“Why don’t they Leave the Man Alone?, (let him write and sing his songs)” State Senator Charlie Albertson writes song about Willie Nelson

by Ana Ribeiro

State Sen. Charlie Albertson says he can relate to country music legend Willie Nelson.

A lifelong musician himself, the Duplin County Democrat spent 56 days on a tour bus in Germany in the late ’70s and understands how “a bus is sort of like a home to a band,” he said

So he got upset after state alcohol officers raided Nelson’s tour bus in Albertson’s home county and cited band members for possession of marijuana and moonshine.

It’s only natural that Albertson is now expressing his frustration musically.

With his own voice and musician friends from Nashville, he recently recorded “Leave the Man Alone,” a country-flavored lament about how he wishes the officers would have just let Nelson “sing and play his songs” in peace.

Regarding Nelson’s decision not to play in Duplin County after the Jan. 28 bust, the song says: “We lost more than the revenue. It hurt the county’s name.”

A statement on Nelson’s Web site said pain in his hand caused the concert to be canceled, but Albertson said he thinks that the bust was the real reason and that authorities may have planned it in advance.

The senator said he has received many calls from Duplin County residents disappointed by the incident. He said he respects law enforcement but thinks “it was a bit much” for a number of ALE agents to show up.

“A lot of people think it was planned and contrived,” Albertson said. “It looks like a special effort was made to bust the guys on the bus.”

At the time of the incident, Alcohol Law Enforcement Special Agent Ted Carlton said agents smelled marijuana in a parking lot by the Duplin County Events Center in Kenansville then decided to enter the tour bus.

Carlton did not return a message Wednesday seeking comment.

The bust happened less than an hour before the scheduled concert. John Vogt, the events center’s executive director, said it lost $30,000 because Nelson didn’t perform.

Vogt said he fears that Duplin County might shut down the venue for economic and political reasons, and that it may be exacerbated by that income loss.

He doesn’t expect the message in Albertson’s song to help the venue’s cause, he said, but noted that people have been strongly supportive of the events center since the Nelson incident.

Albertson said he would like to see his song become a hit on radio stations.

The senator, whose district also includes Lenoir and Sampson counties, is not seeking re-election this year.


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