Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

WILLIE NELSON - TEXAS ICON

Post by Alana Cash

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a program on PBS about Tony Bennett’s second duets album.  There were, of course, tremendous people singing with him – Michael BublĂ©, Lady Gaga, Nora Jones among others – and to my surprise, Willie Nelson and Tony Bennett sang “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”  It was watching the interview with Willie Nelson that I realized how iconic his voice is.  Speaking or singing, you recognize his voice immediately. 

Willie was born in Abbot, Texas just north of Waco, and became a working musician at 13.  He traveled around, playing in honky tonks, working side jobs as everything from a saddle maker to encyclopedia salesman.  In 1961, he wrote three songs while making a drive from Houston to Nashville:  Crazy, Nightlife, Funny How Time Slips Away, which he explained on the David Letterman Show:


Patsy Cline's husband heard Willie's rendition of "Crazy," brought Willie to the house to meet Patsy and the next week she recorded the song that would become the most-played jukebox tune ever.  I had heard Patsy Cline sing “Crazy,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QEDb3xzdec but I wasn’t aware of Willie Nelson singing anything until his song “I Never Cared for You” became a crossover hit and I heard it played every hour on the radio stations in San Antonio.  When the Grand Ole Opry came to San Antonio that year, I got to hear him sing that song in person.  He wore a light blue cowboy suit and his hair was cut as short as a bank executive.  Hard to believe.  

Here is a much later release of the song, arranged as a salsa. It has a 2-minute guitar solo intro before he begins to sing:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmdwsLtNx2E

Willie retired from music in 1973 because he wasn’t making the big success as a performer that he had wanted to be.  In retirement, he created and enjoyed his own style of outlaw country music, grew his hair, changed his wardrobe, and put Luckenbach, Texas on the map with his Fourth of July Picnic.  Kind of a nice lesson for all of us – live the way you want doing what you love and all the rest is gravy. 

WILLIE NELSON and TONY BENNETT singing “ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET”


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