Willie Nelson, country music’s royal crooner, returns to Puyallup Fair

admin —  September 12, 2012 — Leave a comment

“You won’t see no sad and teary eyes,” he sang, “when I get my wings and it’s my time to fly.”

Recorded with Kris Kristofferson, Snoop Dogg and Jamey Johnson for Nelson’s new album, “Heroes,” the unlikely collaboration has become another anthem for the man who put the “outlaw” in country music.

Fans got a scare last month when Nelson was briefly hospitalized near Denver for breathing problems. But he quickly resumed his summer tour and is planning another trek, the Railroad Revival Tour, this fall.

Nonetheless, the passage of time may be weighing on the country music veteran, who seemed unusually wistful. While singing “Funny How Time Slips Away,” he paused after such lines as, “How am I doin’?/ Oh, I guess that I’m doin’ fine … “

But Nelson also poked fun at the limitations of the human body with the humorous “I Ain’t Superman,” in which he sang, “Too many pain pills, too much pot/ Tryin’ to be something that I’m not.”

Without sounding rushed, Nelson and his Family Band performed more than 30 songs, among them such favorites as “Whiskey River,” “Crazy,” “Night Life,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and “Georgia on My Mind,” as well as “Good Hearted Woman” and “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” from his collaboration with fellow outlaw Waylon Jennings.

The crowd exploded when Nelson played “On the Road Again,” clapping and singing along to the famous song from the 1980 movie “Honeysuckle Rose.”

Playing a battered acoustic guitar, Nelson saluted Hank Williams with spirited versions of “Jambalaya,” “Hey Good Lookin’ ” and “Move It On Over.” Later, he performed another Williams classic, “I Saw the Light.”

Other highlights of the 90-minute set included “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” (from his duet with Julio Iglesias) and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

Gene Stout: gene@genestout.com

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