Willie Nelson Reveals ‘Wild’ Stories Behind His Friendship with Paul English in New Book

by Jonathan Howard

Over the years, country music icon and legend Willie Nelson has made plenty of friendships. But none quite like Paul. Paul English was Willie’s drummer pretty much from 1966 until his death in 2020. He was a rare character, and one of the last of a generation. In an upcoming book, The Red Headed Stranger plans to detail some of those stories that he and Paul had together.

Of course, Nelson fans will know the song “Me and Paul.” The track details a few stories from their time on the road together. From Nashville to Laredo, Milwaukee and Buffalo – these two got into trouble, made some of their own, and came out on the other side to talk about it.

The outlaw country life isn’t for everyone. But, it suited Willie Nelson and Paul English, that’s for sure. English wasn’t just the drummer, he was a fearsome force on and off stage. He would fight any and everybody and a lot of times acted as security for Willie Nelson and Family. Needless to say the book, Me and Paul: Untold Tales of a Fabled Friendship, is going to have some interesting tales.

While Willie was more than capable of getting himself into interesting situations, his friend Paul was on another level.

“There’s something about my friendship with Paul that reminds me of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn,” a statement from the singer said, via Rolling Stone. “Tom was more civilized and Huck was wilder. Although I was plenty wild at age 22, I’d have to say Paul was wilder. Like Tom and Huck, though, we became a team. Nothing could or would ever separate us.”

The book Me and Paul is set to come out on September 20 via Harper Horizon. So keep your eyes out for that to drop.

Willie Nelson and Family Still Touring

Right now, Willie Nelson is still on tour with his band. Between Paul and his sister Bobbie Nelson, the last two years haven’t been easy on the singer. His band looks a little different nowadays. Still, the 89-year-old keeps plucking away with Trigger and singing songs with his friends and his family.

Let me tell you, Outsiders, I’ve seen Willie twice in my life. Once in 2009 and then again just this past weekend in Noblesville, Indiana. He’s still got it. Watching him on stage is an otherworldly experience every time. Along with Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Charley Crockett, and more – the Outlaw Music Festival delivered with each performance and set.

Willie and Micah Nelson were great on stage together as well. The singer’s son was able to take over at times to let his dad rest the voice a bit. Look, just get out to see Willie if you can. There aren’t many moments in your life you get to see a living legend like that, and the show is going to be worth every penny. There will never be another, the last of a dying breed, truly.