Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Willie Nelson: Musician to the Masses and Guardian Angel to Many

Press PLAY to listen to Willie while you read this post.

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.
--Willie Nelson

The show must go on. Willie Nelson should know: he's 77 and still touring. Recently, Willie visited Red Butte Gardens and played his favorites to a Salt Lake City audience. I didn't go … I was at the Street Opera downtown.

A friend of mine who went commented that it was hard to hear in the “very cheap” seat he hiked to with a local meetup group. From the review on Willie's website, it appears that the sound system and the band had their share of challenges, but Willie and his band sang all the crowd favorites, “Whiskey River,” “Beer For My Horses,” and “Crazy.” He's been singing since the 1960s and has many great hits. I'm sure it's like choosing amongst one's children to plan the set list.

My friend Connie and her family have a connection with Willie that no concert review can adequately capture. I'll never forget the day Connie called … she was so excited Willie Nelson came to see Robin while he was at a medical facility in Texas recovering from multiple surgeries and burns sustained in the Iraq war four years ago.

“Tom and I went to see Willie Nelson on our first date,” she squealed into the phone. “We love Willie Nelson,” she added. So did I, especially on that day, and it didn't have anything to do with his music. This family needed to be lifted and a reason to have hope when their son was so severely injured.
While media has spotlighted Willie Nelson's personal and financial problems, not nearly so much emphasis has been placed on the fact that he is an ardent giver. Willie Nelson's gesture to my friend's family in their hour of crisis was such a bright moment amidst dark and tenuous hours of waiting and hoping for better news. He has made hundreds of similarly quiet and unsensational visits to other injured troops and their families. Not to mention Farm Aid benefits and relief concerts to help victims of natural disasters. Giving back, paying it forward, and just plain giving. {It's all good.}

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