For a man known for hugging and kissing fans in the crowd at his shows and riding cross-country in “Honeysuckle Rose,” a bus he calls home, the pandemic has truly changed Willie Nelson‘s daily life. We caught up with him at his Texas ranch to see what he’s been up to and what keeps him going during his Keynote session at SXSW Online 2021.
“The closest thing to being free is moving and I guess the next best thing is to be on a bus.”
As an award-winning musician, bestselling author, actor, entrepreneur, activist, and 5th degree black belt, there are most likely conspiracy theories on when the last time Willie Nelson sat still. Thankfully he did for a Keynote conversation with Texas Monthly writer-at-large Andy Langer to give us a peek into his new at-home life.
From starting his own cannabis companies to touring at 87 years old and writing music in between, the man doesn’t quit. When asked how staying home has been, he tells us about his new book Willie Nelson’s Letters to America; new album That’s Life, an additional collection of songs popularized by Frank Sinatra; and a gospel turned family album. So he really hasn’t sat still.
The two talk about Nelson’s childhood growing up as a progressive in Abbott, Texas, his relationship with his sister Bobbie, and how his family inspires his music. His grandparents were gospel singers, likely sparking his most recent piece of work.
“Me and all the kids got together, and it started out being a gospel album, but when we added this song, that’s when we decided to call it a family album… We got sister Bobby in there to play piano, and it really was a lot of fun to do.”
Although he has been making music, smoking weed, and jogging, he regrets to inform us that he still hasn’t won “All-Around cowboy” yet. There’s always next year, Willie!
Stay tuned for 2022 PanelPicker®, Film Festival submissions, Music Festival applications, and other participation opportunities opening this summer.
2021 SXSW Keynote Willie Nelson – Photo by Pamela Springsteen)