from Rolling Stone.com
Before Willie Nelson hits the stage every night, there’s a commotion in the audience when his longtime guitar tech, Tunin’ Tom Hawkins, brings out the country legend’s famous guitar, Trigger, placing it at the center of the stage. “The whole front row will come up photographing for several minutes before the show starts,” says Hawkins. That’s the power of Trigger.
Trigger, a beat-up, autograph-covered Martin N-20 acoustic, is just as recognizable as Nelson himself. And in the debut documentary in our “Mastering the Craft” series by Rolling Stone Films presented by Patrón, MaggieVision Productions and director David Chamberlin interview Nelson, his band and crew — plus friends including Jerry Jeff Walker and biographer Joe Nick Patoski, and fans like Woody Harrelson, who provides the documentary’s voiceover — to tell the story of how this instrument helped change music history.
Nelson discovered Trigger at a crossroads in his career. By 1969, he had spent nearly a decade trying to become a clean-cut solo success in Nashville. After a drunk destroyed his Guild acoustic, he decided to look for a new guitar with a sound similar to his gypsy-jazz hero Django Reinhardt (“I think he was the best guitar player ever,” Nelson says). His buddy Shot Jackson suggested the Martin classical “gut-string” guitar; Nelson bought it sight-unseen and gave it a name. “I named my guitar Trigger because it’s kind of my horse,” he explains. “Roy Rogers had a horse called Trigger.”
Later that year, Nelson’s house caught fire, and he raced inside to rescue Trigger and a pound of weed. He took the blaze as a sign it was time to relocate, returning to Texas to play the honky-tonk clubs he grew up around. The scene in Texas was more eclectic and wild, and Nelson began to thrive, pushing the boundaries of what everyone expected from an acoustic player. “No acoustic guitar at that time had been successfully amplified with a pickup,” Patoski says. Willie had a sound literally nobody else was getting.
Trigger has stayed by his side ever since, through the famous Fourth of July Picnics he started hosting in Texas in 1972, his experimental Number One breakthrough Red Headed Stranger, and all the rough times; when the IRS seized his possessions in the early Nineties, Willie sent his daughter, Lana, to hide the guitar in Hawaii. He’s had Trigger for so long and played it so hard and so much that his pick wore a sizable hole through its front. “My God! How do they keep that thing together?!” Patoski exclaims in the film. “I mean, it shouldn’t be playable.” Willie’s response? “I don’t want to put a guard over it,” he smiles. “I need a place to put my fingers.”
After five decades with his trusty companion, Nelson is still going strong. “I figure we’ll give out about the same time,” he says of the well-worn acoustic. “We’re both pretty old, got a few scars here and there, but we still manage to make a sound every now and then.”
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/willie-nelson-rs-films-mastering-the-craft-trigger-20150211#ixzz3RSbs2zsa
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook
Pleased to announce the film that I’ve been directing in association with Arts + Labor Productions has been accepted into the 2015 South By Southwest Film Festival and will screen sometime around March 17-21. The film will have its premiere screening in Austin on Thursday April 9, and its San Antonio premiere at the San Antonio Book Festival on Saturday April 11.
The story below:
Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove tells the story of Doug Sahm, the wild man musicians’ musician and unsung hero of Texas music. A country music child prodigy and teenage rhythm & blues dynamo who caused a riot at his San Antonio high school, Sahm emerged as an international rock star leading the Sir Douglas Quintet. He landed in San Francisco just in time for the Summer of Love in 1967. He returned to Texas as the cowboy hippie rocker who built a burgeoning music scene in Austin in before forming the Tex-Mex super group The Texas Tornados. A kinetic, quirky character with a solid sense of place as well as an innate wanderlust, Doug Sahm’s story is the story of Texas music.
Section: Documentary Feature
Premiere Status: World Premiere
Director: Joe Nick Patoski
Executive Producer: Louis Black, Alan Berg
Producer: Dawn Johnson,
Screenwriter: Joe Nick Patoski, Jason Wehling
Cinematographer: Yuta Yamaguchi
Editor: Cody Ground
Production Designer: Caroline Karlen
Sound Designer: Eric Friend
Additional Credits: Executive Producer: Abe Zimmerman, Associate Producer: Kristin Johansen-Berg, Associate Producer: Craig Parks, Associate Producer: Joe Bailey, Jr., Art Director: Jennymarie Jemison
Principal Cast: Doug Sahm, Shawn Sahm, Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers, Ernie Durawa, George Rains, Alvin Crow, Bill Bentley, Ray Benson, Spot Barnett
Film Badge, Gold Badge, Platinum Badge, Film Festival Wristband
24 Beats Per Second
Joe Nick Patoski has authored books on Willie Nelson, Selena, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and written about Texas music for Texas Monthly and Rolling Stone. The one story he has wanted to tell most, though, is this one: the saga of Doug Sahm, the greatest musician to emerge from Texas during the 20th century.
Public Film Contact
The semi-ghost town of Valentine, 39 miles west of Marfa, is gonna be wide open for bidness Saturday February 14 for the big Big Bend Brewing Company Valentine’s Day Party and Dance at Valentine Merchantile. The music lineup includes Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars, Mike and the Moonpies, the Crooks, and the Joe Ely Band. The Texas Music Hour of Power will be broadcasting live from the event and taking listener dedications and shoutouts online (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Image Wranglers will be doing Picture Radio in a show of force.
I am very pleased to have my profile of Paul English in the Texas Music issue of the Oxford American. Paul is the backbone of Willie Nelson’s family and for good reason. Order a copy today from oxfordamerican.org
In the meantime, the whole story is here on the new Oxford American website, OxfordAmerican.org http://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/item/463-watching-willie-s-back
In light of the Amazon embargo of Little, Brown authors including me, I want to let readers know I’ve got a few copies of the Willie Nelson and Dallas Cowboys books available through the Christmas holidays. Contact me at email@example.com for the particulars
Next Saturday, I’ll be talking Texas-Mexican music at the East Texas Book Festival in Tyler at Tyler Junior College West Campus
1 pm room 108 – covering the history from Lydia Mendoza and Narciso Martinez to Flaco Jimenez, Selena, and Little Joe.
ALL THE DETAILS ARE AT WWW.ETXBOOKFEST.ORG
Tuesday July 15, 2014 @7pm
Remember The Armadillo with our Views and Brews at the Cactus Cafe this Tuesday July 15 @ 7:00pm, as Jody Denberg of KUTX hosts Eddie Wilson, Jim Franklin, Micael Priest, Danny Garrett and Joe Nick Patoski to dispel the myth, “If you remember the Armadillo, you weren’t there”.
See posters that helped style a generation of Austin music and hear stories about the days at the Dillo that made music history world wide.
Views and Brews is free and open to the public, we hope you can join us as we add another chapter to the Armadillo Oral History Project this Tuesday at 7.
Eddie Wilson, a legend, co-founder, owner of the Armadillo (1970 until left in 1976 yet Dillo lasted until end of 1980), owner of Threadgill’s North and South. Was a rep for the brewing association in town when assumed the role of manager of Shiva’s Headband. Spencer Perskins of Shiva’s asked Eddie to find a place for the band to perform….now, that’s a funny story…taking a leak out back of a bar and saw the warehouse that came to be the Armadillo with other investors. Gary Cartwright, in his Texas Monthly article, called him Austin’s pluperfect hustler.
Jim Franklin, a legend, poster artist and first master of ceremonies (you should see his giant armadillo hat he would wear…did performance art on stage to introduce bands)…he is considered the father and mother of all poster artists (says Micael Priest) who established the armadillo mammal as the symbol for the underground in Austin at the time. He also owned/operated the psychedelic club Vulcan Gas Company until its demise right before the birth of the Armadillo. Resident artist at the Dillo.
Micael Priest, poster artist most known for his Willie Nelson poster, became mc after Franklin took off to other parts. Micael is the heart and soul of the Oral History Project. Never has there been a more entertaining raconteur who weaves long stories with detail and context…13 minute tale about the Russians who came to the Capitol and the Dillo edited down for David’s doc…pure magical storytelling!!! Micael is why I pitched this idea at the Cactus.
Danny Garrett, poster artist for Dillo, Antone’s, Castle Creek, etc. Good friend of Micael’s.
Joe Nick Patoski, former senior editor of TX Mo., music reporter at the AA Statesman, book on Willie and Stevie, etc….in pre or production of Doug Sahm doc.
Every Saturday nite, yours truly hosts the Texas Music Hour of Power, showcasing all kinds of Texas sounds created over the past century of recorded music. The show runs two hours because Texas spans two time zones and frankly, the music is too dang big to limit it to one hour.
You can dial it in online at www.marfapublicradio.org or use the Tune-In app, I Tunes, or the Public Radio Player app for KRTS-FM in Marfa.
If you’re in Far West Texas, you can hear the show on these fine frequencies – KRTS 93.5 FM in Marfa, KRTP 91.7 FM in Alpine, KDKY 91.5 FM in Marathon, and KXWT 91.3 in Odessa/Midland/Notrees
And do join in on our on-air discussion by subscribing to my newsfeed Joe Nick Patoski on Facebook (where my trusty assistant Dick Thompson leads the Image Wranglers posting images and providing the back stories to the music that’s playing in real time, transforming listening to radio into a visual, multimedia experience. We call it Picture Radio
Here is the Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/joenickp
and come over the Texas Music Hour of Power page on Facebook and give us a Like while digging the Texas music we dig up to share during the rest of the week: https:www.facebook.com/TexasMusicHourofPower
Each week, the show is posted here when it airs, for your listening pleasure.
October 4’s first hour is here
and la hora numero dos – esta aqui
Here’s the first hour of the September 27 show
and the second hour
Here’s the first hour of the September 20 show
Here’s the second hour of the September 20 show
First hour of Sept 13 show
Here’s the second hour of the September 13 show
First hour of Sept 6
and here’s the second hour
Here’s the first hour of the August 30 show for your listening and dancing pleasure
la hora numero dos esta aqui
Here’s the first hour of August 23 show
and the second hour