A Quick Trip With Willie

Last week, my parents came to Austin to visit for the weekend. They were extremely excited to leave the bitter cold in Chicago and come down to one of their favorite cities (even though it would only be just a bit warmer than back home). They have been coming to visit once a semester for the past three years and each time they come and spend some time in Austin, they love it more and more. We have done all kinds of tourist-y things in Austin, but one thing we had not done was educate ourselves on some good ‘ole country music.

My mom and I visiting the Willie Nelson statue

My mom and I visiting the Willie Nelson statue

And so, this time when they visited I made sure to tell them, as well as show them, all about Willie Nelson. We all agreed that Willie Nelson had to have been a big deal in the music industry to deserve a statue in the middle of the downtown area of the state capital and the live music city of world.  We paid the statue a visit, and then became more curious about him as an artist as well as a person.

And so, we gave ourselves a little bit of a history lesson. My parents had no idea that Willie Nelson had moved from Nashville to Austin where he became a key figure in the “Outlaw Country” scene (I had already learned this fun fact, so hah!). He made his transition from the clean-shaven songwriter in Nashville, to the long-hair-don’t-care outlaw that started here in Austin, and is how he remains today.  The city of Austin played a huge role in his transformation, and in turn he had a large impact on the city of Austin.  Another interesting fact we learned was that Willie Nelson was raised by his grandparents, who had studied at a music school in Chicago. It gave us a little more of a connection to Willie, and that was exciting.

After our history lesson was over, we proceeded to listen to some of Willie’s songs. One song that we happened to like was “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”  It was a song I had never heard before but quickly took a liking to for it’s mellow tone and somber message of love and sadness.

My mother and father always knew that Austin had a huge live music scene, but I do not think they realized just how large of a scene it is and how far back that went. Thanks to our quick trip with Willie, my parents and I got to see a whole new side of Austin and the variety of things it has to offer.

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One Response to A Quick Trip With Willie

  1. Reid Thompson

    I enjoyed reading about your Willie adventures with your parents. I have not yet made it to see his statue, but I definitely plan to soon. I think it is interesting how people forget where Willie got his start. I think people associate him with Texas and Austin just because he has been here for so long and restarted his life in a way. I watched Jimmy Kimmel this past week because he had temporarily moved his show to Austin for SXSW. On the final night of filming, he interviewed Willie and showed what a true character he is.

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