Willie Nelson Reveals If He’ll Ever Stop Touring

by Blake Ells
(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Willie Nelson is 89 years old. The iconic country music singer and songwriter spent much of the year crisscrossing the country on his Outlaw Music Festival. He also returned for another edition of Farm Aid. A host of fantastic musicians joined him along the way. Chris StapletonZach Bryan, ZZ Top and Jason Isbell are just a few of the artists that opened for Willie Nelson on his traveling festival this year. He also co-headlined the Palomino Festival in Pasadena with his friend Kacey Musgraves and many of the folks he traveled with throughout 2022. Things seem as good as they’ve ever been for Nelson after all these years. But surely he’ll retire from the road soon, right?

He took on the question in a new interview with ET while discussing his new book, Me and Paul: Untold Tales of a Fabled Friendship.

“I say after every touring I’m quitting,” he said. “But after a while, I need to go back. I enjoy playing, and I think it’s good for me to sing. It’s the best exercise that I can give myself.”

Willie Nelson released his 72nd solo studio album this year, A Beautiful Time. He was asked who he’d still like to collaborate with.

“Anybody,” he said. “Can you sing?”

Willie Nelson Shares Stories of an Old Friend in ‘Me and Paul’

Me and Paul: Untold Tales of a Fabled Friendship is a tribute to Willie Nelson’s long-time band mate and friend Paul English. English died in 2020.

“He had my back every day, every night, 24/7,” Willie Nelson recalls. “It’s hard to find people like that.”

The title, “Me and Paul,” is a reference to Willie Nelson’s song of the same name, which is also about he and English.

“[They were] things that really happened,” he recalls of the song’s lyrics. “I miss him a lot. But everything in that song was true.”

Meanwhile, Willie Nelson remains on the road making music with his friends. He’s in Paso Robles, Calif. on October 9 at Viva Robles Amphitheatre. Then, he’s off to Bakersfield for a show at Dignity Health Amphitheatre on October 11. The Outlaw Music Festival returns on October 14 at Shoreline in Mountain View, Calif. The Avett Brothers, Larkin Poe and Black Pumas join for that show. So does Particle Kid, the stage name of his youngest son, Micah Nelson.

That lineup continues through the weekend in California with additional stops in Wheatland and Irvine. Willie Nelson wraps his year with two stops in San Diego on October 18 & 19 at Humphrey’s. That’s all for 2022, unless he adds more dates. But that California run on the Outlaw Music Festival was a recent addition. Maybe he has more up his sleeve. Check out his website for all of the tour dates and for ticket information.