Alison Krauss was one of the many artists who gathered in Washington DC in November 2015, to honor Willie Nelson, when he received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Songs.
The scene lasts but a few seconds, but as Laguna Niguel musician Roger Hegyi recalls, it took hours to get ample footage for the commercial shoot on Pacific Coast Highway.
A lifelong musician and frontman for the “True Willie” tribute band, Hegyi appeared as Nelson’s doppelganger last month in a national commercial for Volkswagen. Since his brief cameo in the 30-second commercial, Hegyi has received hundreds of calls, emails and texts from friends expressing support.
“I love the response,” he said, “hopefully they’re selling some cars from it.”
With a red bandana covering the top of his braided brown hair, Hegyi reminisced on his life in music and recent appearance on television in his living room. A piano and two acoustic guitars sat by his side.
As Heygi remembered, he got the call to film the commercial in August. Volkswagen had paid to use Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” he said, and was looking for someone on the West Coast who could fit in the commercial.
He then went up to Point Mugu near Pacific Coast Highway and spent hours filming his passing scene in a yellow Beetle, which felt familiar since he learned to drive a stick shift with the same model as a teen.
“It was just another thing that happened to me that was meant to be,” he said.
Hegyi’s television appearance has capped a wave of good fortune. For more than three years, Hegyi has toured as a singer and guitarist with the True Willie tribute band playing before hundreds and sometimes thousands of fans who often believe he looks and sounds just like the 83-year-old Texas musician who wrote classics like “Crazy,” “Hello Walls” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.”