Willie Nelson Talks Playing Poker With Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson
Willie Nelson, the 88-year-old country rock legend, was interviewed by Marren Morris for Jimmy Kimmel Live– the pair discussed his involvement with the cannabis industry, advice for raising kids on the road, and of course his famous weekly poker nights.
The “On The Road Again” singer was on the show to promote his new book- Letters To America. Speaking to the host over a video call from down in Texas, she asks how many years he and his close friend Woody Harrelson have been playing together.
“Oh god, I don’t know… 20-30 years probably”
It is clear the pair have a close relationship. So close in fact that the American singer has an entire section of his house that has now been dubbed “Woody’s Wing”– something that is touched upon in his recent book.
“Well you know, we play poker until late… if he’s $100 down, he wants to spend the night so he can start over the next day”
The host cites a different reason for the naming of this wing- saying she read it was because Harrelson and Owen Wilson had lost so much money to him over the years he named it after them because they helped pay for it.
“Well… that’s a good story. Let’s say it’s true.”
Nelson and the host then took some time to discuss some non-poker topics- all of which reveal some greatly interesting aspects of the prolific activist’s life.
One such factoid, explained by the host, was one that she learned whilst opening for Nelson at the Santa Barbara Bowl a couple of years back.
She discovered that, surprisingly, Nelson and his band do not have any kind of setlist on stage with them. Instead, they opt simply to have a clock telling them how much time is left in the set. Nelson will just play whatever song he feels is right in a particular moment, and his well-rehearsed band will follow.
“Well it’s easy to do because I know all the songs, the band knows em’ forward and backward. It would be almost impossible to throw them a curve, cos we play together so much they know what I’m gonna do. It’s just pretty easy to do it without a real setlist.”
The conversation then turned to a slightly more personal topic. Morris mentions that she recently had a baby, and asks Nelson if he has any advice for having to bring a baby on tour- as this is a situation the country songwriter has had to navigate himself.
He explained that he has had kids on the bus his whole career. Most of them ended up picking up the music bug themselves and eventually went on to perform on stage with their star father.
Finally, the pair discussed his cannabis business Willie’s Reserve which he started in 2015 after the plant became legal in a number of the states. The host thanked the company for supplying her with many “goodies” over the years– which was probably music to the ears of such a well know cannabis advocate.
If you are a fan of Nelson’s music career, poker-playing, or wacky backy smoking then you are sure to enjoy his new book. For those itching to see the legend- he says he will be back with a brand new tour as soon as possible after finishing up his last couple of shows in Minnesota.
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