Willie Nelson on Staying Positive and Living His Best Life
About Biscuits & Jam: In the South, talking about food is personal. It’s a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, Editor in Chief of Southern Living, will sit down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they’ve been shaped by Southern culture. Sid will take us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.
Episode 6: July 7, 2020
Willie Nelson is about to release his 70th album, a beautifully spare collection of originals, covers, and classics called First Rose of Spring, which is even more remarkable because it’s so good. Like the best of Willie’s albums, it’s full of heartbreak, humor, gorgeous melodies, and of course that unmistakable voice.
Willie is 87 now, but that hasn’t slowed him down much. Just before COVID-19 shut down his most recent tour, he was performing to crowds as big as 80,000 people (at the Houston Livestock Show), and he had plans to release a new gospel album. When we caught up with him for a new episode of our Biscuits & Jam podcast, he was sitting in his pickup truck at his ranch in Luck, Texas, looking at his horses (he has over 70 of them). There are worse places to be quarantined, but Willie was ready to get back on the road again. When asked if he missed being on his bus, the Honeysuckle Rose, he laughed. “Well, I miss it a lot,” he said. “It’s parked right down at the bottom of the hill, and I go down there and sit on it a while and pretend I'm going somewhere.”
Until that happens, tune in to our podcast to hear him talk about growing up in Abbott, Texas, meeting Patsy Cline for the first time, performing with his kids, and staying positive through tough times. Here are a few highlights:
On Gospel Music
“The first music I learned to play was gospel music and Amazing Grace. It was one of the first songs I learned to sing, and this kind of music has kind of carried me through the years.”
On His Military Service
“I was at Keesler Air Force Base for a while, and…the top Sergeant in there…liked music, so we would play little concerts for him, and he loved it.”
On Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville
“Tootsie was a great friend of mine, and she had a hatpin, and if you gave her any trouble she'd run you out of there with that hatpin. So you had to stay halfway straight.”
On Performing with His Kids
“There's nothing like having your kids on stage with you, especially when they're good.”
On Staying Positive
“[There’s] nothing I can do about yesterday, there ain't nothing I can do about tomorrow. But right now I'm pretty much in control. So this is the day that I'm living. And it's the only one that really matters right now.”
On Healthcare Workers
“These folks are heroes. These are the ones that…are on the front lines battling one of the biggest wars, I guess, that this country has ever had to face because there is no visible enemy.”
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