Willie Nelson and Friends Plan Backyard Summer Picnic
Willie Nelson has announced the lineup for his all-star July 4 picnic. Among this year's performers are Asleep at the Wheel, Billy Joe Shaver, David Allan Coe, Jack Ingram, Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson, Leon Russell, Paula Nelson, Randy Rogers Band, Ray Price and Ray Wylie Hubbard.
The day-long event -- at the Backyard at Bee Cave in Austin, Texas -- will likely follow the tradition of past shows and turn into a major party and jam session. Don't be surprised, though, if Willie spends time talking about the plight of the unemployed and impoverished and calling the audience to action. He's had a similar effect on fellow artists lately.
At a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band concert on March 28 just outside of Washington, D.C., founder Jeff Hanna became impassioned when telling the audience how touring with Willie had inspired Dirt Band member Jimmie Fadden to write the song 'Workin' Man.'
"I was just trying to say that, to me, Willie did more to inspire others [to help the downtrodden] than all those politicians out there," Jeff tells The Boot. "The song means more to me now than it ever did."
The concept for Willie's July 4 picnic actually took root in March 1972 when more than 50,000 fans arrived at the site near Dripping Springs, Texas to attend what was planned as a one-time concert by Willie, Kris, Rita Coolidge, Charlie Rich, Waylon Jennings and Tom T. Hall.
From there, the annual event was born with Willie at the helm. He soon expanded it to include performances by Jimmy Buffett, Pointer Sisters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Fabulous Thunderbirds and other acts outside the country genre.
For concert details and ticket information, visit the Backyard's website.