Willie Nelson & Family, Jackson County Fair, Michigan (August 8, 2011)

photos:  Nick Dentamaro

by:  Zeke Jennings

Kevin McMurtrie was the envy of thousands of people at the Willie Nelson concert at the Jackson County Fairgrounds on Tuesday.  Nelson tossed the red bandana he wore on stage to McMurtrie, an 18-year-old student at Northwest High School with special needs.

“He’s a huge Willie fan,” said Kevin’s father, Howard, before Kevin added: “I got to see him one other time, back in the ’90s.”


Dave and Debbie Beasore of Jerome had front-row seats thanks to their granddaughter, Daisy, who waited in line to get them.  It was Debbie’s third time seeing Nelson live, but her first since 1985. It was the first Willie Nelson concert for Dave, who was celebrating his birthday.  “He’s a heck of a good person,” Debbie Beasore said of Nelson. “His music touches a lot of people’s hearts.”


Ricky Jonas, a former resident of Grass Lake, made the trip to see the show from his home in Carrollton, which is near Flint.  “His music tells a story,” Jonas said. “His songs represent people or at least represent someone they know.”


Jonas also noted Nelson’s longtime support of American farmers. “Nobody has given more back,” he said.

Nelson took the stage shortly after 8 p.m. wearing almost all black, including a cowboy hat that topped his signature red bandana and braided hair.  In typical Nelson fashion, he opened with “Whiskey River,” which was followed by “Still is Still Moving To Me.”  The crowd really began to get into things when Nelson played “If You Got the Money, I Got the Time,” which came several songs into the set.

One concertgoer boasted there was no one he’d rather see than Nelson.  “I’ll tell you what, I’d rather see Willie than (Elvis) Presley,” he said. “No question about it.”

rick dentaro

Read entire article, and see more pictures by Nick Dentamaro, here. 

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