Monday, September 11, 2006

Light Saber Guitar

“Who is Willie Nelson?”

I had just invited a British friend of mine to join me for last night’s Hollywood Bowl concert and was taken off guard by her response.

I mean, how do you answer that? He’s a living legend. A piece of Americana. He’s a former dandy, a country star, a rocker, an author (“ The Tao of Willie Nelson”(!) for example), a father, a Texan, a one-time tax evader…he’s put out something like four hundred albums, six this year alone. His songs are part of every American’s subconscious.

Who is Willie Nelson?

“Um, he’s the guy with the bandana and the braids,” I faltered.

Great answer.

“Er, remember that song with Julio Iglesias: To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before?”

“Oh. Yeah,” she said.

I found myself at a total loss to remember any other specific, more representative song. American brain fart. I told her to just come anyway. That she’d recognize tons of his stuff when we got there. As would I, I hoped. I mean, it’s Willie. Just going to hear him play would be the best way to answer the question: who is Willie Nelson.

So the legend himself took the stage and smiled his way through a tight set chock full of classics and new tunes.

“Oh yeah, this song! I love this song!” My friend squealed while I silently said the same in my head.

At a certain point, the giant screens showed those of us in the nosebleeds the rocking face of Willie’s young guitarist. He was a fresh-faced cutie with a flowing white shirt and a distinctly 70s Mark Hamill flop of dark blond hair. Naturally, we started referring to him as Luke.

“Check out young Skywalker tearing that solo up! He rocks!”

And he did. His fingers flew over the neck of his guitar with a speed I was amazed by. And I see a lot of the rock and roll.

Willie watched proudly and followed with a serious, solid solo of his own. As the song ended he introduced this six string Jedi: “This is my son, Lucas.”

We gasped. It’s true then. He is young Skywalker.

Come to think of it, with his cropped white beard and serene eyes, Willie does bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain Jedi master. He’s our centered, Zen legend who is rocking through the decades and influencing young musicians everywhere.

And I can finally answer my friend’s question: Willie Nelson is the American Obi Wan Kenobi. It all makes sense now.

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Blogger Kid Sis said...

Ah, man...

9:27 AM  
Blogger Brett said...

Who is Willie?

He wrote "Crazy," one of the greatest ever songs.

Do you have a copy of "The Red Headed Stranger" CD?

My god. Genius.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Hands down, he's one of the coolest humans currently on the planet.

4:01 PM  

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