My Heroes Have Always Been...

Posted: October 8th, 2013. 0 Comments.

Here's a picture of Willie after a run, and here's a picture of me before a run. I'll be running the Chicago Marathon as part of Team LIVESTRONG on Sunday.

Can anyone measure up to Willie Nelson? The answer is no, especially when he's wearing his short shorts, but since I first heard his music playing on my dad's 8-track tape, I have been asking myself the question so perfectly posed by Bruce Robison in his song, "What Would Willie Do?"

Willie's songs, recordings, generous spirit, and sheer endurance at touring and making music over the decades make him a hero to me, and heroes inspire us by pushing the boundaries of what you thought was possible. 

Willie's also a runner:

Here's an interview where Willie talks about running in 2008:

INTERVIEWER:  How many years have you been running and why do you run?

WILLIE: I just try to exercise, I try to do enough in the morning to make up for what I did, detrimentally, the night before. I try to make it even out, but you know, we don't live the greatest lifestyles out here traveling on the road and eating whatever we can get a hold of. So, any kind of exercise we can do daily is good, and I try to get in a run or a bike ride or something every day...  

You know, I enjoy running around Austin. I enjoy going downtown and running on the rivers and lakes down there, and you see just loads and loads of people doing it every single day. There's not a more beautiful place to run and Austin has so many great roads and trails.



Another hero of mine - and another example of endurance and productivity in the face of obstacles - was Joe Gracey.  

My new album 'Stories They Tell' is inscribed to the memory and musical legacy of Joe Gracey. 


As a DJ, producer, engineer, songwriter, musician, Joe Gracey's musical accomplishments were described eloquently by Joe Nick Patoski. Joe Gracey passed away in November of 2011 after surviving many bouts with cancer for 35 years. 

A few bits of Gracey trivia are: he set the course for the progressive country rock music movement of the 1970s as a DJ on KOKE, was talent coordinator for the new TV program 'Austin City Limits,' he was the first to record Stevie Ray Vaughan, he was at the controls for recordings by Willie Nelson, Kimmie Rhodes, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and he EQed the vocals on 2 of my albums. He was a father to Gabe Rhodes, the multi-instrumentalist and producer of my last 3 albums.



On Sunday, October 13, I'll be running the Chicago Marathon in honor of my heroes and in honor of friends and family who are battling cancer.  While preparing for the run, I am raising funds as part of Team LIVESTRONG to provide services to individuals and families in the fight against cancer.  (More info about the run and Team LIVESTRONG fundraiser is here)


Here's to our heroes.  Thanks for inspiring us to keep going and to push a little harder in fighting our own battles.


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