Willie. He only needs one name and you know exactly who I’m talking about. The Red Headed Stranger is going to be in town tonight, performing with his powerhouse Family Band on Louisville's Waterfront.
Nelson, who is now 81 years old, has been writing songs, singing, and performing live almost non-stop since the mid-1950’s. He has one of the most respected songbooks in all of American songwriting including timeless classics such as: “On the Road Again”, “Crazy”, “Hello Walls”, “Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away”, “You Were Always On My Mind”, “Pancho and Lefty”, “Lukenbach Texas”, “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”, I could literally go on like this for hours. It is mind boggling to think of how many truly classic recordings are attributed to a legend such as Nelson.
Obviously, he being an unapologetic marijuana user, and (somewhat) apologetic tax avoider – Nelson has had his share of run-ins with the law over the years. But he never lost the twinkle in his eye, the sparkle in his smile, or the red in braids. And he will have it all when he takes the stage tonight down on the banks of the ol’ Ohio.
Also, on the show with him is a modern bluegrass legend in the making, the immutable Alison Krauss, along with wonderfully understated back-up band, Union Station. Krauss’ voice is soft, like choir of whispering angels – but her fiddle playing can be as fierce as anyone you’ve ever heard. I’d sooner imagine soft fairylike enchantment falling from her plaster finger tips, than some of the hottest bluegrass licks this side of Appalachia. It’s an intensity one rarely expects from someone so small and pixie-esque.
Krauss’ career has cut through the music industry like shattered glass through silence, leaving nothing in its wake but Grammy’s, raving critics, and countless platinum albums. Her stark rendition of “When You Say Nothing At All” is still a high water mark for what a modern love ballad can aspire toward. Her work on the soundtrack to “O’ Brother Where Art Thou?” is still spoken of in the hushed whispers of legend. And the duet album, “Raising Sand” that she did with Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant has left people still in eager anticipation for more. She is truly a goddess among mortals.
The show is at Waterfront Park tonight, at 7 PM. Tickets are $60, and Nashville southern rockers Wild Feathers will open the show.