February 2, 2010 in City

Singer of true substance always takes the high road

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Background and the latest updates

Reforming America’s pot laws has a good buzz going.

Medical marijuana, for example, has broad popular support among the ill-and-achy baby boomer masses.

Last month a group of Seattle activists filed a sweeping initiative that would legalize all adult pot possession, manufacturing and sales.

While I do agree it’s time for marijuana reform, I’m just not emotionally invested in any of the above causes.

My interest is in musical, not medical, marijuana. And I’m here today to ask for your support in helping me pass …

“Willie’s Law.”

The seeds of Willie’s Law took root inside me the other day when the news came with a Kenansville, N.C., dateline.

And I quote:

“Singer and guitarist Willie Nelson canceled a North Carolina concert because of a bum hand about an hour after several band and crew members were busted for allegedly possessing moonshine and marijuana.”

Bum hand, my butt.

I know Old Willie’s had some carpal tunnel issues. But since his bandmates were cited not long before showtime, I’m guessing Willie’s walkout had as much to do with his crew being hassled by The Man as any sore mitt.

Either way, the passage of Willie’s Law is long overdue.

It would give Willie (or any member of his touring cadre) an automatic pass when it comes to grass, which is also known as: weed, herbage, chronic, giggle bush, Mary Jane, spliff, blunt, reefer, hemp, devil’s lettuce, bud, joint, roach, fatty, doobie, truckies treat, Thai stick or zippidee doo.

Ditto moonshine.

And why not?

Willie Nelson on ganja is like Popeye on spinach.

Willie would not be the national treasure he is today without a toke of shwag now and then.

And it hurts me to see Willie’s career besmirched by these legal intrusions. In 2006, for example, Louisiana cops busted the Cowboy King of Cannabis with enough pot on his tour bus to mellow out Congress for an entire session.

(Hmm. Maybe that’s not so bad an idea, actually.)

You can probably tell I’m wild about Willie.

I believe Willie Nelson is one of the greatest vocal stylists to ever live.

Few have ever been better when it comes to interpreting a song. I’d put his genius for phrasing right up there with Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.

And that’s not even counting Willie’s cool guitar picking, the fact he practically invented the Outlaw Country movement or his mad chops at writing a song.

The guy wrote “Crazy,” for crying out loud.

That alone would put him in a songwriters Hall of Fame.

Willie’s something like 77 years old now. How much longer will he be able to sing “On the Road Again,” much less be on the road again?

We can’t afford to have Willie canceling concerts. Who knows how many he has left?

So stop sniffing around the Willie Nelson tour buses. Leave his band be and let the music roll on.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or dougc@spokesman.com.

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