Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss Head Out on Co-Headlining Tour

Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss Head Out on Co-Headlining Tour

Country world: prepare to be astounded. For the first time ever, genre legends Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss are set to embark on a co-headlining tour, and summer 2014 is its lucky host.

The 35-city U.S. trek will kick off on May 1st in Murray, Kentucky, at the CFSB Center at Murray State University and will continue on through to July 18th, when the tour wraps in Toledo, Ohio. Between these dates, Nelson and Krauss will make stops in Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Detroit.

Joining Willie and Alison on the tour will be Kacey Musgraves, folk trio The Devil Makes Three and singer/songwriter Jason Isbell.

The tour will mark the first time that Willie Nelson and Family & Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas have shared the stage together. A statement on Krauss’ official website promises ” a show full of unforgettable moments.” Said statement fails to clarify whether the unforgettable aspect of said moments will be positive or negative, but we reckon it’s safe to assume that they mean the former.

While this will indeed mark the pair’s first time touring together, it doesn’t mark the pair’s first time working together. Nelson’s latest album, To All The Girls…, features 18 duets with music’s top female artists, including Krauss on “No Mas Amor.”

Willie Nelson is a veritable icon among country music circles, having been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, as well as receiving the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998. In fact, Nelson has an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the list of awards and nominations he’s received throughout his career. No, really.

Krauss, meanwhile, has won 27 Grammy Awards from 41 nominations across her career, making her tied as the most awarded living recipient. Calling this a big tour, then, would be an understatement.


Willie Nelson Forced to Cancel Shows Due to Shoulder Injury

Willie Nelson Forced to Cancel Shows Due to Shoulder Injury

Sad news for Willie Nelson fans, and obviously, Willie Nelson, who has been forced to pull the plug on his scheduled Southern Ground Music & Food Festival appearance and three other shows due to a shoulder injury.

The 80-year old star’s publicist stated that Nelson was under strict orders to rest for a week, meaning he’ll miss shows in Carmel, Indiana; Charlotte, Michigan; Springfield, Illinois, and Saturday’s appearance at the festival hosted by Zac Brown in Nashville.

Don’t worry too much, though: Nelson is unlikely to be out of action for long, and is expected to whip his generous braids back and forth on the road again in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 15th, the same day he releases his new duets album, To All the Girls …

The album is set to feature Nelson performing duets with some of his favorite country girls, including Miranda Lambert, newly country Sheryl Crow, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and several others. Sucks to be you if you weren’t invited to that party. Also, how do I get an invite to that party?

The album is also set to be Nelson’s third with Legacy records, a division of Sony. Of the union, Nelson had this to say:

“I’m really happy to be back home with Sony Music. We have been partners for many years; all the way back to Pamper Music and Tree Music. We share a great history, and I’m looking forward to many more years together.”

With regard to the postponed dates: no need to worry if you were left holding a ticket. The individual dates already have, or are in the process of being, rescheduled.

According to a statement on Nelson’s official website, ticket-holders are urged to contact their respective venues for further information on rescheduled performances.

No word yet on how Nelson sustained the injury, or the degree of its severity.

Farm Aid 2013 Nets Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Willie Nelson

Farm Aid 2013 Nets Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Willie Nelson

Farm Aid will move to New York this year, and the bill will be topped once again by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews.

Nelson, Young and Mellencamp founded Farm Aid in 1985 in an effort to help farmers pay off their mortgages and to keep farms in the family. The event has become the longest-running benefit concert in the nation, and has raised more than $43 million to date. Matthews is a board member of the event.

This year’s event will be held September 21 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, which is located about 30 miles north of Albany. Other performers will be announced in the coming months.

“There’s a whole lot of small family farmers in upstate New York,” Nelson told the Associated Press. “I think this is a great place to try to reach some family farmers.”

He went on to speak about the importance of knowing where your food comes from.

“More and more people are asking about where their breakfast comes from, why it comes from 1,500 miles away when there’s a farm next door,” Nelson continued. “A lot of people are thinking about what we’re feeding our kids. Young people are trying to stay healthy, wondering who’s watching out for our food supply.”

Speaking to the Albany Times-Union, the 80-year-old Nelson said that he keeps putting on the shows every year for the farmers he talks to.

“Every time we have a Farm Aid, a lot of farmers show up and say, ‘Hey, keep it going,’ so it’s not a hard decision for us,” he said.

The most recent Farm Aid was held in September of last year in Hershey, Penn. The same headliners performed, though Young played with Crazy Horse and Matthews appeared with Tim Reynolds. Other artists performing at the event included Kenny Chesney, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and Dale Watson, among others.


Zac Brown Grabs Willie Nelson, Grace Potter for Nashville’s Southern Grounds Festival

Zac Brown Grabs Willie Nelson, Grace Potter for Nashville’s Southern Grounds Festival

The Nashville incarnation of Zac Brown’s Southern Grounds festival will be back for a second time later this year, and will feature Willie Nelson and Grace Potter, among others.

Those are just the a few of the artists that will appear at the two-day festival, and when Zac Brown Band performs at the close of both nights, it will welcome special guests Kenny Chesney, John Fogerty and Jason Mraz for what are being called “Super Sets.”

For the second time, the event will be held at Music City’s Lawn at Riverfront Park concert space. This year’s festival will be held September 27-28.

Other acts that have been announced so far are Eli Young Band, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Head and the Heart, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and Kacey Musgraves. The latter is one of the best singer-songwriters currently working in mainstream Country, and recently released her debut album, Same Trailer, Different Park.

Of course, Southern Grounds is known for having a ton of different artists, and more artists will be announced in the near future.

Tickets for the festival start at $99 for two day passes, and go on sale throughout the coming days. Members of the Zac Brown Band fan club can get in on an exclusive presale tomorrow, April 24, while those that attended the festival last year can purchase tickets the following day. The general onsale date is April 27.

As with past festivals, there also will be VIP ticket options that include prime onstage seating as well as a gourmet meal prepared by Southern Ground Executive Chef Rusty Hamlin and other chefs working under him. VIP guests also have access to complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks throughout the festival.

Brown also hosts a Southern Grounds Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, and dates and headliners for this year’s event there are expected to be announced soon. Last year’s Nashville even attracted more than 12,000 music fans.


Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson, Trace Adkins Featured at Taste of Country Festival

Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson, Trace Adkins Featured at Taste of Country Festival

The first ever Taste of Country Festival will feature Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson & Family, and Trace Adkins.

The new festival will be held at the Hunter Mountain Resort in Hunter, New York, which is in the Catskill Mountains, and will take place June 13-15.

The festival has been called the “Northeast’s first large-scale country music festival” and also will feature Hunter Hayes, Billy Currington, Montgomery Gentry, Joe Nichols, Blackberry Smoke, Gloriana, Justin Moore and Dustin Lynch, among others.

The festival will be presented by Townsquare Media Group in partnership with Chet-5 festivals.

“We are very excited about our new partnership with the Townsquare Media Group,” said Gary Chetkof of Chet-5 Festivals. “Combining out experience producing the Mountain Jam Festival along with Townsquare Media Group’s assets makes for a powerful partnership that will produce a world-class country music event for many years to come.”

Mountain Jam will be held at the same location the weekend before the Taste of Country festival (June 6-9). That festival will feature Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh & Friends, Primus, The Avett Brothers, Gov’t Mule and many more.

Lady Antebellum has been in the news recently more for canceling shows than scheduling them because of the recent announcement that singer Hillary Scott is pregnant. However, TasteofCountry.com notes that this festival will be the final date on the band’s calendar before taking time off to prepare for the coming child.

Earlier this week, Lady Antebellum released the first single from their upcoming fourth studio album. The song “Downtown” will appear on that as yet untitled album that is expected to be released later this year. The album will be the group’s first since Own the Night was released in September 2011. That album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and was the 12th best-selling album of 2012.

Concert Review: Willie Nelson at the Tabernacle in Atlanta

Concert Review: Willie Nelson at the Tabernacle in Atlanta

Willie Nelson is an American icon. As a life-long Georgian, I have probably heard Willie’s version of “Georgia On My Mind” even more times than Ray Charles’ original. When I was younger, “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” was featured on a commercial with the snippet sung by Native Americans, and by gosh, I really thought this tune was sweeping the reservations. My gullibility aside, its hard to look at country music without noticing the meteor-sized impact that Nelson has made on the genre.

Willie Nelson is currently touring in support of his 2012 release Heroes which saw him collaborate with everyone from Merle Haggard and Jamey Johnson to Sheryl Crow and Snoop Lion. Nelson was due to swing through Atlanta’s northern suburb with Band of Horses on the Railroad Revival Tour in October before the tour’s untimely demise. He simply couldn’t forget about his core Atlanta faithful when he was penciling in The Tabernacle on his winter tour calendar.

The Falcons came up painfully short of punching their Super Bowl ticket against the 49ers a couple blocks away, and while the flood of fans streamed past the Tabernacle, a few had the clever idea of catching a double feature, letting Willie marinate their blues away. Outside of a healthy dose of Dirty Bird fanatics, the crowd tended to skew older. Many were decked out in their country best, a few saddled up in biker gear, but you couldn’t overlook the younger fans who were keeping the legend alive for the next generation.

Nelson’s son Lukas opened the evening with his band Promise of the Real. The youngster has an interesting sound. His vocals sound eerily like Willie before the years of age set in. Lukas didn’t just confine himself to opening duties; he also pulled double time, manning the electric guitar and backing vocals during dad’s set. I’d say your casual fan didn’t know Willie’s offspring was a pretty impressive musician in his own right, but they do now.

Once Willie Nelson took the stage in his cowboy hat and t-shirt, the crowd hit fever pitch. He may be closing in on 80, but the love and devotion from his followers has never waned. With the set list, he sampled across his wide catalog. There were a few off of Heroes including the pot anthem “Roll Me Up” and Pearl Jam cover “Just Breathe,” but he didn’t lean heavily on this material. Instead, he seemed to march out the classics. Tracks like “Good Hearted Woman” and “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” got the crowd amped up.

He did introduce us to his forthcoming album, Let’s Face the Music and Dance, that is set for release March 5. “South of the Border” and the title track were tucked into the middle of the set. The audience response to these songs was tepid at best. A lot of chatter and talking could be overheard as he rolled out these down tempo numbers. Its tough to tell if the audience’s attention was strained because of a disinterest in the new songs or just the lack of the familiar, but once he opened up “Matchbox” the attention magically seemed to reappear.

Of course no trip to Georgia would be complete without Willie’s two signature tunes — “Georgia on a Fast Train” and “Georgia on my Mind.” The rollicking “Fast Train” seemed to get the audience dancing. As for the immortal classic “Georgia on my Mind,” all I can say is Ray would be proud. I don’t think he would have picked anyone else to be the caretaker of his signature tune.

I have to say the best part of the evening was Willie’s collaboration with son, Lukas. Lukas was ever present throughout the set. He performed duets on tracks like “Just Breathe” and took the reins, showing off his considerable guitar chops, on the bluesy Stevie Ray Vaughan cover “Texas Flood.” It was almost like Willie sharing the stage with a much younger version of himself, and it added an extra richness to the flavor of the songs.

Willie Nelson is a legend for a reason. He puts on a damn good live show. At 79, he’s not going to bounce around the stage for fear of putting out a hip, but his voice still squeezes out every ounce of soul and his fingers move over the chords like it was second nature. Age is no obstacle to Willie Nelson. His love for his music will keep him walking out on that stage until the good Lord says its time for him to join the heavenly choir. Let’s hope he can continue to share his gift with his fans for many, many years to come.

Railroad Revival Tour Cancelled, New Dates for Band of Horses

Railroad Revival Tour Cancelled, New Dates for Band of Horses

The Railroad Revival Tour, designed to include Band of Horses and Willie Nelson traveling the country by rail, has been cancelled. Fortunately, Band of Horses already has announced some dates to makeup for the cancelled tour.

The conditions of the cancellation of the tour were not explicitly revealed by a statement posted to the tour’s official website.

“It is with extreme regret that we announce the cancellation of the 2012 Railroad Revival Tour,” read the statement. “The decision to do so was a difficult one, but it was determined that certain complications would not permit us to host the shows in the manner intended, and that the bands and fans deserved.”

The tour was scheduled to kick off October 20 in Duluth, Ga. and then travel the country in vintage rail cars, performing in seven more cities along the way. The final scheduled stop was October 28 in Oakland.

Band of Horses have scheduled seven shows to fill the gap the cancellation of the Railroad Revival Tour left in their itinerary. The first new show will be at the House of Blues in New Orleans October 21, and the final new show will be held in Oakland at the Fox Theater on October 28.

The dates extend Band of Horses’ U.S. tour leg that begins October 10 in Cincinnati. After the October 28 show, the band will head to Europe for a string of shows that will take up most of the month of November. The group will then play a handful of U.S. dates in early December before taking some time off for the holidays and then eventually heading to Australia next January to participate in the Big Day Out traveling festival.

The Railroad Revival Tour website also including a note that the tour “will be giving ticket holders a full refund. These will be processed by October 21, 2012. Please be patient while these refunds are processed and give them time to appear on your credit card statement.”

Breathing Problems Force Willie Nelson to Cancel Denver Performance

Breathing Problems Force Willie Nelson to Cancel Denver Performance

Willie Nelson was forced to cancel a Denver concert over the weekend after being hospitalized for a breathing problem. Fortunately, the 79-year-old country singer’s publicist says that Nelson is doing “fine” and that the rest of his current tour will continue as scheduled.

“Willie’s fine. His shows are gonna continue,” his representative, Elaine Shock, told E! News. “(The Denver concert) was the only one that was cancelled. He’s actually on the road to his next gig.”

Nelson was scheduled to play a benefit concert for the Dumb Friends League in Castle Pines Village, which is about 21 miles north of Denver. An organizer of that event, which was held at a private home, told the Denver Post that Nelson “woke up and had trouble breathing, so he was taken to the hospital.” The NBC affiliate in Denver reported that the breathing problems were a result of “high altitude and emphysema.”

Shock would not confirm if Nelson was actually taken to the hospital, though she did say that the problems were “high altitude-related.”

This is not the first time Nelson has had to cancel concerts due to a breathing problem. Back in 1981, the singer was hospitalized in Maui, Hawaii after suffering a collapsed lung while swimming during a family vacation, according to the New York Times. That injury forced Nelson to cancel 18 concerts.

Nelson’s next scheduled show is tomorrow (Tuesday August 21) at the House of Blues Dallas. He is then scheduled to stay on the road through November 15 when he will play ACL Live: Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

In between now and then, Nelson will play the annual Farm Aid event along with Dave Matthews, Neil Young and Jack Johnson on September 22. He also will head out on the second annual Railroad Revival tour, where he’ll tour the country by rail. That tour also includes Band of Horses.


Willie Nelson, Band of Horses Head Out on Railroad Revival Tour

Willie Nelson, Band of Horses Head Out on Railroad Revival Tour

Willie Nelson and Band of Horses will be among the acts playing the second annual Railroad Revival Tour, it was announced recently.

This year’s tour will continue the tradition started last year of traveling by train to play outdoor dates in a handful of cities. The tour will kick off on October 20 at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Ga., and is scheduled to run through October 28. At that point, all of the bands involved will have ridden the rails across the country to a show at Oakland’s Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.

Other cities the tour will visit are Memphis; Oklahoma City; Old Town Spring, Texas; Tempe, Ariz., San Padro, Calif. and one more city that will be announced later. Traveling with Nelson and Band of Horses are Jamey Johnson and John Reilly & Friends.

The tour’s official website describes the tour like this:

Railroad Revival Tour is an experience that transcends typical music tours or festivals and glorifies the historical romance between music and trains under the setting of the great American landscape. This one-of-a-kind U.S. train tour travels from town to town aboard 16 vintage, 1940’s rail cars, setting up open air, pop-up concert venues in parks, fields and lots around the railroad tracks where they stop.

Last year’s inaugural Railroad Revival Tour event included music from Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show. As you might expect, that tour also featured impromptu jam sessions at train stations along the way, so there’s little reason to suspect the same wouldn’t happen this year.

A documentary about last year’s tour called “Big Easy Express” was made and is out today on DVD and Blu Ray; it was released on iTunes late last month. The film was inspired by the 2003 documentary the “Festival Express,” which documented a 1970 railroad tour of Canada by the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and the Band.

Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow Pay Tribute at Johnny Cash Concert

Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow Pay Tribute at Johnny Cash Concert

Some of the biggest names in the music world have signed on to pay tribute to the legendary Johnny Cash and celebrate what would have been his 80th birthday this year. Kenny Chesney, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson are among those that will appear at “We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash,” which will be broadcast on the legendary “Austin City Limits” television show.

The show will be held April 20, and will later be produced and distributed by Legacy Recordings. Other performers playing at the event include Lucinda Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson, Chris Cornell, Ronnie Dunn, Ray LaMontagne, John Hiatt, Rhett Miller, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Evanescence singer Amy Lee.

In addition to paying tribute to Johnny Cash, the event also will be benefit a charity. Money raised will go to Charley’s Fund, a group that fights Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a fatal childhood disease.

Cash’s son spoke of the great lineup in a press release.

“Our family is honored to know that this amazing lineup of artists will gather together on one stage to pay tribute to the music and history of my father,” said John Carter Cash. “There is no doubt in my mind that, although he is no longer with us in body, his spirit will shine true on this night thanks to these inspired artists.”

The artists will be backed by a band directed by acclaimed producer, Don Was, who also spoke of the event.

“Having had the privilege of working with Johnny Cash on a Highwaymen project in 1995, I was able to experience firsthand the incredible spirit and musical gift that lived within Johnny,” he said. “We have an all-star lineup of incredible talent performing the songs that made Johnny a legend including fellow Highwaymen Kris and Willie. It will be an incredible evening of music of special combinations, duets and jams”