Friday, May 06, 2005

Willie Nelson

Nelson: Thanks, But No Thanks

Singer, songwriter, performer and entertainer Willie Nelson knows a thing or two about awards and honors. He's received literally hundreds over the course of his career. And so while flattered to find out the Texas Senate was endeavoring to name a highway in his honor, the route's distinction as a toll road didn't sit well with him.

The Austin American-Statesman published a news article saying "[Nelson] envisioned motorists invoking his name every time they paid for their drive." The piece went on to quote Nelson as saying, "I don't really need that. If they want to give me a piece of it, that's a different deal. Toll roads are not that popular. I'd put my name on an electric chair, too, but I don't think that'd be too great a thing. As far as the Republican opposition, I don't blame them. It all sounded political."

In a letter sent to a state senator dated April 13, 2005, his attorney declined the distinction. "Willie simply does not feel that the naming of a toll road in his honor comports with his worldview, on either a personal or an artistic level," wrote Nelson's attorney, Joel A. Katz.

Two weeks later, however, two Republican state senators, Steve Odgen and Jeff Wentworth, have made headlines by protesting the proposed renaming which Nelson had already declined -- citing Nelson's "fondness for drinking and smoking, and active campaigning for Democratic candidates," according to an Associated Press report.

Nelson is also reprising his nationwide tour of minor league baseball parks with Bob Dylan. His next cinematic turn comes in the role Uncle Jesse for the big-screen version of the hit television show The Dukes of Hazzard. Co-stars include

Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott as Bo and Luke Duke, Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke and Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg. The film is set for a August 2005 release.

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