Archive for the ‘You Tube, Vimeo’ Category

Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, “Just Breathe” (Farm Aid 2013)

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Hoover Dam and The Highwaymen

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

By Tanya Vece

Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson are forever cemented in Hoover Dam’s history. The four legendary singers, along with National Academy of Songwriters Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jimmy Webb, all played a big role in the song “The Highwayman.”

Webb originally wrote “The Highwayman” for his 1977 album “El Mirage.” The song is about reincarnation and follows one man’s soul throughout four different times as he lives life as a highwayman, a sailor, a construction worker on the Hoover Dam and as a starship captain.

Webb told the song was inspired by a vivid dream so real that it was destined for greatness. “I sat up in bed, sweating through my pajamas. Without even thinking about it, I stumbled out of bed to the piano and started playing ‘Highwayman.’ Within a couple of hours, I had the first verse.”

In the song, Webb references Boulder City, writing “I was a dam builder. Across the river deep and wide. Where steel and water did collide. A place called Boulder on the wild Colorado. I slipped and fell into the wet concrete below.”

Prior to writing “The Highwayman,” Webb composed songs for Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Art Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt, and R.E.M. Webb also wrote the hit song “MacArthur Park,” which was recorded by Jennings in 1969 before being redone in 1978 as a disco tune by Donna Summer.

After “The Highwayman” didn’t gain success on “El Mirage,” Webb’s friend Glen Campbell decided to rerecord it. Capitol Records didn’t want Campbell to release the song, but Campbell believed in the song so much that he left Capitol Records after the company refused to record it. Like the wandering main character of the song, “The Highwayman” was about to be reborn.

Eight years after transitioning from dream to ink, Campbell played Webb’s “The Highwayman” for his friend Cash. Cash had formed an unnamed supergroup with Nelson, Jennings and Kristofferson. Campbell thought the four verses to “The Highwayman” would be perfect for the group to cover. Campbell also knew the unnamed quartet needed a proper song to mirror their outlaw country personas.

With four reincarnations of the same soul represented in “The Highwayman’s” lyrics, each singer took a verse. Nelson as the highwayman, Kristofferson as the sailor, Jennings as a builder of the Hoover Dam and Cash as the starship captain. Not only did the song work out perfectly for the group, the men adopted its title as the root of the super group’s name, The Highwaymen.

During their tenure as The Highwaymen, the quartet starred in a 1986 film titled “Stagecoach,” which filmed around the Arizona/Nevada desert border, not too far from Hoover Dam. Then, in 2005, Cash’s life, and part of his friendship with Jennings, was documented in the award-winning film “Walk the Line” starring my friend and actor Joaquin Phoenix as Cash. Jennings’ son, musician Shooter Jennings, portrayed his father in the film.

“The Highwayman” ended up winning a Grammy Award for best country song. The single became such a classic country staple that Nelson and Kristofferson revived it, performing it at the 2014 Grammy Awards with Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton.

More recently, Rolling Stone declared “The Highwaymen” as one of the best supergroups of all-time next to Mad Season with Layne Staley (Alice in Chains) and Mike McCready (Pearl Jam).

Webb went on to become the only artist to receive Grammy Awards for music, lyrics and orchestration. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986 and became its chairman in 2011. His book, “The Cake and the Rain: A Memoir,” was published this past April by St. Martin’s Press. It contains 352 pages of fascinating recollections and stories of peculiar events, like an epiphany during his teen years to speed to Las Vegas so he could meet Elvis.

Webb’s memoir is available in all major bookstores and on You can follow Webb on Twitter at @RealJimmyWebb and review his tour dates at

Tanya Vece is an entertainment and music writer who resides and volunteers in Boulder City. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @hollywoodwriter.

Willie Nelson, “Both Sides Now”

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Original Release Date: 1970
Number of Discs: 1
Label: RCA

Crazy Arms 2:30
A2 Wabash Cannon Ball 2:42
A3 Pins And Needles (In My Heart) 3:16
A4 Who Do I Know In Dallas 2:27
A5 I Gotta Get Drunk 2:14
A6 Once More With Feeling 2:36
B1 Both Sides Now 2:59
B2 Bloody Merry Morning 3:15
B3 Everybody’s Talkin’ 3:23
B4 One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart) 2:35
B5 It Could Be Said That Way 3:10


Recorded in RCA’s “Nashville Sound” Studio, Nashville, Tennessee
by:  Simon Sizer

“Both Sides Now” is Willie Nelson’s 10th album, recorded in 1970, and predates his later rebellion against Nashville and the invention or coinage of “outlaw country.” None of this, of course, meant much to my ignorant self, but as you might expect from the title track, this is indeed a very mellow record. As an outsider, I’ve never quite been sure what I am looking for from a country song. I don’t know the territory beyond the most abstract of maps. But, consequently, I feel like I’m perhaps more open to a record like this than I might be in a genre I’m more familiar with.

“Both Sides Now” is, again not unexpectedly, largely concerned with busted relationships, but its approach is mostly wistful. There’s not a lot of anger or self-incrimination. Even on “I Gotta Get Drunk,” which comes closest to the kind of bar stool sermonizing I might consider archetypal, the mood is less self-destructive than the title alone suggests. There’s a casual, arm-around-the-shoulder feel that extends down to the charmingly ramshackle guitar work.

And as to covers, it doesn’t get much more wistful than “Both Sides Now” or the other iconic cover on this album, “Everybody’s Talkin’.” There’s a lot written about Willie Nelson’s phrasing and his approach to covering iconic standards, but what strikes me most is how welcoming it all feels. “Both Sides Now” is a record about having the blues, sure, but it won’t make you blue. It’s downright wholesome.

read entire article here

“It’s a Woman’s Love” — Willie Nelson, on new album, “God’s Problem Child”

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

This is such a beautiful album.  If you don’t have it, get it.  Nicest thing you could do for yourself.

1. Little House On The Hill (Lyndel Rhodes)
2. Old Timer (Donnie Fritz / Lenny LeBlanc)
3. True Love (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
4. Delete And Fast Forward (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
5. A Woman’s Love (Mike Reid / Sam Hunter)
6. Your Memory Has A Mind Of Its Own (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
7. Butterfly (Sonny Throckmorton / Mark Sherrill)
8. Still Not Dead (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
9. God’s Problem Child (Jamey Johnson / Tony Joe White)
10. It Gets Easier (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
11. Lady Luck (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
12. I Made A Mistake (Willie Nelson / Buddy Cannon)
13. He Won’t Ever Be Gone (Gary Nicholson)

Willie Nelson with Merle Haggard, “A Horse Called Music”

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Willie Nelson & Family and Friends, “Whiskey for My Men (beer for my horses)” (7/4/2017)

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

Happy “Shoeshine Friday

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Lukas Nelson offers acoustic song for fans, after show cancelled due to weather last night

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow, “Today, I Started Loving Her, Again”

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Willie Nelson on the Howard Stern Show

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Favorite Willie Nelson collaborations

Sunday, July 9th, 2017
by:  Brad Shoup

Willie Nelson: Who will he sing with next?

Gonna be a good weekend for Willie Nelson.

Today, he’s drops God’s Problem Child, his first album of original material in three years; tomorrow, he turns 84. The new record’s title track, written by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, features the late Leon Russell, and that’s just the latest of many collaborations in his long career. Willie’s biggest international single was a duet with Julio Iglesias, he’s released duet albums with everyone from Asleep at the Wheel to Wynton Marsalis, and he may be the only person to ever record with all three Hank Williamses. So we started thinking about some of the noteworthy songs over the years that Willie’s sung with partners. Here are just a few.

Shirley Collie and Willie Nelson — “Willingly” (1962)
After a few years of writing songs for other singers (including Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline), Nelson finally hit the country charts with “Willingly,” a cloying ode to slipping around. Casting about for a partner who meshed with Willie’s peculiar tone, producer Joe Allison finally settled on Collie, who was a match in more ways than one: Nelson divorced his first wife and married Collie in 1963.

Tracy Nelson with Willie Nelson — “After the Fire Is Gone” (1974)
Blues/R&B singer Tracy Nelson (no relation) founded the band Mother Earth (which, for a moment, counted Boz Scaggs as a member) in San Francisco, then relocated to Nashville, where she eventually went solo. She decided to cut the Loretta Lynn/Conway Twitty hit “After the Fire Is Gone,” and upon learning that Willie was back from Austin, she got him to participate. (After a chance meeting with Tracy the night of the session, Linda Ronstadt appeared on backing vocals.) The high-stepping country-rock number earned both Nelsons a 1975 Grammy nomination.

Waylon Jennings with Willie Nelson — “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Life)” (1977)
Since the chorus mentions Willie’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” having him sing along was just plain sense, even if he’s mostly here to lighten Waylon’s doleful load. With its yawning guitar and references to twang titans, “Luckenbach” remains a staple in the Texas Hill Country to this day. But according to legend, Waylon ended up hating the tune — he’d never been to Luckenbach, and he reckoned that co-writer and producer Chips Moman hadn’t either. Jennings did eventually get around to playing there, just once, in 1997.

Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson — “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (1978)
Written a few years prior by Ed and Patsy Bruce, the skittering, waltz-time “Mammas” puts a comic spin to the outlaw-country mythos. (“Let ‘em be doctors and lawyers and such,” they sing dismissively on the refrain. Please let me know if this song made you become a lawyer.) With such a killer chorus (practically hollered by a backgrounded Willie), Jennings and Nelson are free to underplay the lyric everywhere else, leaving us to ponder what’s so bad about a profession that likes pool rooms and little warm puppies.

George Jones with Willie Nelson — “I Gotta Get Drunk” (1979)
In the 1970s, the Possum was a peerless purveyor of gothic psychodramas, while Willie rendered the delicate emotional life of the mind. But their duet is a devil-may-care honky-tonk. “I Gotta Get Drunk” was a 1970 Nelson composition, but you’d think he wrote the thing just for George, who tears into the text with a revivalist’s fervor. The infamously embattled Jones — “the second-best white singer in America,” Sinatra supposedly called him — namechecks Willie and himself while hollering about bad choices and cheap drinks.

Willie Nelson and Ray Price — “Faded Love” (1980)
Nelson cut a series of duet albums in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s with old heroes like Faron Young, Webb Pierce and Roger Miller. The most poignant effort, though, may be 1980’s San Antonio Rose, a collaboration with Ray Price. Once upon a time, Nelson served as Price’s bassist (replacing Johnny Paycheck!) and with the Bob Wills chestnut “Faded Love,” he returned his mentor to the Top 5 for the first time in five years. (San Antonio Rose was also the title of Price’s 1961 Bob Wills tribute LP, on which Nelson played guitar.) This version is positively courtly, with Willie plaintively holding his notes and Price acting his usual gentlemanly self. Gorgeous fiddle solos bookend the track.

Julio Iglesias with Willie Nelson — “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” (1984)
After conquering the European market, Spanish pop singer Julio Iglesias signed to CBS and moved to America. On his stateside breakthrough, 1100 Bel Air Place, Iglesias converted Albert Hammond’s Hollies-style pop-rock ballad “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” into a gauzy, piano-studded showstopper. Willie’s vocal is an odd fit for this humblebrag about bedpost notches, his existential self-actualization starkly contrasting with Iglesias’s tremulous pining, but the thing sure resonated: the song hit the Top 10 across the world.

Willie Nelson and Ray Charles — “Seven Spanish Angels” (1984)
This long-overdue musical meeting with Charles, who created a language of jazz, soul and country with which Nelson was only fitfully conversant is a countrypolitan weeper with distant mariachi horns and big backing vocals. Each singer wrings maximum pathos from the lyrics before Billy Sherrill’s string crescendo ups the ante.

Willie Nelson and Hank Williams — “I Told a Lie to My Heart” (1985)
Six years before Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable,” Willie tapped a legend for a chronologically impossible duet. In a Billboard article (with the subhead “Singer’s Latest Duet Album Is Unusual Even For Him”), Kip Kirby traced the circuitous route. The original, which was never released, was believed to be a songwriting demo that predated any recording deals. The Country Music Foundation acquired the recording in 1983, and the institution’s founder fortified the track with rhythm guitar before turning it over to Nelson. By today’s standards, the diminished quality and audible pops connote nostalgia. At the time, though, this was a cutting-edge production: a painstaking merger of Willie’s keening, subordinate vocal and spare soloing with a 78 rpm acetate.

Hank Williams, Jr. with Reba McEntire, Tom Petty, Reverend Ike and Willie Nelson — “Mind Your Own Business” (1986)
Bocephus paid particularly vigorous tribute to his dad on this cover of Senior’s 1949 hit. A souped-up rocker in the vein of his other rowdy mid-decade hits, “Mind Your Own Business” is distinguished by its Western swing touches — the fiddle stings and woodwind (!) solo — and the eclectic guest lineup. Reba’s in high dudgeon, and Petty takes his drawl for a long walk; by comparison, Willie’s jazzy delivery suffers. The odd man out is Frederick “Reverend Ike” Eikerenkoetter, a prosperity-gospel preacher who didn’t like his verse about getting into heaven, so he swapped with Nelson. Hank mailed each participant a gold record.

Willie Nelson with Bob Dylan — “Heartland” (1993)
Like Kanye-Rihanna-McCartney’s “FourFiveSeconds” or Wyclef Jean’s “Kenny Rogers – Pharoahe Monch Dub Plate,” “Heartland” is an exquisitely rare intersection of pop-music touchstones. Dylan and Nelson had previously collaborated, in a sense, on USA for Africa’s “We Are the World,” And Nelson’s annual Farm Aid benefit drew inspiration from Dylan’s comments about American farmers at Live Aid. The two played together at the first Farm Aid in Illinois, and “Heartland” elaborates on those charitable themes. The pain is seen more than felt, but vets like Benmont Tench and Jim Keltner help put the songs reverent delivery across.

Toby Keith with Willie Nelson — “Beer For My Horses” (2002)
A prime example of Keith’s post-9/11 swerve into mirror-flexing belligerence, “Beer For My Horses” yearns for good old-fashioned vigilantism. (Willie sings about “the long arm of the law,” but Toby’s getting his crime reports from the TV.) Willie’s here as an outlaw metonym: there are no effete nylon-stringed solos here, just a twangy figure that rings like a cop’s siren. Nelson rode what was essentially a Walker, Texas Ranger tribute to his first country #1 since 1986.

Willie Nelson with Kid Rock — “Last Stand in Open Country” (2002)
Though Willie had been doing duets his entire career, following Supernatural, his albums started receiving comparisons (sometimes unfavorably) with Carlos Santana’s. Arriving after Rainbow Connection, a slight (yet still Grammy-nominated) family affair recorded at Nelson’s Texas ranch, 2002’s The Great Divide bore that weight considerably. (It didn’t help that Rob Thomas wrote the leadoff cut.) “Last Stand in Open Country” was one of two Bernie Taupin co-writes, which you can tell as soon as Willie sings “I was looking for America/ In a Western movie.” In the middle of a transition from rap-rocker to cornpone kook, Kid Rock chews this banjo-pinned roots ballad until it’s mush. It’s pretty impressive, actually.

Willie Nelson with Lee Ann Womack — “Mendocino County Line” (2002)
Since her 1997 debut, Womack has been one of country music’s premier stylists, whether tackling throwback country-soul or apiary tone poems. Her ache for things past pairs congruently with Willie’s plainspoken recollection; he wisely cedes her the emotional high ground of the bridge. This was The Great Divide’s second Bernie Taupin credit, and it’s amazing how deftly both singers avoid the lyrics’ bear-traps. Womack sings “our orchestrated paradise” like it’s no big thing, and they both make the line “these pictures and these photographs” feel like a poetic device, rather than meter-filler. The result was Willie’s first Top 40 country hit in 20-odd years, as well as a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration.

Willie Nelson with Toots Hibbert — “I’m a Worried Man” (2005)
A Willie Nelson reggae album sounds like a slight inevitability, but Countryman was years in the making. Originally workshopped with Don Was for Island Records back in the mid-’90s, the project stalled when label founder Chris Blackwell left. When Johnny Cash learned about the project, he suggested a song he wrote when living on Montego Bay. With an energetic and typically ageless vocal performance from Hibbert, the result is decidedly un-worried: a genial blend of sticky pop-roots and steel guitar.

Snoop Dogg with Willie Nelson — “Superman” (2011)
Their first collaboration was 2008’s “My Medicine,” partially recorded in Amsterdam the day after 4/20, and way bouncier than you’d expect for a track featuring Everlast in this century. “Superman” is even more fun. This acoustic country-swing number opens with Nelson talking about his carpal tunnel syndrome before he and Snoop and Willie sing about overexerting themselves while self-medicating. “I blew my throat and I blew my tour,” recalls Snoop, “I wound up sippin’ on soup du jour.”

Kacey Musgraves with Willie Nelson — “Are You Sure?” (2015)

Kacey Musgraves with Willie Nelson — “Are You Sure?” (2015)
In a throwback move for such a forward-looking artist, Musgraves included Nelson’s “Are You Sure?” as a hidden track on Pageant Material, though she also released a video for the song. Dreamy and rueful at intervals, “Are You Sure?” features a supremely weary Willie in his lower register, with a classic guitar solo and deft comping on Musgraves’ bridge.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard — “Django and Jimmie” (2015)
Django and Jimmie was the last of four collaborations between Willie and Hag; it was Merle’s first album since 2011 and his last before dying on his 79th birthday in 2016. Like “Pancho and Lefty,” the Townes Van Zandt song they’d topped the charts with 32 years earlier, whose jsprightly intro belied the gray comedy within, “Django and Jimmie” spins a yarn of two heroes. Only here, they’re real: Django Reinhardt’s jazz guitar innovations were a fundamental influence on Willie Nelson, and Jimmie Rodgers was country’s post-Hank crossover figurehead. This Jimmy Melton/Jeff Prince composition lets its singers get musicological without becoming maudlin. “A young singing brakeman/ A jazz playing gypsy,” they sing in waltz time, “Might not have been/ A Merle or a Willie/ If not for a Django and Jimmie”. The emotional capstone: Merle closes with a modest attempt at a Rodgers yodel.

Willie Nelson & Family, “I Woke Up Still Not Dead Again” (Detroit) (7/8/2017)

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me (when I die)”

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Willie Nelson, Sheryl Chrow, Lukas Nelson, “Midnight Rider” (Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic)

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Sheryl Crow invites Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson on stage to sing, “Midnight Rider”, in honor of Gregg Allman.

Ten Things Dave Thomas Learned at Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic 2016

Monday, July 3rd, 2017


After 18 picnics, journalist Dave Thomas is still learning things at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnics. He recently published a book of posters and history of the picnic, if you want to know other things he has learned!

1. Better than 2015: On their second Picnic, I have to give thumbs up to the Circuit of The Americas and the Austin 360 Amphitheater on their growth as a host. I’m impressed by their decision to install “water monsters” around the facility to provide free and cool drinking water to patrons. (I always thought it was downright criminal for venues to host an event on the Fourth of July in Texas, then only offer water at $3-$4 a bottle.) Allowing us to bring in a small amount of food was a good move (I only had to buy one terrible $12 burger in my 11 hours). And while there was still an annoying amount of dead time between sets on the main stage for those of us who were spoiled by the Fort Worth Picnics, running the Plaza stage longer and the timing of the fireworks display helped keep it from being exasperating. One smart move didn’t quite work out: The “misting tent” was less of a cooling off spot for the masses than it was a de-facto VIP lounge for early arrivals. Not sure that was what they meant to happen.

2. No big discoveries: This was my 18th Picnic, and Lord knows I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love to see Willie Nelson and Picnic regulars Ray Wylie Hubbard, Johnny Bush and Billy Joe Shaver. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t mind hearing “Whiskey River” four times in one day or “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother” 18 Picnics in a row. But the thrill of every Picnic is discovering something new or seeing a legend for the first time. There was no transcendent moment this year like watching Kris Kristofferson intently watching Sturgill Simpson or seeing Charley Pride work the crowd.

So I’ll have to say this year’s highlight was newest Picnic regular Jamey Johnson appearing with Alison Krauss. Krauss softened Johnson’s often-prickly demeanor and they put on a great show together. I’ll even say Johnson sang his hit “In Color” with such conviction and depth that it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

3. Love for a legend: Was astounded again by Austin’s love for Kris Kristofferson, whose show was all heart but … well, he struggled a lot. He eased through some hits, but on others — particularly “The Law is For The Protection of The People” — his voice nearly gave out completely. This year’s Picnic included a trio of octogenarians (Willie, Bush, Kristofferson), and after the passing of Ray Price and Merle Haggard, Picnic fans have learned to appreciate every moment with the legends. Willie wouldn’t approve of me saying it, but you never know when it’s going to be the last performance … or last Picnic.

4. Fans of all sorts: A small scene from the Picnic

5. Definitely over it: There are a couple things, however, that we need to have seen the last of. First is Kinky Friedman as terrible emcee. Fellow I know said he was ready to strangle Friedman as he dawdled over his introduction of Jamey Johnson with another lame politics joke (yes, the “Kinky-Johnson” ticket, I get it, ha ha) then had to hurry back out to the mike to add “and Alison Krauss.” Friedman has the talent to do a good job as emcee, but instead we got more of his look-at-me-make-something-up shtick.

Even worse: Second, is Shaver’s “That’s What She Said Last Night,” a song he’s introduced before as “the worst song” he’s ever written — and he’s right by a country mile. He’s trotted that song at Picnics dating back a decade and man, it’s time to give it up. More unfunny than offensive (though both at times), the cell phone-as-metaphor-for-manhood joke song has long since run its course. 

7. Don’t mess with Willie: Was surprised to see Jamey Johnson and Krauss close with “I Saw The Light.” Traditionally that song has been what Willie closes the show with, bringing out all the remaining performers to sing along with him. Johnson should know, he’s been there with him. But Willie didn’t bring out the usual suspects for the finale this year. We got a reprise of “Whiskey River” to end the Picnic.

Brantley Gilbert performs at the 43rd Annual Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic at Austin360 Amphitheater on July 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Photo by Erika Rich for American-Statesman

Brantley Gilbert performs at the 43rd Annual Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic at Austin360 Amphitheater on July 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Photo by Erika Rich for American-Statesman

8. Brantley Gilbert. The kind of fellow who has an urban-camo-gray guitar with the U.S. flag on the front and the Confederate Stars and Bars on the back. Cute. The kind of fellow who has an intro video with chopper sound effects and a smoke machine on the stage. Hey, I hear Willie has a smoke machine, too. But he doesn’t bring it on stage. I’m pretty sure Gilbert opened with “Ghwgggrhrghgggggfjffggggggggr.” Or at least that was the best I could make out amid the noise. 

Am I being too hard on Gilbert? He obviously was on the bill to sell tickets to people who weren’t already there for Johnny Bush and Ray Wylie Hubbard. And he is excellent at the southern rock / bro-country / preen-and-tough-guy-pose thing that he does. It’s just hard to take the tough-guy thing seriously when you know the history of the Picnic. Who you got, Gilbert or Waylon? Gilbert or David Allan Coe? What would Gilbert say to 1975-era Paul English? Gilbert and his muscle shirt and brass knuckles took the stage about 6 hours after a guy who shot a man in the face just a few years ago. And I still wouldn’t bet against Billy Joe Shaver.

But Gilbert dialed it back after the first few numbers to give us some songs we could hear the words to and offered enough spectacle that his hourlong set went by pretty quickly. In all it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

9. How times have changed: The 1995-1999 Picnics in Luckenbach were less of a redneck-meet-hippie thing and more of a college kids-meet-old hippie thing. And for a lonely 20-something reporter, the fans at those Picnics were a sight to behold. It’s not something I should probably mention now, but after spending dawn to midnight at those shows, you could close your eyes and still see Texas flag bikinis everywheres. These days the Picnic is much more of a middle-age thing, and so am I. After reporting all day, most of it via Twitter on my phone, when I closed my eyes about 2 a.m. on July 5th, I dreamed of Tweets. No, I dreamed in Tweets. It was very weird.

10. Next year? Will there be a 44th Annual Fourth of July Picnic? When I interviewed Willie at the 2006 Picnic, I asked him how long it might continue — thinking that we were already at the end. Willie’s answer has always been “as long as they’re still fun.” Short answer is, as long as Willie is still around, there’s a good chance there will be a Picnic. Or not. Who knows?

If there is one, I’m still saying we need to have a Waylon Jennings hologram (or at least find a way to show Waylon footage from the 1979 Picnic movie) and we need to have Loretta Lynn. The Picnic has been a boys’ club for far too long. Let’s include some legendary women.

But let’s keep a few traditions …

Read entire article, see more photos and videos here:
10 Things I Learned at Willie Nelson’s 2016 Fourth of July Picnic