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    Hot Spring's Welcomes Country Legends

    Among the recent Country Legends to perform in Hot Springs is a Country Legend; Willie Nelson! Willie, who played at the Summit Arena in Hot Springs, has a distinctive sound. He has been active in social and political causes ranging from tax protests to support for a Democratic effort in the mid-2000's to bust up a Republican gerrymandering attempt in Texas.

    No stranger to controversy, he released the Tex-Mex style "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other," a song about gay cowboys, as a digital single through the iTunes Music Store on Valentine's Day 2006, shortly after the release of the film “Brokeback Mountain” that also featured Nelson on the soundtrack. Tickets for this and other concerts scheduled throughout the year can be order from all Ticketmaster outlets or may be charged by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

    Nelson's touring and recording group is a collection of a number of longstanding members, including his sister, Bobbie Nelson, longtime drummer Paul English, harmonica player Mickey Raphael, Bee Spears, Billy English (Paul's younger brother), and Jody Payne.

    Nelson was raised in Abbott, Texas, the son of Myrle Marie (née Greenhaw) and Ira Doyle Nelson, who was a mechanic and pool hall owner. His grandparents, William Alfred Nelson and Nancy Elizabeth Smothers, gave him mail-order music lessons starting at age 6. He wrote his first song when he was 7 and was playing in a local band at age 9. Willie played the guitar, while his sister Bobbie played the piano. He met Bud Fletcher, a fiddler, and two siblings joined his band, Bohemian Fiddlers, while Nelson was in high school.

    Nelson moved to Nashville in 1960, but was unable to land a record label contract. He did, however, receive a publishing contract at Pamper Music. After Ray Price recorded Nelson's "Night Life," which was reputedly the most covered country song of all time, Nelson joined Price's touring band as a bass player. While playing with Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys, many of Nelson's songs became hits for some of country and pop music's biggest stars of the time. These songs were sung by the legends of the time Billy Walker. Faron Young, Roy Orbison, and most famously, Patsy Cline, who sang "Crazy".

    We look forward to seeing more great legends of music perform in Hot Springs!

    By Leroy Worley

    Getting There:

    To learn more about events and attractions throughout Arkansas, visit the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism  at