May 28, 2015

Willie Nelson: On The Road Again With New Album And Memoir


There’s a lot going in the camp of American country veteran Willie Nelson, who at 82 shows no sign of slowing up or stepping off the tour bus. 
Next week sees the release of his new album, Django & Jimmie, his sixth in collaboration with fellow country great Merle Haggard. The title track is a tribute to music legends Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers. Also next week comes the publication of Nelson’s autobiography My Life: It’s a Long Story, which is a suitably lengthy tome that goes behind the scenes of his illustrious music career, not to mention his pursuits as an actor, activist, poet, golfer and judo black belt. Finally, if one thought Nelson was past retirement age, spare a thought for his roadie Ben Dorcy, known affectionately in the music business as Lovey.

Dorcy celebrated his 90th birthday this week and has been working with the who’s who of show business for 64 years, among them Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. He was also John Wayne’s chauffeur and gardener for a few years. To celebrate Lovey’s 10th decade two of the Nelson clan — Willie’s daughter Amy and grand-nephew Trevor Doyle Nelson — are working on a documentary titled King of the Roadies. The film is to be funded through a Kickstarter campaign and the makers are hopeful for a release next year, possibly on the subject’s 91st birthday.

One can’t help but mention the word Eurovision today. Thousands of Aussies will rise at a ridiculous hour tomorrow to follow the fortunes of our first entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest. Good luck to Guy Sebastian. No matter the result, we can be sure he will do Australia proud — and with a song, Tonight Again, that deserves accolades in Europe and beyond.

Although not bidding for Eurovision glory Melbourne band Husky is doing its bit to take Australian music to Europe. The group, which last year released its second album, Ruckers Hill, is relocating to Berlin to further its career. “With our album coming out in Europe and America now we’ve got a lot happening on the other side of the pond,” says singer Husky Gawenda. “So we thought we’d set up shop for the European summer in Berlin. We’ll use it as a base to tour from and write our new record.” The band will be based in Berlin until the end of the year, but Gawenda will be back in Australia before then. 

He’s part of the ensemble that includes Marlon Williams, Jordie Lane and Fergus Linacre that is performing the Beatles’ Revolver and Rubber Soul around the country in August.

While we’re in a congratulatory mood, well done also to Brisbane’s pop darlings Sheppard, which this week went platinum in the US with its song Geronimo. That represents more than a million streams or digital downloads of the song, a great achievement. Sheppard starts a tour of the US next week followed by dates in Europe. It will be home in August to headline the Gympie Muster.

Birthday greetings this weekend to Radiohead drummer Phil Selway, who is 48 today, and to US singer songwriter Jewel, who turns 41. Bob Dylan is 74 tomorrow.(May 24)

By Iain Shedden

Above: The late, great Patsy Cline singing one of Willie's compositions and a favourite of mine.

With many thanks to The Australian

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