Preview: Willie Nelson at Red Butte

What can one say about Willie Nelson that has not already been said?

Rolling Stone calls him “One of America’s greatest songwriters, a hero from Texas to San Francisco, a hippie’s hippie and a redneck’s redneck,” and that’s not even the half of it. He’s an old school troubadour, who got his start writing songs for other people (including Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”) and now, in that full-circle way the universe seems to love, a fair amount of his most recent releases have included him covering other people’s songs.

It seems that same universe loves Willie Nelson. The 83-year-old seems to do best when he’s “On The Road Again” (see what I did there?) with his older sister Bobbie on the piano and his road-worn guitar, Trigger. There’s only a handful of people in the entire music industry as universally liked and respected as Nelson—at a Willie Nelson concert you will find grizzled old bikers in leather vests, hipster twenty-somethings and grandparents.

And he’s a Renaissance man. Not only is he a singing and songwriting tour de force, nelson is an accomplished actor, advocate for the environment and the face of the legalize weed movement.


Here’s what to expect at a Willie Nelson concert: He’ll open with “Whiskey River.” He’ll close with “I’ll Fly Away.” And he’ll play his ass off in between with little banter between songs, except for when he’s giving credit to his band. Some of us (ahem) will have a darn-near religious experience. And you’ll walk away believing in the youth preserving power of pot.

Willie Nelson & Family performs at Red Butte Garden on Thursday, July 28. The show is sold-out and it’s likely that even scalpers have a wait-list for this one, but if you’ve got the money, honey..

The doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:30.

Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy is a former managing editor at Salt Lake magazine. Though she writes about everything, she has a particular interest in arts and culture in Utah. In the summer months, you will find her at any given outdoor concert on any given night. In the winter, you will find her wishing for summer. Follow her on social media at @whynotboth.

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