Not only is Willie Nelson so badass that he celebrates his birthday over two days, April 29 and April 30 (he was born in the middle of the night), but it takes two SiriusXM channels to hold a proper celebration for this iconic American.
Besides toasting his 84th birthday, his brand new album, God’s Problem Child (being released 4/28 on Legacy Recordings) will be feted over Willie Nelson’s Birthday Weekend, on both his own SiriusXM channel Willie’s Roadhouse (Ch. 59) and the Outlaw Country (Ch. 60) outpost right next door.
The party will kick off at Willie’s Roadhouse on Friday at 6 pm ET, with a special Album Premiere Event featuring conversation with Willie and his longtime producer (and co-writer of seven songs on the new album) Buddy Cannon at the SiriusXM Music City Theatre in Nashville.
An exclusive audience of SiriusXM subscribers was also treated to a listening session of tracks from God’s Problem Child, including the cheeky Still Not Dead (in which he responds to internet rumors of his premature demise with the chorus “I woke up still not dead again today”), his tribute to the late Merle Haggard, He Won’t Ever Be Gone, and the title track written by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, who both contributed vocals along with Willie’s longtime friend Leon Russell, on what turned out to be Russell’s final recording session.
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Sitting in the intimate 55-seat theater overlooking the Ryman Auditorium and Music City’s famed Lower Broadway, Willie reflected on the role Nashville and the legendary honky-tonk Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge played in his career, specifically the night his song Crazy was pitched to Patsy Cline.
“I had just come up from Texas, and I was in Tootsie’s listening to the jukebox, and I had brought a record that I had cut down in Texas, Crazy, and put it on the jukebox. Tootsie let me put it on the jukebox and play it. And Charlie Dick, Patsy Cline’s husband, heard the song. And it was around almost midnight, and he said, ‘Let’s go to the house. I want Patsy to hear this song.’ And I said, ‘You don’t want to go over there at midnight. I’m about half drunk and you are, too.’ So he said, ‘Come on, she won’t care.’ So we drove over to Patsy’s. I stayed in the car. I wouldn’t get out. So Charlie went in, and Patsy came out, and made me get out [of the car] and go in. [She] heard the song, loved it, and cut it the next week.”
Speaking with Cannon and SiriusXM’s Jeremy Tepper, program director for Willie’s Roadhouse and Outlaw Country, Willie complemented his daughter Paula Nelson, a host on both channels, and reminisced about his own experiences as a radio personality before he made a name for himself as a songwriter and performer.
“Oh, I loved being a disc jockey, and going in there and getting to play the songs that I wanted to play and hear. It was really a treat. I started out down in Texas in Hillsboro down there I think. KCNC in Fort Worth, I started opening the show with: “This is your old cotton pickin’, snuff dippin’, tobacco chewin’, stump jumpin’, coffee pot dodgin’, hillbilly from Hill County.”
Following the God’s Problem Child premiere at Willie’s Roadhouse, the one-hour special will air in Outlaw Country on Friday, April 28 at 8 pm ET, with rebroadcasts scheduled throughout the weekend on both channels (full broadcast schedule below).
Willie’s Roadhouse (Ch. 59)
FRI 4/28 at 6 pm ET
SAT 4/29 at 10 am & 7 pm ET
SUN 4/30 at 8 am & 3 pm ET
MON 5/1 at 12 am & 12 pm ET
Outlaw Country (Ch. 60)
FRI 4/28 at 8 pm ET
SAT 4/29 at 9 am & 5 pm ET
SUN 4/30 at 12 pm & 9 pm ET
MON 5/1 at 1 pm ET
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