We’ve been yakking away on the Johnny Cash thread and Willie Nelson’s name came up a couple times.
As a poet the man’s amazing. As a singer… well, I guess maybe you gotta develop a taste for his voice.
Know it or not, everyone’s heard, and probably sang along with, something written by Willie.
Anyway, here’s one website;
So let’s yak about the man a little.
I disliked Willie for a long time. Now he’s a fave. In fact, one of the times I saw Johnny Cash was with Wille Nelson at a Highwaymen concert in Sydney. As Johnny would say, “I love all four of those crimi… I mean, those guys”.
Been a Kristofferson fan since I was a kid, so I already knew his stuff. Waylon Jennings was new to me, but I liked his work instantly.
As I mentioned in the other thread, Willie and Johnny doing Ghostridersin the Sky really is something else.
I didn’t think I would like Willie. He seemed too country. But when I first really listened to him I was blown away. Me and Paul and Hello Walls are among my favorites, but there are many, many others I enjoy immensely.
My girlfriend won front row tickets and backstage passes to Willie and after putting on a great show, he took us on his Honeysuckle Rose tour buses, signed autographs, took pictures and was as nice as can be. He sang everything he ever recorded, it seems like, and was full of energy and just a lot of fun!
I’ve wanted to say this for a long time: Willie Nelson is a great singer!!! His timber and phrasing are a little unusual and he does play things loose, but I have never heard him miss a note. Also, he usually takes harmony when singing with someone else. I assume that this is because the harmonies have to be on pitch with the band, while the lead singer can be a little off.
I was about to write that he was also a jazz guitarist, but just calling him a country and jazz musician would be selling him short. When he bothers to though, he can produce some incredible jazz phrasings and can write lyrics to match. He could probably put out a jazz standards album that would knock most people off their feet, but unfortunately, a lot of people will refuse to hear him as anything but a honky-tonker and half the time it seems like he’s loafing, perhaps as a result.
I’ve heard, but haven’t been able to verify, that he made all-state choir both his Junior and Senior years in high school (don’t laugh, some people can sing even in Texas.) Can anyone back this up?
A first rate songwriter (“Crazy,” made famous by Patsy Cline), a terrific singer with distinctive phrasing, nifty guitar player (how that old Martin stays together is beyond me), and one-time mayor of Party Town (I believe he has since cleaned up his act a little bit). He and Jerry Jeff Walker used to throw a HUGE 4th of July Party, and I believe he got high in a White House bathroom during the Carter Administration. My favorite quote, made while discussing one of his many bankruptcies: “I lost my ass and all its fixtures.”
“Stardust” is my favorite album - his interpretation of the American songbook is something I never tire of. He also does an absolutely killer version of “What Was It You Wanted?,” from Dylan’s “Oh, Mercy.”
Willie just keeps getting better. One of his best and widest reaching albums was Across the Borderline. It had duets with Sinead O’Connor, Bonnie Raitt, and Bob Dylan. He does a Paul Simon tune (Graceland) and a Peter Gabriel tune (Don’t Give Up - with Sinead O’Connor). His “American Tune” should be the lead song to a movie. It’s great.
Little known fact, Willie is the oldest man alive, made wholly of leather, and can kill anyone just by looking at them.
The first time I saw Willie I must have been about 8 years old. My parents drove all the way from Texarkana to Paris (uh…Texas folks) to this dumpy rodeo arena where we sat in bleachers and waited…and waited…and waited…three hours for Willie to go on stage. They kept announcing that he was having disputes with his record company about contracts and that he had severe back pain, yadda, yadda, yaddda… when he finally went on stage three hours late you could tell something wasn’t right (I do remember that - my parents told me about 10 years later he was WAY DRUNK). The second time I saw him was in Dallas as part of the Highwayman tour. I lucked into FRONT ROW CENTER tickets. (guess there were not many country fans that frequented the Sound Warehouse in Old Town). The show was great. I guess Willie, Kris, Waylon, and Johnny have cumulatively written so many songs they could never remember them all - anyway they all had songbooks on barstools between them. Willie accidentally knocked over the barstool and the binder cracked open and lyric sheets went all over the stage during the middle of the song. Johnny and Kris kept on singing while Willie and Waylon scampered areound on all fours trying to gather all the pages. It was pretty hilarious.
Oh yes, Willie is a favorite. I remember my mom singing his songs to me when I was a young pup, and my appreciation for his music has grown through the years. Talk about somebody you can share some heartache with. That voice that resonates the feeling of his songs has brought to me tears on occasion.
Willie played here in Jackson, MS in May at our annual outdoor festival. He was scheduled to go on at 8:00 p.m. His bus rolls up in plain view of the crowd at 7:55 p.m. At 7:59 the lights dim and here comes Willie! He hit the stage right on time and played an excellent show, a fine mix of newer songs and classics. He broke out one of my favorites, “Til I Gain Control Again”, and really just made the night complete for me.
That’s because he’s a contemporary of John Westley Hardin (“a man so mean, he once shot a man for snorin’”[sub]Time-Life Books[/sub]), and is trying to keep up. He also taught Methusaleh how to play washers, and I have heard that he once smoked marijuana. He did have his own Nashville TV show, complete with hand puppet cows and horses.
Since you brought it up, wishbone, http://www.norml.org/about/ad_pages/adgallery_radiohome.shtml
I love this guy!
Willie sang Crazy on the show I mentioned above. With Johnny Cash doing harmony.
And if Angel (flying too close to the ground) don’t break your heart, you ain’t got one.
Country, blues, folk. Who is this man?
not a big fan of willie, although he’s had a lot of fun, and hes not a bad musician. having to listen to that stardust album OVER AND OVER again at work may have something to do with my knee jerk willie reaction today.
but he is the subject of my favorite joke. this is the short version.
did ya hear about the redheaded lady who had tattoos of elvis on both of her thighs? she asked some fellow she took home from a bar which one looked more like elvis, and after a good look, he said, ‘i dunno, but the one in the middle sure looks like willie nelson.’