academy Award.

Composed the song “Crazy,” which was made famous by singer Patsy Cline.

Is on the advisory board of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

1957 – Releases his first single, “No Place for Me.”

1960 – Moves to Nashville.

1962 – Releases his first album, “And Then I Wrote.”

1970 – Moves back to Texas.

1973 – Holds the first annual Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic in Texas.

1975 – Wins a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain.”

1978 – Wins a Grammy, with Waylon Jennings, for Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group for “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.”

1978 – Wins a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for “Georgia On My Mind.”

1979 – Makes his acting debut, alongside Robert Redford, in the film, “The Electric Horseman.”

1980 – Wins a Grammy for Best Country Song for writing “On The Road Again.”

1980 – Stars in the film “Honeysuckle Rose.”

1982 – Wins a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for “Always On My Mind.”

1982 – Stars in the film “Barbarosa.”

1985 – Releases the album “Highwayman” with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.

1985 – Organizes Farm Aid, a concert to benefit family farmers.

1988 – Releases his memoir, “Willie: An Autobiography.”

1990 – The IRS seizes Nelson’s property and possessions to settle a $16.7 million tax debt. He also wins the Grammy Legend Award.

1991 – Nelson releases the album, “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?” Nelson gives the profits from the album to the IRS.

1991 – Nelson’s son, Billy, commits suicide.

1993 – Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

1994 – Is arrested for possession of marijuana. The case is later dismissed.

2000 – The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presents Nelson with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

2002 – Wins a Grammy, with Lee Ann Womack, for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for “Mendocino County Line.”

2002 – Releases the book, “The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes.”

2006 – Releases the book, “The Tao of Willie.”

2006 – In Louisiana, Nelson is issued a citation for possession of marijuana and illegal mushrooms. Nelson receives six months’ probation and pays a fine.

2007 – Wins a Grammy, with Ray Price, for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for “Lost Highway.”

2010 – Is charged with marijuana possession after US Border Patrol agents search his tour bus in Texas near the US-Mexico border.

2012 – Releases the book, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road.”

2013 – Nelson donates his collection of awards and personal items to the University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center.

July 9, 2015 – The Library of Congress announces Nelson as the latest recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

July 2016 – Nelson launches “Willie’s Reserve,” his own personal brand of marijuana that will be grown and sold wherever it’s legal. The brand will feature “high quality strains of marijuana,” and Nelson himself will work with “master growers” and local retailers to establish a set of “quality standards” for his special reserve.

February 12, 2017 – Wins a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, for “Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin.”

July 4, 2018 – Launches his own blend of CBD infused coffee called “Willlie’s Remedy.”

September 29, 2018 – During a campaign rally for Beto O’Rourke’s senate run in 2018, Nelson plays a new election themed song called ‘Vote ‘Em Out.”

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

Willie Nelson & Family at Whitewater Amphitheater (April 12, 2019)

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

Thank you Janis Tillerson, for sharing photos from last night’s
Willie Nelson & Family Show
Whitewater Amphitheater, New Braunfels, TX
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019whitewater6-1024x683.jpg

Friday, April 12th, 2019

Willie Nelson & Family at Whitewater Amphitheater (Friday, 4/12 & Saturday 4/13)

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

@ Whitewater Amphitheater
11860 FM 306
New Braunfels, TX 78132

Willie Nelson on Maui

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

It’s no secret that Willie lives on the north shore of Maui, along with a handful of other notable artists, musicians, actors, and other celebs such as Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, Don Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and others. Willie said in his autobiography It’s a long Story, ” I did a tour with Bonnie Raitt on a few of the Hawaiian Islands.  That’s when I fell in love with Maui.  I bought some beachfront property in a sleepy little town called Paia.  Things are pretty kicked back all over the island, but Paia has its own super-relaxed vibe.  Folks there leave you alone and aren’t too impressed with show business.  My kind of place.”

Is that really Willie Nelson’s ranch?

Sunday, April 7th, 2019
By Randal B. Thatcher

I like to keep an eye out whenever I go traveling around Sanpete Valley for those big, iconic ranch gates that dot this agricultural county. I love to read the names of these sprawling ranches on the big gate-signs that hang over the entrances—names like “Lazy 8 Ranch” or “Hill Top Ranch” or “The Double-D” or “Choice Acres.”

While spotting all these ranch gates and reading their respective gate-signs, however, one particular sign on one particular gate has always intrigued me more than all the others.

This gate can be seen along U.S. 89 at mile marker 298 as you pass through the tiny, unincorporated community of Birdseye, which is about 10 miles north of Indianola.

As ranch gates go, it’s pretty simple—lengths of pipe and wrought-iron welded together and painted white.

But it’s the ranch insignia that has always captured my attention and my imagination.        Just two letters: W.N.

Not long after moving here, I was told those letters stood for the initials of the famous country music singer, Willie Nelson. Subsequent inquiries confirmed that this much of the local lore was true.

I then heard that this “WN” ranch was, in fact, owned by Willie himself. Also true.

I subsequently learned that Willie had been obliged to sell the ranch, some years ago, to raise money to pay some back taxes. An internet search quickly revealed the sad proof of this part of the story, as well. (Which means, I suppose, that I can finally stop looking for Willie’s trademark red bandanna at the local grocery store.)

But then came the most disappointing rumor of all—that Willie never even visited his ranch and that it was merely a financial transaction on paper, arranged by some clever money manager.

This part of the story was more difficult to resolve. No one seemed able to conclusively refute or confirm the claim.

But in my dogged desire to know, I finally discovered the one person who was able to persuasively settle the question.

I happened to ask my cowboy neighbor, recently, what he knew about the history of that fabled “WN” ranch, and he promptly introduced me to his longtime friend, Kal, a resident of Mt. Pleasant, who proceeded to give me the following firsthand account, which I paraphrase:

Kal had once been a horse trainer and occasional stunt double for the actor Robert Redford, who introduced him to a friend who was looking to buy some horses. Kal said this would-be buyer did not have the look of a traditional horseman, with his scruffy, white beard, and his dingy, red bandanna tied around a head of long, strawberry-blonde hair.

The buyer turned out to be none other than the famous singer, Willie Nelson.

They instantly hit it off, and before he knew it, Kal was looking for property for the famous singer somewhere in the Central Utah area, where Willie could keep his newly acquired horses and bring friends to visit.

Kal crisscrossed the state from St. George to Spanish Fork looking at over a dozen available properties before finally settling on the 95-acre ranch in Birdseye.

When Willie’s Learjet landed at the Salt Lake International Airport, Kal was there to meet him in his mud-spattered pickup truck, squiring him down I-15, along U.S. 6 (stopping for a cheeseburger at “Big-D’s,” which, sadly, is long gone), then turning onto U.S. 89 and down those few more miles to Birdseye.

Willie approved immediately, declaring the surrounding countryside to be every bit as scenic as that of his beloved Luck, Texas.

Kal took up permanent residence, as the caretaker of Willie’s new ranch, where he soon undertook to build the white-brick ranch house in 1983 you can still see on the property, and to assemble, paint and install that simple, white ranch gate with those two prominent letters—WN—at the top.

Willie owned the property for nine years, during which time he visited the ranch on three separate occasions, always aboard his signature tour bus and accompanied by various members of his band.

During one of these visits, my neighbor had stopped by the ranch to see Kal and wondered aloud, “Who is that old hippie standing out there in the stalls?”

I asked whether Willie had ever considered the prospect of actually living on his WN Ranch during part of the year, and Kal said he likely would have done so at some point if he hadn’t been forced to sell it and that he really had come to love this scenic mountain valley.

Willie’s old ranch gate has become such a significant local landmark for me that it would’ve been heartbreaking to learn he’d never actually been there.

But, as it turns out, I now watch even more eagerly for that familiar “WN” every time I drive through Birdseye.

And, in fond tribute, I never fail, as I pass, to belt out his most famous refrain: “On the road again!”

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019
Photo: Thank you, Janis Tillerson

Willie Nelson 2019 Picnic

Monday, April 1st, 2019
by: Jeff Gage

Willie Nelson’s annual 4th of July Picnic is headed back to Austin, Texas, for its 46th installment this summer, with the soon-to-be 86-year-old joined by a lineup of artists that includes Luke Combs, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Alison Krauss.

With roots dating back to Nelson’s first Independence Day bash in nearby Dripping Springs in 1973, the Picnic celebrates its fifth year in its current home at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack outside Austin. Both Combs and Rateliff — who, as a solo act, was a headliner at Nelson’s recent Luck Reunion festival during South by Southwest — will make their debut at the event, while Krauss returns for the first time since 2016.

Colter Wall is also making his debut appearance, but as usual there are a number of returning faces from the ranks of the Red Headed Stranger’s friends and family. Jamey Johnson, Steve Earle & the Dukes and Hayes Carll are all back on the bill after prior appearances in recent years, while virtual Picnic fixtures Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver and Johnny Bush are joined this year by fellow Seventies cohort Gene Watson. Rounding out the lineup are Folk Uke, Raelyn Nelson Band and the Casey Kristofferson Band.

Tickets for the July 4th festival go on sale Friday, April 5th, at 10:00 a.m. CT.

The full lineup for Willie Nelson’s 2019 4th of July Picnic:

Willie Nelson & Family
Luke Combs
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Alison Kraus
Jamey Johnson
Steve Earle & the Dukes
Hayes Carll
Colter Wall
Ray Wylie Hubbard
Gene Watson
Billy Joe Shaver
Johnny Bush
Folk Uke
Raelyn Nelson Band
The Casey Kristofferson Band

Sunday, March 31st, 2019
photo: Turk Pipkin

Bobbie Nelson at Luck Potluck Dinner (March 13, 2019)

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Outlaw Country Cruise 5

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Willie Nelson in “Waiting for the Miracle to Come” DVD release on April 29th

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Spotlight Pictures is set to release Lian Lunson’s much awaited film, Waiting for the Miracle to Come, to international markets. Starring Willie Nelson, Charlotte Rampling, and Sophie Lowe, Waiting for the Miracle to Come a gorgeous, evocative, and meditative film about faith, love, and fulfillment in spite of loss.

Set in a magical and timeless world reminiscent of an old photograph, Waiting for the Miracle to Come is the story of how Adeline Winter (Lowe), a trapeze artist grieving the death of her father embarks on a journey to find “the Beautiful Place” in Ransom, California. The Beautiful Place Museum, owned and run by Dixie and Jimmy Riggs (Rampling and Nelson). The Riggs have waited for decades at The Beautiful Place, hoping that the daughter they gave up for adoption would come looking for them. Both Nelson and Rampling capture the heartache of loss and the daring of hope while Lowe’s quietly powerful performance pulls viewers along on her pilgrimage.

Waiting for the Miracle to Come was written by Lian Lunson, especially for Willie Nelson. Her long time mentor, Filmmaker Wim Wenders, is an executive producer on the film.

Waiting for the Miracle to Come is about connections—what they mean, what they feel like,” Lunson says. “It is styled in otherworldliness to bring the supernatural element closer.” Audiences will find themselves transported into this dreamlike world, discovering “gold” in hidden places throughout.

The film features an original song performed by Willie Nelson and written by Bono, who is also an executive producer. Waiting for the Miracle to Come is available for purchase on DVD and digital platforms internationally through Spotlight Pictures.