Country music legend Willie Nelson still making music, touring at 85

Singer optimistic about younger generation’s involvement in current issues

SAN ANTONIO – As his 85th birthday approached, Willie Nelson was asked whether he had big plans for the day.

“I’d just like to be there when it gets here,” he laughed.

The consummate entertainer, Nelson scoffed at the idea of slowing down.

In addition to doing over 150 shows annually, he’s still recording albums at an ambitious pace.

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His latest, titled “Last Man Standing”, is an indirect reference to his age, and it acknowledges the passing of his friends, music legends Merle Haggard and Ray Price.

He also is working on a Frank Sinatra tribute album. Nelson says Sinatra is his favorite male singer.

“We played some shows together,” he recalled. “Sometimes I’d open for him, and sometimes he would open for me. I felt like it was a little crazy because he is – was – such a great talent."

When he is not in the studio or on the road, Nelson spends time at his home in Maui.

Those visits often include getting on stage and getting involved.

Nelson explained, “We just played a benefit out there for the young people who were out protesting about the big guns and everything.”

He said he applauds the younger generation for getting involved in the social issues of the day.

“They’re pretty much at the age that, if they’re not old enough to vote, at least they talk about it in the house with mom and dad,” Nelson said. “They want them to vote, and so they do have an influence.”

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.