Nelson brings decades of music to performance in Macon

Telegraph correspondentJanuary 31, 2014 

Willie Nelson continues to tour at the young age of 80, and brings his massive collection of music to the City Auditorium in Macon on Tuesday.


Willie Nelson, who turned 80 in April, proves that living legends are a force to be reckoned with in modern music. In the last decade, Nelson has done more than most people manage to do in a lifetime.

According to his website, Nelson, whose career has spanned six decades, boasts more than 200 albums, many of them award-winning. He also has amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor and activist.

In 2010, he released “Willie Nelson’s Country Music” and received a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album. In 2011, Nelson released “Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles,” a 12-song collection with Wynton Marsalis and Norah Jones, and “Remember Me Vol. 1,” his hand-picked selections of country music’s most definitive songs.

In 2012, Nelson released “Heroes.” The album spent five weeks at No. 1 on the Americana Radio Chart.

In November 2012, he released his top selling memoir, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” Last year, Nelson released “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” an album “performed with transformative patented ease by Nelson and Family, his long-time touring and recording ensemble.”

For the second time in the last few years, Nelson’s tour is making a stop in Macon. He performs Tuesday night at the City Auditorium.

According to harmonica player Mickey Raphael, this tour “is to pay the bills and make the house payment.” Then he laughed. “We always tour. It’s what we do. We play music and we like to bring it to the fans.”

Unable to site his favorite Nelson song, because “there are too many good ones,” Raphael compares music to time travel.

“A good song is like a time machine. It has a way of taking you back to the moment when you first heard it and you get to relive all the same sensations and emotions that you did back then. It hits you hard, in the gut, and the rest of you just goes with it,” he said.

“I can’t pick my favorite song to play. Each of them has a different meaning and all of them are good. If you want my favorites to hear that aren’t ours, I lean toward ‘Everybody’s Talking’ by Fred Neil from (the movie) ‘Midnight Cowboy.’ ”

Raphael couldn’t hide his enthusiasm for a trip to Macon.

“We love it there. It’s just such a great place for musicians. I grew up listening to the Allman Brothers and I’m looking forward to going to the museum. After that, I’m going to find a good place to have some Southern food,” he said.

As for the concert, Raphael “expects to have a real good time. Our favorite thing to do is to play for an audience and see everyone react. The energy is great and everybody has a real good time. Being on the road is sort of a necessary evil to give a concert, but we’re fortunate to be in a band and travel all over the world. We’ve been doing it since 1973 and we’ll keep doing it as long as we can.”

Willie Nelson

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4

Where: City Auditorium, 415 First St.

Cost: $38, $53 and $88

Information: 478-751-9232.

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