What is The Familytoday on Christmas Eve in 2019 to Willie Nelson….was The Family Band back in 1977 when this video was recorded….for The Family have been Willie’s touring and recording group for as long as Bone Daddy, the original Sportsphile, has known the Austin icon….which dates back to the mid-1970’s in Austin….as Bone Daddy played golf in a Doug English NFL Celebrity Tournament with Nelson.
The decade of the 1960’s had been sort of a struggle for Willie as a singer….so, he retired after the failure of his Yesterday’s Wine album in late 1970….and then the following year, he returned from retirement while being rejuvenated by the burgeoning music movement of Austin, Texas…..which was the start of what Austin, Texas is known as today starting 2020…..The Live Music Capitol Of The World…..as on any given night in the Austin music scene….there are some 250 to 300 venues (restaurants, bars, night clubs etc.) with live music being played.
In 1973, he formed a new backing band…..with the new lineup consisting of some of the members of his old road band “The Record Men”….who became The Family Band ….with the addition of new members. The original lineup included his sister, Bobbie, on the piano….drummer Paul English…. harmonicist Mickey Raphael….bassist Bee Spears….and guitarist Jody Payne…..while the current lineup includes all the members but Jody Payne, who retired in 2008, and Bee Spears, who died in 2011. Billy English joined in 1983 on percussion….and replacing Spears was Kevin Smith….who joined the band in 2012.
Bone Daddy’s current CPA also has Willie Nelson’s touring bus driver as a cleint…..and she says that Willie still does over 100 road gigs in year 2019 at age 85….so, it is easy to understand why he loves the road….and if you need more understanding….just listen to his song “On the Road Again”…..cuz Willie can’t wait to get on the road again and play music with The Family (Band).