Willie Nelson’s Tales From The Road

This is a rebroadcast which originally aired on November 19, 2012.

We sit down with the one and only Willie Nelson for some Willie Nelson tales and some Willie Nelson music.

Willie Nelson performs during the Farm Aid 2012 concert at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. (Jacqueline Larma/AP)

Willie Nelson performs during the Farm Aid 2012 concert at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. (Jacqueline Larma/AP)

Willie Nelson picked cotton as a boy and sold encyclopedias as a young man.  Wrote hits in Nashville before most Americans were born.  Hit the road as the pig-tailed, Red Headed Stranger in middle age, and just kept rolling.  With his own sound, his own way.

Now he’s thinking big.  The great beyond and what remains.  His latest is “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die.”

This hour, On Point: Willie Nelson.

– Tom Ashbrook


Willie Nelson, country music singer-songwriter. His new book is “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die: Musings From The Road.” His most recent album is “Heroes.”

Sample of Nelson’s Songs

Nelson covered Coldplay’s “The Scientist” for the short, animated film “Back To The Start,” which Chipotle commissioned to illustrate the importance of a sustainable food system. During our conversation with him, Nelson said he loved the song and the video and that it offered a great lesson to everyone:

Excerpt From Nelson’s Memoir

Excerpted from “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die: Musings From The Road” by Willie Nelson. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollins Publisher.

From Tom’s Reading List

American Songwriter: Book Review: Willie Nelson, ‘Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die: Musings From The Road’ — “With a twinkle in his eyes, a laugh in his belly, a sagacious nod, and a deep love for life, Nelson takes us for a rollicking ride along the highways and byways of his long life and career in this rambunctious, hilarious, reflective, and loving memoir. With his rapscallion smile, Nelson regales us with tales of life on the road, his life in Maui, his early years in Texas — he was smoking and drinking by the time he was six — his love of dominoes — he plays with Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson in Maui — and golf, his deep and abiding love for his family, and his deep respect and enduring admiration for the songwriters and musicians with whom he has performed and who have influenced him, from Ray Price and Leon Russell to Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.”

Boston Globe: Book Review: ‘Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die’ By Willie Nelson — “What rescues ‘Roll Me Up’ from being little more than a kind of curious, yet oddly captivating soup pot of autobiographical fragments is that the book brings in the voices of family and friends, which add texture and context. His wife, Annie, sister Bobbie, several of his children, and a few band characters supply first-person accounts of their experiences with Nelson in vignettes tucked amid the author’s own extemporaneous meanderings.”

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