The man. The myth. The legend. The birthday boy...that would be the one and only Willie Nelson. Today marks his 81st birthday. What a living legacy he has led in his musical journey, both on and off the stage.
A few years ago, I had the honor of photographing Willie Nelson at the Country Throwdown Tour. I had photographed the tour series before, but this go around in Knoxville was somewhat magical in a sense. You see, all of those that were on the "up and coming stage" and on the big stage and Bluebird Cafe stage back in 2011 are now household names among fans. Brantley Gilbert, Craig Campbell, Lee Brice, Jamey Johnson, Drake White, Austin Lucas, Erin Enderlin, and many more took part in the festivities. What was even cooler was that Willie's son, Lukas Nelson, played guest guitar with each and every act. He was very much involved and you could tell he loved every minute of it.
Willie Nelson would close the night and I was in awe. It was amazing to be able to stand within a few feet in the photo pit snapping away. I came home, wrote up my article for Examiner.com and was literally amazed to see it posted on Willie's website. The journalist in me was giddy as a kid seeing that.
I've always been supportive of Farm Aid and it has always been on my bucket list to go and cover the event. I've been invited several times, but logistics, a full time job, travel costs, and other commitments kept me away. One day I will attend Farm Aid...one day.
Happy birthday Willie Nelson!