Willie - The Story Behind The Song
The news is out about my new EP “The Heart of a Songwriter” being released September 14th! It’s a little bit of a wait until then so I wanted to share stories behind the songs of my new EP every Sunday and Wednesday leading up to the big day.
My new EP opens with a song that has been my anthem for many years. It’s an ode to one of my biggest heroes and it was written on a night I will absolutely never forget. The song is called “Willie”.
Most of you have probably already heard me perform it live over the years. It’s been one of my most requested songs and one that brings a big smile to everyone’s face.
It all started on September 14th, 2013. As I sat down to write this, I had to look back to find the exact date. I got chills when I realized that it just so happens to be the same date I chose to release this EP. Serendipity at it’s finest. It’s pretty darn close to magical if you ask me.
Five years ago, I started that day playing a benefit show. I played music for a few hours then on our way home that afternoon my mom and dad hit me with a big surprise. It was an out of nowhere, no particular reason, no special occasion, just because kind of surprise (those are my favorite kind). I can’t remember if it was my mom or my dad, but one of them turned around and said, “Guess what we’re doing tonight.” I thought that my dad was just going to say steak for dinner haha but their weird grins had me worried. After I guessed, my mom told me that we were going to Cary, NC to see Willie Nelson in concert. I was so happy I could cry.
When we got home I changed clothes, braided my hair (obviously because it’s WILLIE NELSON), and we drove two hours to the amphitheater. I remember being so excited. I have loved Willie Nelson for a really long time.
When we got to the venue it was so amazing to see all kinds of people walking around and finding their seats. We saw older couples, groups of people in their 20’s, kids, and even a Hells Angel or two. It was absolutely wonderful! Just another reason why I love this man and his music.
The concert started and it was beautiful. I cried a few times and laughed a lot. I don’t remember exactly what song it was, but after about the 4th song mentioning weed, this melody popped in my head singing, “I’m not Willie. I don’t get stoned.” I immediately wrote it down in my phone notes and recorded it in my voice memos. The concert was still in full swing. I have never in my life had a song come to me as fast as “Willie” did.
After the magical night watching my hero on stage, I went home and wrote down exactly how I felt as fast as I could get the thoughts out.
"I’m not Willie
I don’t get stoned
But he taught me
To follow where the wind blows
And this road in front of me is where I’m suppose to be
Livin’ like a gypsy"
I felt truly inspired by how Willie’s music speaks to so many different kinds of people. His music touches my heart deeply. All of us at that outdoor amphitheater had very different lifestyles and yet we all felt something when we heard those songs.
I also find it hilarious that my 15 year old self wrote “I’m not Willie. I don’t get stoned.”
So here I am, five years later, still singing this song everywhere I go. It’s been sung in many different states to many different types of people. I hope it will bring joy to all kinds of kinds. I hope it does Willie Nelson justice. If I’m being completely honest…. I hope Willie hears it and loves it as much as I love him.
That’s the story behind my song “Willie”. I can’t wait for you guys to hear the full version on my new EP “The Heart of a Songwriter”.