Music Pick: Willie Nelson & Family
Willie Nelson & Family with
Robert Earl Keen
April 20 & 21
by Neal Baker
Photograph by David McClister
Austinites seem to universally adore our country music legend-in-residence, the great Willie Nelson. The feeling is mutual; the city has him to thank for his cultural impact, including kicking of “Austin City Limits,” while he has the city to thank for the hippie vibes that fueled some of his most loved albums.
His latest release, “Last Man Standing,” gives a taste of his upcoming album by the same name, due April 27. On this track Nelson plays to us as he always has — with heart, cleverness, and an unmistakable crackle in his voice. Entertaining a dark sense of humor, the 84-year-old Nelson melodizes about the life and loss of some of his fellow country greats — the likes of Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. “It’s gettin’ hard to watch my pals check out,” he sings, but when his guitar talks, it clearly has nothing to lament.
Fortunately for us all, Nelson has some new friends. On April 20 & 21, he and his band will share the Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels with Robert Earl Keen. A veritable Austin icon himself, Keen has remained loyal to the city since he started playing the Cactus Cafe in the ’80s. Now decades later, it’s hard to imagine a pairing more representative of the music of Austin. Get your tickets on Whitewater’s website, and in the words of Nelson himself, “Stay all night, stay a little longer.