Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Highwaymen

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Willie Nelson & Family at Summerstage (NY) (9/20/22)

Monday, July 25th, 2022

Willie and Buddy

Monday, July 25th, 2022

Willie Nelson & Family in Trout, Oregon (July 24, 2016)

Sunday, July 24th, 2022

Lucktoberfest, at Luck, Texas

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

Pete Seeger, Farm Aid 2013, “This Land is Your Land”

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

Five Great Deep Cuts from Willie Nelson albums

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

Read article, see more videos here.

By: Alex Hopper

From his time as a honeyed crooner to becoming an outlaw country star, Willie Nelson has more than a few hits to his name. With tracks like “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” to the quintessential travelogue “On the Road Again,” even casual music fans can hum along to Nelson’s iconic tracks.

Despite his unending success, there are still a few that got away. Let’s go through five underrated Willie Nelson songs below.

1. “Darkness on the Face of the Earth”

Originally released on Nelson’s debut album, …And Then I Wrote, this song is a classic Nelson jilted lover tale. It’s almost biblical in its apocalyptic vision of a world without love.

The song has cropped up around Nelson’s career a number of times. It appeared three years after its original release on Country Willie: His Own Songs Album with a slightly different feel. In 1998, he returned to the track once again for Téatro, this time with a cinematic, hypnotic rendition. But it’s his original 1962 version that best conveys the hapless romantic Nelson proved himself to be in the early days of his career.

2. “No Place But Texas

Switching gears from crooner to the outlaw we know and love today, “No Place But Texas” is a love letter to Nelson’s birthplace, with imagery so rich it makes you fall in love with the Lone Star State too.

Written by Alex Harvey, the song takes a turn for the morbid about halfway through, laying out the author’s burial plans. Though Nelson’s trademark levity takes the whole thing in his light-hearted stride, the lyrics when I die, I hope they bury me/on the Pedernales River/beneath a live oak tree make the inevitable very clear—that one day the country music scene will feel a Texas-sized loss.

3. “The Great Divide”

Nelson partnered with a handful of artists, ranging from Kid Rock to Rob Thomas in 2002 for The Great Divide. The end result was an underperforming—and maybe even a little regrettable—collection of duets. One track that does deserve a bit more love is the title track, which saw Nelson team up with guitarist Jackie King. The Western ballad is sweeping, conjuring up images of empty deserts and towering mountains. Nelson is trekking in vain across the sprawling terrain, in search of a relationship lost in the “great divide.”

4. “The Warmth of the Sun”

In 1996, the Beach Boys recruited a group of country stars to interpret their catalog on Stars and Stripes Vol. 1—with Nelson being amongst the pack. Though the red-headed stranger may have been an unlikely choice to take on Brian Wilson’s “The Warmth of the Sun,” Nelson makes it his own with his quavering voice conveying every ounce of heartbreak in the song.

He then offers a bit of solace in the chorus singing Still I have the warmth of the sun / Within me tonight. “I got tears,” Wilson said while witnessing Nelson’s performance in the studio. “That’s absolutely phenomenal.”

5. “Wives and Girlfriends”

Having been married four times, Nelson himself would admit to being a ladies’ man—which he does in a very tongue-in-cheek manner on “Wives and Girlfriends.” Characteristically defiant, he starts the song with the lines I love my wives/and I love my girlfriends/and may they never meet. He then begins a running tally on his wives recalling that some were “fine” and some “made him sick.”

Though the song delights in hyperbole, it’s easy to tell Nelson had fun while playing the part of a philandering husband. In the end, he shrugs the whole ordeal off saying I might be a Mormon/ or I might be a heathen / I just don’t know.

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

Support family farmers, support Farm Aid

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Win Tickets to see Willie Nelson & Family

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Willie Nelson, Cowboys and Indians (July 2017)

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Photography: Rodney Bursi
by:  Jon Leydon

Willie Nelson arguably is the most energetic octogenarian in country music. But even he admits that aging into the role of gray eminence has its downside. Indeed, the celebrated Red Headed Stranger repeatedly addresses the subject throughout God’s Problem Child, his most recent album, which Rolling Stone writer Jeff Gage aptly and admiringly described as Nelson’s “stark, honest, sometimes bleak, and often funny look at mortality and the specter of his own death.”

In “Old Timer,” one of the album’s most poignantly melancholy cuts, Nelson sings: “One by one, your friends have crossed over. You pray for mercy and a few more days. Still got dreams inside your head. Some days it’s a struggle just to get out of bed.”

On the other hand: Don’t assume he’s looking to quit cheating the reaper anytime soon. Another album cut, “Still Not Dead,” which Nelson co-wrote with Buddy Cannon, comically insists that reports of his impending demise are way too premature. “The internet said I had passed away,” but pay that no mind. “I run up and down the road, making music as I go. They say my pace would kill a normal man. But I’ve never been accused of being normal anyway. And I woke up still not dead again today.”

So there.

Listening to those lyrics, I was reminded of the day in April 2015 when I got to hang out in Luck, Texas?—?the faux Old West town Nelson maintains on his ranch near Austin?—?and watch while the Country Music Hall of Famer and occasional actor filmed Waiting for the Miracle to Come, a still-unreleased indie feature co-starring Charlotte Rampling. Even then, mortality was on Nelson’s mind. But not so seriously that he couldn’t shrug it off.

“Honestly, and I mean this sincerely, I do 150 shows a year or whatever, and we do some recording in there, and we do a movie here and there, or a video,” Nelson told me after wrapping up the day’s shooting. “And I’m always amazed that I wake up the next day feeling good and ready to go do it again. I’m 82 years old, so that’s kind of a miracle in itself.”

Nelson is now 84. And judging from a recent TV interview he did in Luck with veteran CBS newsman (and, not incidentally, longtime country music aficionado) Bob Schieffer, he continues to feel pretty dang miraculous.

“Everything’s going good,” Nelson told Schieffer. “I think age is just a number. It’s the way I’ve heard it all my life: It’s not how old you are, it’s how you feel. And I’ve been lucky with [everything], health-wise and career-wise.” Laughing, he added: “I haven’t really got anything to bitch about!”

In other words, life is good. And as anyone who knows anything about Willie Nelson can tell you?—?go ahead, cue the “On the Road Again” lyrics?—?the life he loves is making music with his friends. He’ll be doing just that, again, this summer as the headliner of the Outlaw Music Festival Tour, a multi-genre traveling concert that kicks off July 1 in New Orleans, and continues on to Dallas (July 2); Rogers, Arkansas (July 6); Detroit (July 8); Milwaukee (July 9); and Syracuse, New York (July 16). Among the rotating array of artists who’ll be joining Nelson: Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, The Avett Brothers, My Morning Jacket?—?and Nelson’s son, Lukas Nelson, who’ll be performing with his father and his own band, Promise of the Real.

Lukas, whose group has also toured with Neil Young, says that he has learned from his father some invaluable lessons about sustaining his enthusiasm, and his sanity, while on the road for lengthy stretches. “Exercise is important,” he says. (Willie Nelson, it should be noted, celebrated his 81st birthday by earning his fifth-degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yusul, a Korean martial arts discipline.) “And having a routine that you stick to really helps you keep your head on straight. When you’re on the road, all your surroundings are changing all the time, and it can feel chaotic. You can lose your sense of balance. So you need to have a set routine: You wake up, you work out a little bit, you go to sound check, you kind of do the same thing every day. And that really helps.”

These days, Willie Nelson’s sons Micah (pictured in black) and Lukas (in plaid) often tour with their dad and play with him onstage. Photography: Ebet Roberts/Getty Images

Also?—?and don’t try this at home, kids?—?there is an occasional indulgence that has famously worked for Willie Nelson.

“You try and keep it pretty mellow,” Lukas concedes. “And weed is pretty mellow. … But that’s pretty much the only thing he does. He doesn’t drink. And he also keeps his family around him. He makes sure he’s got good folks around him that don’t sap his energy too much. They give him inspiration.”

Another musically inclined Nelson offspring, Micah Nelson, also tours with Dad when he isn’t busy with his own endeavors. (In addition to sometimes playing with Promise of the Real, he divides his time between the group Insects vs Robots and, more recently, his “experimental musical identity,” Particle Kid.) Last year, when he recorded a cover of Bob Dylan’s “With God on Our Side,” he updated the classic protest song with slightly altered lyrics to make it more relevant to contemporary events. It’s an approach, he says, partially inspired by his father’s willingness to keeps things fresh by mixing things up while on tour.

“For the most part,” Micah says, “it’s been kind of the same show for decades now. But at the same time, he never plays the same show twice. It’s always like he’s playing it for the first time. He’ll throw in new songs. He’ll kind of skip verses. He’ll extend things. He keeps it fresh every night.” If you’re performing with him, “You’re never allowed to just be phoning it in. He’s never going through the motions?—?even though he’s basically doing the same show.

“That spontaneity, that energy, that sense of anything can happen at any minute is not only what keeps an audience captivated, and keeps them coming to the shows night after night. It also keeps you engaged, and keeps the band engaged. It keeps every show fresh and different and unique.”

Echoing his brother Lukas, Micah says that, while on the road, his father “finds his routines. He likes to play chess and poker. He likes to smoke cannabis, and he likes to watch western films. He keeps the news on most of the time. He has his bike out on the road, so he’ll ride his bike around if he can and try to stay fit.

“I think there’s something that seems to be in our blood, where if we’re home long enough, we’re antsy and restless, and we need to get back on the road. Then, if you’re on the road long enough, it’s really great to come home and just chill and not think about playing shows for a minute. It’s kind of this symbiotic relationship between the road and being at home. They bleed into one another.”

Willie Nelson has told me that, yes, he truly does appreciate downtime on his ranch. On a typical day there, “I go look at my horses. I can look at the weather. There’s a lot of beautiful things out here to see.” But after a while, he can’t resist the siren call of the road because, well, he’s still not dead.

“There’s a certain kind of energy exchange that takes place in a concert no matter who it is, me or whoever,” Nelson believes. “People pay money to come see it, and for some reason, they usually all are clapping their hands, and they’re singing. And for some reason, I enjoy it too. When we can all get together and exchange that good positive energy, it makes for a good show.

“Yeah, you know, you look around and you don’t see too many guys out here as old as I am still doing one-nighters and still enjoying it. Still having good crowds. So, yeah, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.”

And he remains thankful to the folks who have made it all possible.

“Willie reminds me of Walter Cronkite,” Schieffer says. “When people used to ask me what Walter was really like, I always said, ‘He’s just the way you want him to be.’ He was without question the most famous and recognized man in America?—?but he always had time for the folks who wanted an autograph or a handshake. That’s Willie.”

Schieffer recalls that after wrapping up their Luck conversation, Nelson “didn’t know we were following him, but we wanted a picture of him leaving. So we went down to the place where the bus was waiting to take him to the next show. Now keep in mind: He had been up past midnight doing a show the night before, he was dead tired and had a six-hour bus ride ahead of him. But as he was getting on the bus, a guy appeared out of nowhere with three or four items to sign. And then he asked Nelson for a selfie. Most celebrities would have brushed the guy off. But as tired as he was, and as anxious as he was to get going, Willie stood there, talked to the guy, signed all the stuff, and took three or four pictures. Finally his wife made him get on the bus.

“I love the guy. When I asked him when he was going to retire, he said, ‘All I do is play golf and music. Why would I want to quit either of those things?’ Pretty good philosophy.”

Willie Nelson, “You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore”

Sunday, July 17th, 2022