Archive for the ‘Presidents’ Category

Happy Birthday, President Jimmy Carter

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Happy birthday to President Jimmy Carter, born in Plains, Georgia on October 1, 1924.

Photograph of President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter dancing at a White House Congressional Ball. Photographed by Marion S. Trikosko. Dated 1977. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Photograph of President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter dancing at a White House Congressional Ball. Photographed by Marion S. Trikosko. Dated 1977. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)



Happy Birthday, Bill Clinton

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Willie Nelson visits President Carter

Friday, August 4th, 2017


Willie Nelson and President Jimmy Carter

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

photo:  Wally McNamee
President Jimmy Carter joins his friend Willie Nelson on stage for a song during a concert appearance by Nelson at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland. Carter was in the midst of his campaign for a second term as President.

Willie Nelson & Family at Merriweather Post Pavillion

Friday, July 14th, 2017
by:  Sriram Gopal

Jean Parker has accumulated an impressive collection of stories over her years working at Merriweather Post Pavilion. She joined the staff in 1977, now serves as the venue’s general manager, and can recall watching President Jimmy Carter join Willie Nelson on stage to sing “Georgia On My Mind”, or that time when a mix-up resulted in her having to pick up Depeche Mode from the airport in her family minivan. However, one memory stands apart from the rest.

“The Grateful Dead story is the number one story,” Parker said in a recent interview with DCist.

The Dead came to Merriweather in 1985. In those pre-Internet/cellphone days, it was hard to get the word out about day-of sellout concerts. Seven thousand ticketless fans showed up and the staff had to work alongside the Howard County Police Department to find a way to handle the crowd. Step one: Reduce the price for lawn seats from $12.50 to $10 for the sake of efficiency. Step two: Set up makeshift box offices consisting of a staffer on one side of the fence and the fans on the other side. After collecting the money, venue employees or police officers would help attendees jump over the fence.

The 50th anniversary bash takes place on Saturday and features Jackson Browne and Willie Nelson.

Merriweather Post Pavilion was a central component to James Rouse’s vision for Columbia, Md., one of the the country’s first fully planned suburbs. Rouse expected the amphitheater, designed by Frank Gehry, to be an arts center that would showcase orchestras, ballet, and opera. The venue at one point served as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s summer home, but the pavilion struggled in the early days. Opening the doors to rock and pop concerts put it on firmer footing. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Led Zeppelin all played Merriweather, including the only time the the latter two ever shared a bill. Jimmy Buffet made the shed a home-away-from home and has played there more than any other act.

Despite a rich history (read The Baltimore Sun’s excellent account of MPP’s early years), Merriweather fell on hard times as the 21st century began. In 2003, development plans threatened to close the pavilion, which resulted in a successful Save Merriweather campaign. The pavilion got an additional boost in 2004, when I.M.P., the Seth Hurwitz-run company behind the 9:30 Club, Lincoln Theatre, and the soon-to-come The Anthem, started booking acts there.

“The venue never had any accolades and was never being touted or highlighted in the industry before Seth started working in 2004,” Parker said. “Since then, Merriweather is often near the top for ‘Best Amphitheater.’”

Ownership of the venue recently transferred to the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, a non-profit whose executive director, Ian Kennedy, was a driving force in the Save Merriweather effort. The DCACC hopes to expand the programming at Merriweather to include movie nights, the return of orchestras, speaker series, visual arts displays, and other types of events that need not turn a profit so long as costs are covered through the DCACC’s funding apparatus.

Credit for Merriweather’s rebound must also go to to I.M.P. and the ethos it brings to all of its endeavors. This has allowed the company and the amphitheater to thrive as independents in a concert industry that national corporations dominate.

“Live Nation is an 800-pound gorilla. They don’t just own almost every single amphitheater, but also have a management firm so they can basically tell artists where to play,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer, I.M.P.’s communications director. “We’re about creating the best possible experience for the artist that we can. It gives us a chance to get that artist to work with us.”

“When an artist is here, whether they’re a sellout show or nowhere near a sellout artist, everyone is treated here like a sellout artist,” Parker added. “It’s about treating the artist correctly and that’s what’s passed down to all of us from the top.”

I.M.P. recently signed a 40-year lease on Merriweather, which allowed it to invest heavily in upgrades. The $60 million effort includes a rotating stage for festivals, improvements to the amphitheater itself, additional parking, and the construction of vast backstage facilities for staff, artists, and VIPs. Most visible to concert-goers is the Chrysalis stage, a smaller platform that takes advantage of Merriweather’s wooded surroundings. Greensky Bluegrass will be the first Chrysalis headliner on July 22.

“There aren’t many venues with the environmental ambience that we have here,” Parker said of the new space. “The property is unique because of all the trees.”

While Merriweather Post Pavilion’s ownership and partners are taking concrete steps to move into a prosperous future, its success will largely hinge on the sound decision making of its past.

“Merriweather is located right in between two major cities, that’s not going to change. The seasoned staff is not changing, it’s only going to get more seasoned,” Parker said of Merriweather’s prospects. “Now the venue is owned by a non-profit, so that opens up the possibilities for more creativity.”

Correction: A previous version of this article indicated that I.M.P. had signed a 50-year lease with Merriweather Post Pavilion. The story has been updated to reflect that I.M.P.’s lease is for 40 years.

Merriweather Post Pavilion’s 50th Anniversary Concert takes place on Saturday, July 15, with Jackson Browne and Willie Nelson. Father John Misty opens the show and Grace Potter hosts the event. 6 p.m. $55-$125.


President Trump issues another Executive Order #WillieNelsonHeadofDEA

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

This day in Willie Nelson History: Jimmy Carter in Plains on CMT (12/8/04)

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

On December 8, 2004, “CMT Homecoming: Jimmy Carter In Plains” premieres, featuring a Willie Nelson concert, taped in the former president’s hometown.

On September 9, 2004 Willie Nelson performed a concert in Plains, Georgia, for an upcoming TV special, “CMT Homecoming: Jimmy Carter In Plains”

The concert was filmed in September, for a special airing in December 2004, when CMT featured a special homecoming event, with the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, for an intimate look at the small town that he still calls home and where he spends the holidays with wife Rosalynn, his children and grandchildren – Plains, Ga.

In this one-hour documentary, CMT Homecoming: President Carter In Plains, President Carter welcomes his longtime friend, country legend Willie Nelson, to Plains for the reunion.  Nelson joins President Carter for a tour of his childhood home, his boyhood haunts, and the town that holds a special place in President Carter’s heart.  The two friends swap stories of what it was like growing up in small towns and reminisce about their friendship that has lasted decade.

In honor of Plains, Nelson performs for everyone in the town, and the fans get a surprise when President and Mrs. Carter join Nelson on stage.

Thanks to Alice from Georgia for sending  pictures.

Happy birthday, President Carter

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Happy birthday to President Jimmy Carter, born in Plains, Georgia on October 1, 1924.

Photograph of President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter dancing at a White House Congressional Ball. Photographed by Marion S. Trikosko. Dated 1977. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Photograph of President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter dancing at a White House Congressional Ball. Photographed by Marion S. Trikosko. Dated 1977. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)



Happy Birthday, President Bill Clinton

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Former President Bill Clinton turns 70 today.

AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) — Garry Mauro will never forget that night in 1972 when he says Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham ignored the post-election party surrounding them, instead preferring to huddle in a corner and talk about changing the future.

The young then-unmarried couple and he were three among a group of Young Turk Democrats working that summer to register voters in Texas. The Clintons had just started dating, said Mauro, who years later became Texas land commissioner. “They obviously had a lot of respect for each other, and they would spend hours talking to each other.”

Mauro recalls the night it was all over in 1972, after Democrat George McGovern lost to Republican Richard Nixon. He says he and the Clintons decided to let loose in lively Austin, paying $1.50 to see a Texas singer by the name of Willie Nelson before rambling back to a colleague’s tiny apartment.

Happy birthday, President Obama

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Willie Nelson with Jimmy and Rosylyn Carter at Chastain Park (Atlanta, GA)

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

President and Mrs. Carter sing with Willie Nelson & Family in Georgia

Saturday, May 21st, 2016
by:  Kimberly Richardson


Only 20 minutes into his set, Willie Nelson had already rolled through eight songs.  Delivering them with lean musicianship and the occasional mischievous grin, the 83-year-old musician was a model of stamina Friday night as he unfurled crowd favorites “Whiskey Rose,” “Still is Still Moving to Me,” “Beer for My Horses,” “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind” practically without pausing for a breath.

Mirroring Nelson in the endurance department was former President Jimmy Carter, who arrived at Chastain Park Amphitheatre a couple of songs into opener Kris Kristofferson’s performance with wife Rosalynn and a handful of casually dressed Secret Service men in tow.

Carter is an avowed Nelson fan, and he and Rosalynn were spotted standing throughout most of the Red Headed Stranger’s set, front row, stage left. When Nelson launched into a concert staple, his rendition of “Georgia on My Mind,” a spotlight caught the Carters smiling and singing along.

Along with the presidential couple, about 6,500 other fans tolerated the misty rain that persisted all evening – but not many seemed eager to leave once Nelson hit the stage, clad in black and waving his two arms overhead in greeting.

Nelson’s singing has always been more about character than technicality, so in that sense, his adenoidal tone hasn’t changed. But his spoke-sung delivery of most songs indicated his impatience to get to the good part for him – the guitar playing.

Nelson’s instrument was turned up a bit high in the mix and sometimes he played a step off the beat but always fell back into the groove provided by Billy English on his snare drum – yep, no kit, just a single drum – and bassist Bee Spears.

Harmonicist Mickey Raphael stayed busy on every song, while Nelson’s sister Bobbie added texture to “Always on My Mind” with her expert piano playing.

In addition to playing a generous set of songs from his 50-plus year career, Nelson asked fans, “What about some Hank Williams?” Before they could respond with a whoop, Nelson was halfway through the first verse of “Jambalaya (on the Bayou).”

During a jam in the song, Nelson edged toward English, swapped his black cowboy hat for a trademark red bandanna (he tossed several into the crowd throughout his set) and segued seamlessly into Williams’ “Hey Good Lookin’” and “Move it On Over.”

The memory of Waylon Jennings was conjured as well with “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (Jennings and Nelson earned a No. 1 with their 1978 duet).

Nelson continued his rapid-fire blast of hits with “Shoeshine Man” and the song he said used to close his sets “100 years ago” – the aptly titled “The Party’s Over.”

After singing “Funny How Time Slips Away” with a wistful tinge to his voice, Nelson dovetailed into “Crazy,” which included some rough swipes at his guitar that morphed into a thoughtful solo.

When Nelson’s Chastain concert was announced earlier this year, he was set to share the bill with Merle Haggard.

After Haggard’s death last month,  Nelson pal Kristofferson stepped in to fill the opening slot, along with Haggard’s sons, Ben and Noel.

Backed by Kristofferson’s band, The Strangers, the front threesome alternated at the mic between Haggard classics (“I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” sung by Noel in a smooth country tenor and “Workin’ Man Blues,” handled adeptly by Ben, were standouts) and Kristofferson classics.

At this point, one goes to see Kristofferson to bask in his legacy, not listen to his voice, which vacillated between gruff mumbling on “Me and Bobby McGee” (which he penned in the late-‘60s) and a strained warble on “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “Why Me.”

The Haggard boys and the band, though, sounded sturdy throughout.

Haggard even received an extra moment of remembrance when, during “Okie from Muskogee,” Noel missed his second verse cue, looked upward and joked, “Sorry, dad.”

He likely wasn’t the only one thinking of Merle at that moment.

Mickey Raphael seranades President and Mrs. Carter with “Georgia”

Saturday, May 21st, 2016


photo:  thanks to Annie Nelson

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were special guests at the Willie Nelson & Family Show at Chastaine Park, in Atlanta, Georgia.  They stood at the stage for “Georgia”.


Willie Nelson endorses Democratic Candidates Clinton and Sanders

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

by:  Steven Bernstein

Legendary country music star Willie Nelson was in Washington, D.C., last week celebrating his 60-year career, as a recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. As a long-time supporter of the legalization of marijuana, PJ Media inquired during an interview at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall (where the awards ceremony took place) which candidate he plans to support in the presidential race. “Well, you know, it’s not over yet. I’m still watching the show but I’m a great Bernie and Hillary fan, you know,” Nelson said.

At a performance this weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, Nelson – who has a much-admired reputation as a country music outlaw – let his audience know he has a very difference understanding  of what it means to be an outlaw than many of the folks in Texas:

“That was never clearer than when he played Living in the Promised Land, a song he played 30 years ago at Farm Aid, towards the end of night. When he sang the words, ‘There’s still a lot of love living in the promised-land,’ they were met with rapturous applause. When he followed that up with, ‘There’s room for everyone living in the promised land,’ the room fell awkwardly silent. At a time when some Texans see fit to take their guns and protest outside Islamic mosques, Nelson seemed to take pleasure in making clear just what it means (and doesn’t mean) to be an outlaw.”

Country music has typically been the bastion of Conservatives, but Nelson has some superstar country music liberal friends including Merle Haggard, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Loretta Lynn, and Rosanne Cash, daughter of the late country music outlaw Johnny Cash. Cash, a guest at the award presentation honoring Nelson, told PJM:

“I’d love to see a women become president before I die”….offering, as if to make sure no one thought she was referring to Carly Fiorina, “She’s [Clinton] out there. I mean, I do like Bernie as well. It’s tough, you know. I’m an old-school liberal.”

Not surprisingly, Nelson has made some influential political friends as well. Of President Barack Obama, he said: “We talk about a lot of things. I’ve met him several times before, so he’s a good friend.” President Jimmy Carter, who shared this thoughts in a letter, said Nelson’s music has “enriched the lives of people far and wide for decades and that he is truly worthy of this prestigious and well-deserved award.”

Willie Nelson was born 82 years ago in Texas – he was raised a Methodist and still admits to some connection to the Church, but his politics have been liberal. Causes he backs include environmentalism, support for family farms, which he wrote about in an editorial for Politico earlier this year – and notably, the legalization of marijuana. So it should surprise no one that when asked what he likes about Sanders and Clinton, he responded “everything.”

President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Carter congratulate Willie Nelson on Library of Congress Gershwin Prize

Monday, November 23rd, 2015



11-18-2015 Library Of Congress Gershwin Honors Willie Nelson-44

To Willie Nelson:

Although we regret we couldn’t be with you today, Rosalynn joins me in congratulating you on receiving the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize, a prestigious and well-deserved award.  Your music has enriched the lives of people far and wide for decades, and it is only fitting that your life’s work be honored in this way.

Your friendship has been important to us for over 30 years, and we were proud to host you at the White House and in Plains. We also loved having you in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Price concert in 2002. Your music has become the soundtrack of our lives, and we are pleased to see your tremendous talent recognized today.

Please know you have our warm best wishes on this special occasion, and we hope to see you soon!


Jimmy Carter