Willie Week in NYC

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May began with a torrent activity known as a promo visit to New York for Willie Nelson. Being in especially high demand due to his great new album “Country Music,” Willie appeared on Howard Stern, Charlie Rose, David Letterman, The View and did numerous print interviews. He even did a little bit of old fashioned FM radio, appearing on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate show. The story can now be told…

Leonard Lopate Greets Willie Nelson:

At the end of the week, he and the musicians from the album (joining Willie mainstay Mickey Raphael were Jim Lauderdale; Riley Baugus, Russ Pahl, Stuart Duncan and Chris Thiele subbing for Ronnie McCoury) blazed through an amazing set that was broadcast on his Sirius XM channel, Willie’s Place. Having seen many of these promo visits, this seemed like a particularly exhausting one – time zones but also a few long days with early morning and late afternoon activities for the man.

Judging the quality/impact of the appearances, David Letterman gave him a big intro and seems to enjoy having him on even though he doesn’t interview Willie ever, and The View must have hit some new fans with a great version of “Pistol Packin’ Mama.” (After the jump)

Charlie Rose served softballs (he is much tougher on Ahmedinijad) mostly, but Willie happened to mention to him that he was suffering from a torn rotater cuff from playing golf, something that would probably be debilitating for any mere mortal. On the topic of longevity, Willie told him “I think the music has saved my life many times.”

Nevertheless, Willie and that band did one of the best shows I’ve ever seen him do, and I’ve seen dozens. I predict/request that it will be an album someday, and hold its own alongside other major Willie live albums. He got totally charged up being on the radio, goading the crowd to cheer for the folks in Carl’s Corner Texas, introducing the songs and pulling out a few unexpected ones like “I Gotta Get Drunk” at the end.

After lingering a (very atypical) few minutes backstage to say goodbye to the band, Willie quietly left the building and New York, having left it all out on the field. We are really lucky Sirius XM recorded that show.

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