Like many musicians, Willie Nelson would love to be on the road again.
But at 87, the tireless country legend isn’t letting the coronavirus pandemic keep him down.
In fact, he’ll be having a busy 4th of July weekend: First he releases his 70th solo studio album, “First Rose of Spring,” on Friday. Then on Saturday, Nelson’s annual “4th of July Picnic” will carry on as a hybrid live-stream/concert-film event in the virtual countryside.
Now how’s that for being a nimble octogenarian?
And, as if anyone could say no to Willie, he’s drawn a strong lineup: Among those scheduled to show full Nelson love are Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley, Margo Price, Steve Earle, Kurt Vile and, of course, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, which is fronted by Wille’s 31-year-old son.
Tickets for the digital event — which range from $35 before Saturday to $45 the day of the event — can be purchased at WilliePicnic.com
The picnic was originally scheduled to bring fans to Nelson’s Luck, Texas, ranch on the outskirts of Austin. But now Texas has become a hot spot for COVID-19.
Still, some live-stream performances will take place from stages at the ranch, while Nelson himself will be playing from his nearby Pedernales Studios. Meanwhile, other artists are taping their performances from remote locations for the concert-film portion.
The film will also feature interviews sharing memories from past picnics. And there are a lot of them: Nelson has been doing this every year since 1972.
The combined festivities will all make for a great way to celebrate Nelson’s new LP, which was postponed from April. The album features the single “We Are the Cowboys,” a song originally recorded by Billy Joe Shaver. And the “Cowboys” video was shot by Micah Nelson, Willie’s 30-year-old son.
Nelson will keep the collaboration all in the family when he and his 89-year-old sister Bobbie Nelson — a member of his Family band — release the memoir “Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band” on Sept. 15.
Clearly, nothing — not even a pandemic — can stop Willie.