Archive for the ‘Waylon Jennings’ Category
by Jason Mitchell
TORONTO: He’s clad in his trademark red bandanna, black vest and beat up blue jeans. His beard is almost white now. And in his best running shoes, Willie Nelson still looks a little larger than life on stage.
Once an outlaw, the country version of Jessie James with pigtails, in 1985 the 52-year-old performer is something of a father figure, a keeper of country and westerner’s most cherished traditions.Â Nelson and company’s 3 1/2-hour-show at the CNE Grandstand Monday night, was an on-the-road-again version of the Willie Nelson annual Fourth of July picnic with nothing less than a guided tour through country music history.
Despite some of his recent forays into pop and jazz, this was a vintage country show that’s had a little for everyone, from the grandmas to the bikers. And if it lacked a little in the way of surprises, the smallish CNE Grandstand crowd didn’t seem to mind.
Jessi Colter, Waylon’s Jennings’ diminutive wife, once again had the job of opening the show. George Strait was supposed to do the honors, but the fine folks at immigration apparently had other ideas. And Colter provided equal to the task — displaying a convincing range in moving easily from throaty stomper to pretty ballad. By the time she got the motors revving, she had to turn the stage and the band over to Waylon.
Jennings was something of an enigma. He has always cultivated a brooding, even menacing sort of persona, but Monday night he seemed especially sombee, running through half a dozen songs without stopping or saying as much as hello. Perhaps he was just trying a little too hard to play his role, or perhaps he was just bored. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t until half way through his set, when his wife returned to sing a couple of duets, that Jennings shook off his lethargy and showed some signs of life.
But it took Willie Nelson to bring the whole show together, and he did so effortlessly, offering a pleasant tour through country music history and a pretty generous overview of his own career in the process. In comparison to Jennings’ rather dark tones, Nelson was up form the first note.
While he showed some jazzy flourishes with the guitar, it is still his singing that makes him magic. His stop-start, talk-sing is a uniquely personal style and enables him, in some way, to get to the truth, the essence of any song he chooses to sing. His rendition of Always on My Mind was especially pretty.
Nelson’s musical tour wound its way from a gospelish version of the spiritual Amazing Grace and Fred Rose’s 1945 composition Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain, to Nightlife (a song he wrote in 1959 and sold the rights two years’ later for $150), On the Road Again and Good Hearted Woman. He sang just about every major song he had to offer, and covered all the bases from whoopers to ballads.
It was about as much as any fan could reasonably want, and a good example of why Nelson’s appeal transcends so many of the usual boundaries of country music.
Other air dates, or at least here in Colorado:
- Sunday, June 5 at 8:30 pm on 12.1
- Monday, June 6 at 1:00 am on 12.1
- Thursday, June 9 at 8:30 pm on 12.1
- Saturday, June 11 at 11:00 am on 12.1
- Saturday, June 11 at 5:30 pm on 12.1
Director and producer Jim Brown talks about the making of The Highwaymen: Friends Til The End, his admiration for the musicians’ camaraderie, passion for music and having a clear purpose in their careers. American Masters — The Highwaymen: Friends Til The Endpremieres nationwide Friday, May 27, 2016, at 9/8c on PBS (check local schedule) as part of the 30th anniversary season of THIRTEEN’s American Masters series, exploring how these men came together and the fruits of their historic collaboration.
by: Samantha Stephens
It’s Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson like you’ve never experienced them. That’s because this concert footage has never been seen before.
CMT has the video premiere of the super group’s performance of “Good Hearted Woman,” recorded live at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, on March 14, 1990.
It’s all part of the new collection The Highwaymen Live — American Outlaws, a CD/DVD package arriving May 20 with previously unreleased concert performances from the legends.
In addition to the complete concert from their 1990 tour, the Columbia/Legacy package includes various performances at Farm Aid and a previously unreleased version of Cash and Jennings’ take on Bob Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings.”
American Masters — The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End, a new feature-length documentary on the supergroup, will premiere May 27 on PBS.
Johnny, Waylon & Willie do ‘Desperados Waiting for a Train’ in previously unseen footage.
There aren’t four more recognizable or legendary faces in music—country or otherwise—than those that comprised supergroup The Highwaymen. Formed unintentionally in 1984 in Montreux, Switzerland, when Johnny Cash invited Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings to be guests on a Christmas special he was taping, the foursome found a collaborative creative fire that would etch itself forever into the lore of country music.
“There’s the four of us standing there, grouped around microphones,” wrote Jennings in his autobiography, Waylon: An Autobiography. “The Highwaymen. John, Kris, Willie, and me. I don’t think there are any other four people like us. If we added one more, or replaced another, it would never work.”
Having four established artists known for doing what they want, when they want, work together is the sort of endeavor that can explode brilliantly or implode dramatically with equal ferocity. When it came to playing live for The Highwaymen, it was almost the latter, until the moment when they found a way to come together. Jennings addressed this in his book as well.
“When we first took The Highwaymen out live, it looked like four shy rednecks trying to be nice to each other. It almost ruined it. That didn’t work, for us and the audience, and it was really bothering me, how different we were on stage than when we were sitting around in the dressing room. [At one point] I was fixin’ to quit. I talked to John about it and he was feeling the same way. ‘I get a little nervous,’ he said. ‘I don’t want to look like I’m trying to steal your thunder.’ That was it. We were boring each other and the audience. It may be hard to think of Johnny Cash as intimidated, but that’s the way we were. You can’t have four big guys tiptoeing around each other on stage. Nobody has a good time. By the end of the week, with Willie dancing across the stage and John and Kris singing harmony neck-and-neck, we had the wildest show, and it made us a group.”
Over the course of their decade-long run, The Highwaymen released three records, charted multiple singles, and won a Grammy for Best Country Song for their tune, “Highwayman,” as well as playing barn-burner live shows that will forever rate as “you should have been there.” You can watch part of one of those performances below, featuring the song “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” filmed March 4, 1990, at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
While there will never be another group like The Highwaymen, their legacy lives on with a celebratory new multimedia box set, The Highwaymen Live—American Outlaws, out May 20. Featuring unreleased footage—including the entire Nassau concert as well as Farm Aid performances—and songs, as well as wildly fun to read liner notes from music scholar Mikal Gilmour, the box set is complemented by a PBS documentary, American Masters—The Highwaymen, ’til the End, which premieres May 27.