Marshall Chapman is a great singer, a great song writer, a great writer, and a all-around good person. Her latest book, They Came to Nashville, is a series of interviews that Marshall conducted with a number of country stars and future stars. Feb 6, 2011, I posted a blog entry about Marshall's show in Birmingham. At that show, she told about her interview with Willie Nelson, a longtime friend, and she told about the four days she spent with Willie, his sister Bobbie, and The Family.
Before I tell the story here’s a bit of background that will make it understandable. Willie Nelson stays on the road more than he's off - check his schedule and you’ll see what I mean. He and “the family” are resting today, at the ranch. On March 3, it’s “on the road again,” time. Willie and The Family have 12 dates in March, 11 in April, and on and on.
While you are on his site, look at the pictures - there are 61 pages of them. You'll see Willie with a lot of different people, from the President of the United States to a fan with Willie's photo tattooed on his back, and, you'll see a lot of photos of Willie with his sister, Bobbie. The two have played together for more than seventy years, which includes the thirty years that Bonnie has played the piano with the Family. Willie will turn 79 April the 30th; January 1, 2012 Bonnie celebrated her 81st birthday.
Curious about what keeps them going? The answer is LOVE! They love each other, they love The Family, they love music, and they love what they are doing.
Now, here's Marshall's story. Willie and the Family tour in four custom buses. Willie and Bonnie share one of them. Two years ago Marshall Chapman joined Willie and Bobbie in Memphis to interview Willie for her book. She said that after every concert, Willie signs autographs, talks with the fans, and once she saw him take a fan's cell phone and talk to the young man's girlfriend on the boy's behalf. Finally, back on the bus, Willie showered, changed into an extra-large, black, Snoop Dogg t-shirt and a pair of black socks and joined Bobbie back at the front of the bus where, with Bonnie playing a lap-size keyboard, they sang until almost sunup. Willie and Bonnie Nelson and The Family is the real deal - that's why they pack the seats everywhere they go - there aren't a whole lot of examples of that kind of love on the planet today.
If you don’t sing and play but you write or read books and would like to join a family – I’d love to have you join the Writers and Readers Tribe, on Triberr. In the six weeks we’ve been together we have become a family – every member supports every other member and we’d love to have you.
If you’d like to be part of our family, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite (when you email let me know if you’re already in Triberr, because the invitation process is a bit different for members and non-members) – my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org