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Review: Saturday’s Mystic Lake casino concert was short and sweet, but far from rote.

By CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER , STAR TRIBUNE - http://m.startribune.com/variety/music/304043921.html

If Saturday’s sold-out Mystic Showroom audience needed any reassurance Willie Nelson is still worth the $60-$70 ticket, it came just a few songs into the rudimentary concert when Texas’ Gandalf-like lord of the smoke rings lit into “Night Life.”

Yes, “Night Life” is a song ol’ Willie has played so often he could do it with one hand tied behind his ponytails. But it’s one of many Willie Nelson classics famously rerecorded by other American music icons, in this case B.B. King, who died two days earlier.

“Night Life” thus served as a reminder to see these giants while they still walk among us — although, if his New Balance shoes were any indicator, Willie still jogs among us at 82.

Like King, Nelson’s set lists have become routine since he entered his 80s. Saturday’s concert was shorter than usual, too, clocking in at 75 minutes on the dot. Unlike B.B., though, Willie hasn’t resorted to personality-driven shtick and canned humor to prop up his shows. He still lets the music do the talking. And boy oh boy, did it scream at times on Saturday.

Look no further than “Night Life,” during which he ripped out a lengthy, bluesy solo on his haggard-looking acoustic guitar Trigger that would have bedazzled King himself.

Not only were his picking skills exemplary — they’ve never slipped, actually — but his singing stood strong, too. Only a few shows into his latest tour leg, he was able to deliver a heartbreaking version of “Always on My Mind” and an elegant “Georgia on My Mind,” standards he famously reinterpreted on record. It still means something when Willie sings the songs that meant a lot to him. He also threw in his usual spirited batch of Hank Williams tunes (“Jambalaya,” “Move It on Over” and “I Saw the Light”), and paid tribute to a couple of his favorite songwriters, Tom T. Hall (“Shoeshine Man”) and Kris Kristofferson (“Help Me Make It Through the Night”).

As always, Nelson improvised vocally like a more bloodshot-eyed Frank Sinatra to give his own tunes a special, sometimes mystical flavor, including “Crazy,” “On the Road Again,” “Funny How Time Slips Away” and an especially slow-stirring take on “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.” He even put a playful rhythmic twist on his newest song, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” which he introduced after “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” as “another gospel tune.”

Willie’s Family band hasn’t been as resilient as its leader, but the mere presence of its surviving members added sentimental value Saturday.

His older sister, Bobbie Nelson, was back on piano and able to strut her stuff in “Down Yonder.” Drummer Paul English mostly left the timekeeping to his brother Billy but did return to the snare during “Me and Paul.” And harmonica player Mickey Raphael — who literally grew up in the Family — was integral throughout, with the same kind of uniquely identifiable sound as Willie’s guitar.

“Leave me if you need to / I will still remember,” Willie sang beside his bandmates in “Angel Flying,” still doing justice to their unforgettable legacy.

 

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In July 2013, Willie Nelson and Family played the Weesner Family Amphitheater, Apple Valley, MN, at the Minnesota Zoo Tuesday night to a sold-out crowd braving the 90 plus heat. ] TOM WALLACE tom.wallace@startribune.com ASSIGNMENT #20029772A SLUG/SAXO# 557073 willie 071713 EXTRA INFORMATION: review of Willie Nelson, 80, in his debut at MN Zoo — Tom Wallace, Star Tribune file

In July 2013, Willie Nelson and Family played the Weesner Family Amphitheater, Apple Valley, MN, at the Minnesota Zoo Tuesday night to a sold-out crowd braving the 90 plus heat. ] TOM WALLACE tom.wallace@startribune.com ASSIGNMENT #20029772A SLUG/SAXO# 557073 willie 071713 EXTRA INFORMATION: review of Willie Nelson, 80, in his debut at MN Zoo — Tom Wallace, Star Tribune file

 

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SAN ANTONIO - As he reflected on his life on the road, Ben Dorcy said, “I love the road … the road is my life.”

Dorcy, who will turn 90 Monday, still travels often with country music legend Willie Nelson. In addition to Nelson, Dorcy has worked for other entertainment legends including the late Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.

“I’ve worked with some pretty nice people,” Dorcy said.

Nelson considers Dorcy more than just a roadie.

“He’s family,” Nelson said. “A good, hard-working man.”

That’s a sentiment shared by Nelson’s youngest daughter, Amy Nelson.

“Ben is the oldest of our tribe,” she said. “We respect him and want to preserve his legacy.”

To that end, Amy Nelson and her cousin, Trevor Nelson, are producing a documentary on Dorcy’s life called “King of the Roadies.”

“The man is a legend among legends yet most people have no idea who he is,” Amy Nelson said.

Dorcy is not totally comfortable with the term “legend.”

“I’m simply a roadie .. somebody who takes care of the equipment and makes sure the show goes on,” Dorcy said.

He said that he’s finally ready to slow down.

“I’ve had a good life and I love the road,” Dorcy said. “I guess it’s as they say, the road is my life.”


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Country Radio’s Rare Flower

Does the name Gwyneth Seese ring a bell?
If you listened to country radio in the 1980s and ’90s, you probably know Seese as “Dandalion,” the popular DJ on Carlisle stations WCAT-FM 106.7 and the former WRKZ-FM 102.3 Z-Country, where she kept listeners company during the overnight hours.
 
She came to be known as Dandalion in a roundabout way.
A third-shift postal worker back in the 1970s, Seese had bought a CB radio to feel more secure at night. For her handle, she first chose “Delta Dawn,” after the popular song by Tanya Tucker. Little did Seese know that prostitutes worked the highway over CB radio, and the handle of the No. 1 hooker was Delta Dawn.
“I got some interesting offers, some I never heard of before, and I was married,” Seese said in a recent telephone interview from her home in Canadensis, north of Stroudsburg.
Seese’s granddaughter suggested changing her handle to “Dandelion,” as they were looking out over a yard full of the yellow-flowered weeds. She took her granddaughters advice but misspelled the name “Dandalion,” with an “a” instead of an “e.” The misspelling stuck, and so did her moniker.
She began writing for trucker magazines and became friends with Big John Trimble, a Richmond, Va., DJ who broadcast live from a truck stop. Trimble asked her to fill in for him during a two-week vacation. She couldn’t take off from her postal job, so she quit in order to do it.
Seese enjoyed the experience and started looking for full-time DJ work. WIOV-FM I-105 in Ephrata took a chance and put her on the overnights in 1979. Her love of country music and her knowledge of truckers set her on the path to a successful career.
She joined Z-Country in 1981, and her popularity soared over the next two decades. Seese hosted a request show, playing only upbeat music, often with a theme. She would talk about her family and play new artists, often trying out a song on her listeners instead of waiting to hear if it was a hit.
“It was important to expose music to listeners,” Seese said. “I took chances with artists during the overnight. I took a chance with Garth Brooks.”
Brooks has since repaid the favor. The two share a bond, and Brooks, one of the most popular country artists of all time, has taken Seese to Ireland twice. Fellow country legend Willie Nelson took her to Europe. Musicians driving through the area would call her while she was on the air.
Her bond with the audience was even greater. She kept truckers and third-shifters awake and helped others fall asleep. She recalled one listener who told her, “Dandalion, I’ve been sleeping with you for four years. I just hope it’s been as good for you as it was for me.”
Seese was 41 when she started in radio and wasn’t a threat to female listeners. “I was a grandmother and worked overnight,” she said. “You could relate to me. If I was skinny, 20 and blond, people might not have liked me. People could identify with me.”
Seese earned widespread acclaim for her show, which was carried by a network of six stations in 1999. Her numerous national awards include the Academy of Country Music’s Disc Jockey of the Year honor in 1989. She is one of only two women in the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame.
She went off the air in 2002 to work as a music director for WRKZ and WCAT.
“My life was so productive,” Seese said. “I’ve done everything I wanted to do.”
Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2009  
ERIC STARK, Stark Ravings
 
 
Dandalion passed away yesterday after a long and painful illness. Fellow country disc jockeys, once Willie and Dandalion they met they hit it off right away. She was also a genuine fan of his music, playing his songs regularly on the air. Dandy became the first official president of the Willie Nelson Fan Club, and remained with the fan club until her death. She kept thousands of fans in touch with Willie Nelson and Family long before social media made it easy. She was old school; writing articles, reading fan mail and caring about the fans. She typed, cut and pasted all the fan club newsletters and faithfully mailed them out to fans for over 30 years.
Dandalion was loved by many who knew her and she will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.
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The world lost an incredible musician and dear friend to Willie. Our hearts go out to all near and dear to Mr. B.B. King.

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Take a look at what some of the inmates at the Polunski Unit in Livingston,TX made for Willie. The letter that came with the handmade guitar said, “I know you’ll probably never play it but I am satisfied in my heart that I did the best I could do with what I had to work with.” We couldn’t agree with him more. This guitar is an absolute work of art. Incredible, a job well done Ketch, Joey and Ricky. Every single hour you spent on it is appreciated.
What an honor. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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“How does someone who smokes so much pot get so much done?” Watch Willie on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

 

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Willie on The View

willienelson —  May 6, 2015 — 3 Comments

Willie joined the cast of The View to talk about life, music, and the new book! Watch it below.

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Meet Willie Nelson and celebrate the publication of his new book, IT’S A LONG STORY! He’ll be at Barnes & Noble Union Square at 12pm on Thursday, May 7th.

Details: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/86486

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Watch the exclusive trailer for Willie’s next book, IT’S A LONG STORY

 

Get Your Copy Here: http://shop.willienelson.com/

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Neil Young has teamed up with Promise of the Real, a band featuring Willie’s sons, Lukas and Micah, to record an album titled The Monsanto Years. The album, set to be released June 16, is composed of songs criticizing the food industry giant Monsanto. A few songs that may appear on the album debuted at a recent show in San Luis Obispo, California. One of the songs featured from the show, “Walk On,” can be seen here:

 

Get the full story here: http://bit.ly/1bvj6bE

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Music legend Willie Nelson is pleased to announce a unique American enterprise: Willie’s Reserve, a cannabis brand reflecting Nelson’s own longstanding experience and his commitment to regulated, natural, and high quality strains of marijuana in U.S. legal markets. As one journalist has already noted, “The marijuana world is about to get its first connoisseur brand, edging it farther from an illegal substance and closer to the realm of fine wines.”

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Willie’s Reserve is an extension of Willie’s passion and appreciation for the many varieties and range of the plant’s qualities. Some of the best master growers in America will collaborate, along with Willie, to define quality standards so that fans can expect clean and consistent products.

Willie’s Reserve will be grown, distributed and sold by local businesses in Colorado and Washington, and will become available in other markets when state regulations allow.

Somewhat controversially, Willie has spent a lifetime as an outspoken supporter of cannabis for personal use and for industrial hemp production.

Building on Willie’s community of friends and experts who share his values, Willie’s Reserve will seek ways to further support and celebrate aspects of the singer-songwriter’s journey with cannabis. Willie and his family, and a few close friends developed the brand with emphasis on environmental and social issues, to lend support to the gradual end to marijuana prohibition across America.

“I am looking forward to working with the best growers in Colorado and Washington to make sure our product is the best on the market,” stated Willie Nelson.

Collaboration is at the center of plans for Willie’s Reserve. Willie has been an outspoken supporter of the front line efforts of store owners, growers, and citizens who have been pioneers and advocates of cannabis policy improvements. The company will work with businesses that are making smart and sustainable choices for the environment, have demonstrated leadership in their markets, and are committed to encouraging safe, legal use.

Seeing the power of legalization, regulation and taxation to impact how Americans view cannabis is a life’s work realized for Willie. As many have noted, his involvement is no surprise, and in the end, it’s no surprise that Willie’s Reserve will reflect his life.

 

About Willie Nelson

With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, this iconic Texan is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of CrazyRed Headed Stranger, and Stardust. Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In the last five years alone he delivered eight new album releases (of which one resulted in a Grammy Award win), released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestsellers book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, and graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. In 2013, Willie’s albums included Let’s Face The Music And Dance, an album of deep pop country repertoire classics performed with transformative patented ease by Nelson and Family, his long-time touring and recording ensemble; and To All The Girls… which features 18 duets with music’s top female singers. In 2014, he released Band of Brothers, a 14-track studio album of new recording that debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart and #1 on Billboard’s Country album chart, and December Day: Willie’s Stash Vol. 1, an eclectic album collaboration of intimate new recordings from Willie and Sister Bobbie Nelson. This year he will add two more titles. On May 5, 2015, “It’s A Long Story: My Life,” the unvarnished and complete story of Willie, will hit bookshelves. Later in the year he will release a new album with Merle Haggard titled Django And Jimmie.
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Sister Bobbie & Willie’s brother, Ira Doyle Nelson Jr. passed away yesterday(April 15th 2015) at the age of 77 of natural causes. Doyle spent his life in many transportation related jobs including driving tour busses for folks such as Jon Bon Jovi, Van Halen, John Fogerty and his brother Willie. He spent several years serving transportation needs for the television and film industry. He was a gentle man who will be dearly missed.

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Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic presented by Budweiser. Returns Home To Austin, Texas. Nelson To Headline Line-Up Which Includes Eric Church, Merle Haggard, Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson, Asleep At The Wheel, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Leon Russell and More…

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At Willie’s recent sold out show in Iron City, the now 81-year-old proved that he’s still got it. He began the show with a number of hits, including “Whiskey River” and “Still Is Still Moving To Me.” Willie also covered a number of Waylon Jennings’ songs from “Good Hearted Woman.” With only one backup electric guitarist, Willie performed all the main acoustics throughout the show as well. Get the full story here: http://bit.ly/1GsKP5L

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Willie revealed the lineup for his Heartbreaker Banquet in Luck, TX, that happens during South by Southwest in March. There’s two stages and also features both art and food vendors. Tickets are on sale now. Find out who’s performing and purchase your tickets at http://www.heartbreakerbanquet.com/

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Listen to Willie reading the iconic Travis Letter, known as one of the most stirring documents in American history. Listen below.

The Travis Letter is now on display at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission through March 6, 2015.

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Willie has just signed on to play a role in the upcoming movie, Waiting for the Miracle to Come. He will be playing alongside actress Charlotte Rampling as a retired vaudeville performer. U2′s Bono will be writing an original song for the film, which Willie will perform. The movie, which is set to film at Willie’s private ranch in Luck, Texas, does not have an official release date yet. Get the full story here: http://bit.ly/1FDa5cD

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long-store-willieWillie has a new memoir “It’s a Long Story: My Life” coming out May 5th! Read more on what you can expect here: http://bit.ly/1AjbAbs

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Last year William Clark Green performed “She Likes the Beatles” with help from Cody Canada at the 2nd Annual Ben Dorcy Day Event at Floore’s Country Store in Helotes, TX.

Watch it here:

Get details on the 3rd Annual Ben Dorcy Day event here: http://www.liveatfloores.com/

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3rd Annual Ben Dorcy Day!

willienelson —  February 16, 2015 — 1 Comment

Check out the 3rd annual Ben Dorcy Day at John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes, TX on February 22! The show will be featuring Wade Bowen, Ray Wylie Hubbard, William Clark Green, Doug Moreland and five surprise guests!

Get tickets here: BUY TICKETS

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Make sure to tune in tonight to the ‘All-Star GRAMMY Salute’ for Stevie Wonder – CBS at 9pm ET/PT

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Check out Willie’s live 1993 performance of ‘Valentine’ at his 60th birthday show:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Willie announced the 30th annual Farm Aid celebration to take place on September 19, 2015. The celebration, an all day food and music festival, will feature a lineup of artists of all genres. The first celebration, Willie says, featured over 50 different artists. Ever since, hundreds more artists have participated. This year, Willie hopes to invite even more artists to participate in the festival. Check out the full story here: http://prn.to/1zfOPRM

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