Outlaws And Hipsters Unite: Willie Nelson To Join Dave Matthews At The Ballpark

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Preview By Kevin Wilson Reading The Tao of Willie, one quickly senses that Willie Nelson is a man full of unconventional wisdom — a redheaded Buddha (or Lao Tzu as the case may be) of sorts. And, amazingly, Nelson has probably recorded more albums than any other living human and is indeed a living legend. A journalist once made the observation that, over the years, Willie Nelson has had four wives but only one drummer. Truly, it is to Nelson’s credit as a bandleader that the core of his performing “family” has changed little over the last several decades. And accordingly, there is a certain consistency to Nelson’s artistic output. The Red-headed Stranger seldom strays from his primary palette of country, blues, jazz, and western swing. So, the difference between a good Nelson record and a bad one often has more to do with production and song selection (and maybe level of marijuana intake) than with actual musicianship. While his current collection may not be as gut-wrenching as Spirit (1996), or as inspired as Songbird (2006), Moment of Forever definitely has its moments of greatness. Throughout, Nelson tastefully interprets the likes of Kristofferson, Dylan, and Dave (Matthews) and even throws in a few quirky tunes of his own for good measure. Much like Nelson himself, his latest is, overall, a warm and enjoyable disc. But importantly, Nelson and the rest of his musical “family” still flat-out rock as a live ensemble and will be offering a career-spanning set as they open for the Dave Matthews Band this summer in support of Moment of Forever. This delightful double bill of Farm Aid friends will be showcased at Slugger Field (401 East Main Street) Friday, August 1st at 7 p.m. For the full scoop, visit www.ticketmaster.com.