Kansas City, Missouri

 —  July 12, 2014 — 82 Comments

The Starlight Theater in Kansas City was packed with love tonight.  Jason Isbell opened up the hearts of everyone with his beautiful voice, then Alison Krause and Union Station stepped up to the stage and melted even the toughest among us. She sings like a sweet, soft, fragile winged angel.

Speaking of little angels, Tatum Lee and her family drove up from Joplin, Missouri to see the show. The volunteers at the Make a Wish Foundation arranged for Tatum to meet her favorite singer, Willie Nelson, who also signed her guitar backstage after the concert. Tatum must endure painful operations every four months to extend the rods in her back, and music seems to help.  The next operation won’t be too long from now. But this time when she’s recovering and playing her guitar she can look down, see Willie’s signature and remember how many people were involved and what all it took to get it. She can be absolutely sure she is loved by the very best.
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82 responses to Kansas City, Missouri

  1. Gayle Westbrook July 12, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    This is yet another example of why millions continue to love and support Willie. Love Willie Nelson; his heart is in the right place.

  2. Willie Nelson is my HERO!

  3. Willie Nelson’s unconditional Love for people always warms my heart. At 81 years young is an inspiration for everyone.

  4. yo willie

  5. Willie is a class act.

  6. Stewart Patton July 12, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Bless you Willie!

  7. Dorothy Slusher July 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    A heart warming story. Sure Willie was happy and pleased to make such a pretty and talented new friend.
    Wishing you the best. Dorothy

  8. I wish the very best for Tatum. It comes good!
    Sweet greetings of Liesbeth and Gerard from Hungary who love also Willie.

  9. Willie has always been a favorite, he has such a big heart and a golden timeless voice.

  10. The American Hero, what a beautiful inspiration for this lovely child, a true humanitarian… Thank you Willie and blessings for you….!

  11. Christine Jackson July 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    God is Great and so are you Willie Nelson for doing that for that little girl.

  12. Rogan Rollins July 12, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Willie is the best, I am 81 also but dont look near as good as Willie, He was there for the farmers and everyone loves Willie

  13. Robert Kavanagh. July 12, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    This is just to awesome, I love Willie and can’t wait to see him at Interlochen next week!

  14. Mr. Nelson, you are one helufa man and an example of what kindness looks like.
    Jimmy Reeves.

  15. Thanks Willie and Friends for all you do.

    From father of child with disability and farmer.

  16. Way to go Tatum Lee. Get some one to post some of your music on you tube . That Willie is my favorite too. Thank you Willie Nelson for your music and you great soul.

  17. Willie is the sweetest guy on the Planet Earth.

  18. Good work Willie

  19. God Bless All Of You and bring healing comfort with the trust and faith in Him.

  20. Pretty, beautiful little angel undergoing a heart breaking physical suffering. Most beautiful thing with her, her inner beauty of childhood innocence! God’s Blessings are touching her life through that innocence, where she appeared to be most happiest face on this world! May God Bless her!

  21. Charlyne Waite July 12, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    There are many ways to measure success. When Willie joyfully takes the time to bring so much sunshine and love into the life of this little girl and her family, it is my opinion that he has reached the pinnacle of success.

  22. What a truly beautiful human being . We all luv you Willie.xx

  23. Barbara McCann July 12, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    You go girl!!

  24. DALE R. URBAN (PREACHER) July 12, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    the man cares far beyond what you or any one else might think, even though he likes his smoke.

  25. Love certainly contributes to a healing atmosphere….

  26. Your great Willie, thanks for all you do!

  27. My sister and I was so excited to see you for the time. We love you and have all our lives. Your movies, your music and the only style of guitar playing that will be lost when you are gone. Your smile is also something we love. Keep on keeping on for as long as you can!!! Love from two of your fans for life!!!

  28. Wow what a story. This probably made her year if not her whole entire life. Poor girl and that darn surgery 🙁 You are a good man Mr. Nelson

  29. The man with a big,big, heart !

  30. I love your music and would like come to one of your consert sometime! Love from Berit from Norway.

  31. Love that he is still willing to make time for fans especially children! Willie you will always be the man! Love you and your music!

  32. Just another example of Willie’s heart. Truly a legend, not only to the music community but to the world as a caring and compassionate humanitarian. So many should take his lead as to who we should be. It is all of the little gestures (Which cost us nothing) that fulfill and make the days for others.
    Keep up the lead Willie.
    Love you for so many reasons.


  33. willie is the best. I have attended as many of his concerts as I could since I was 20 I am 59 now he is my favorite of all times .I am not surprised at all that he took the time to visit with this little girl.

  34. Can anyone possibly NOT love Willie – what a mensch!!♡♡♡♡

  35. Heard you in NPR’ prairie home companion…. Still blown away that 20 years later you still sing incredibly well. Love band of brothers

  36. You are the greatest. I have seen you over 30 times and will continue to go to any concert within a days drive of Denham Springs, LA to see you. Would love an autograph or a hand shake sometime, maybe one day. May God Bless You!!

  37. Awesome photos for awesome reasons . . . . . God Bless Ya’ll 🙂

  38. Bill Schreiber July 13, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Willie Nelson is a great human being and humanitarian first and foremost and secondly, one of the greatest Country Music artists of all time. Keep on keeping on Willie. You are loved and respected by millions.

  39. So glad to write to you! I am a long time fan and had recently faxed info to the Grand Ole’ Opry hoping that it would reach you because I didn’t hear back from the letter that I had sent to the “Farm Aid” number up in Mass. I know that you are busy and have other concerns but hope that you or someone connected to your organization or “Farm Aid” would be kind enough to write to me and to send it to my home address at 1767 W. McGalliard Ave., Hamilton, NJ 08610. I have a house to sell and am looking to apply for Farm Aid in another state. My husband has many years experience farming and is from WV.
    We don’t have a phone at this time, but would love to hear from you.

  40. For Tatum: Your pictures are so cute! God Bless You and your family, and Willie Nelson for his kindness!

  41. Willie is best the best. I love you Willie. Ilka from Brazil.

  42. Nancy L. Sparks July 14, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    That is Truely a Special Memory that will give Tatum Drive Even When She is in Her Valley Fighting to Get Back To The Mountain Top–& a Priceless Memory that Willie Can & Will Always Carry in His Heart Forever— Thank You Willie— That Is What Makes You Willie Nelson & You Stand Out In A Crowd Because Of Your Special Kindness— Love You Willie

  43. lucille watson July 14, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    Thank you Willie for being so wonderful and giving person that you are. God bless you and I love your music.

  44. Mario Gonzalez July 14, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    God bless Willie Nelson. Tatum Lee and her family are in my prayers.

  45. I have waited 52 years for my dream. On 7/14/2014 the exact line up was at Ràvina pavilion in Highland Park Illinois. I saved for a year to see the only Willie I’ve ever loved before. 40 minutes into his set he had to exit due to incliment weather. I have never been so heartbroken. It was my one and only chance to see my Willie. I paid almost 300.00 dollars for a 5th row seat. I just wished he could of seen my blue eyes crying in the rain. Never heard roll me up and smoke me….I completely understand the sudden departure. However, I am forever sad. Love you Willie.

  46. Willie sings the healing hands of time has helped more than one person I know

  47. Beautiful…a very special man with a lovely, courageous young lady. Truly inspiring.

  48. Thanks willie!, that will encourage that little girl forever.
    I saw willie at snowden grove.

  49. God Bless you, WIllie. I remember watching you when you were a lot younger (and I was a little lad) at Leon Springs cafe. You have always been an inspiration and role model for the true Texans. I wish you and little Tatum Lee all the best. And please give your daughter Bobbie a hug for me. I love the biography she wrote about you.

    Shine on,
    Eric Levi Hayes

  50. Willie is truly pure. His genuiness equals his talent. If I ever made it from Brisbane to the USA I sure hope to meet him.

  51. Willie is truly pure. His genuiness equals his talent. If I ever made it from Brisbane to the USA I sure hope to meet him. I hope he never stops being him.

  52. Willie. you are the best person I know, and what you did for this little girl is awesome. I truly love seeing all the good things you do for everyone. It shows you have a great big heart. I hear you are going to be in Oklahoma on October 17th, you are my greatest singer and artist of them all. You are the last of the breed, I love you so much. I have copd and need continuous oxygen, and all I can have when I leave home is on pulse, that is not enough for me. I have continous oxygen at home, so here I am stuck at home, most of the time. My boyfriend of almost 10 years is your favorite fan, His birthday is Ouctober 28th and I wish I could provide a way for us both to be able to be together for your concert on October 17th for his birthday surprise, I am fixing to celebrate my birthday tomorrow, I am going to be 64. July 15th 1950, My last wish is to be there with someone who could help us, He can not push me around in a wheel chair, nor can I get a system to give me the oxygen I need thru medicare. I also sleep with a bipap at night. I have that available. I also have my nebulizer machine that I need to use two times a day. This is a birthday wish I would love to give to him, with your help. He has xm radio and he listens to you all the time. I love Jimmy so much. He is my knight and shining armor. He is 76 going to be 77 in October. I would be honored to have the pleasure, with your help to give him his birthday wish, that would last him forever, <3 Love you Willie

  53. you are an angel and have always been one . i love you so much!! I told my husband that you would be the ONLY man I would ever leave him for. he understands.

  54. Pamela M. Watson July 15, 2014 at 1:18 AM

    This is the Willie I know. When I met him a few years back in Jacksonville, Florida, he was very gracious and put on an awesome show. The house rocked! I was afraid to ask for a beer and chili on the bus! This little girl will love him all her life and will never forget how great and gracious he was. Thanks, Willie, from all of us fans. We love you! In fact, I am going to have “Roll me up” played as the last “hymn” at my funeral. And if anyone doesn’t like it, they can close their ears!!! Thanks for being so nice to the littleist fan….you’ve got lots of them out here. We appreciate all your hard work to give us a lifetime of joy and happiness. You and your songs have saved my life many times over. God bless you.

  55. Willie I believe you are the greatest and you made one little girl so happy. And the shine on her face and yours was the best. You are truely lovedby all your fans. And yes I am one too. Have been for a vey long time. Kisseds, hugs and love to you and your family.And God bless you and Tatum!!!! Love her too.

  56. Jeannie Rydeski July 15, 2014 at 3:05 AM

    Tatum Lee is an incredibly beautiful little girl. An Angel for sure. I’m not at all surprised that Willie Nelson would honor her at his concert. What a lot of people do not realize about Willie is his enormously gigantic heart filled with love and compassion. He is so amazing.

    When I was young, I would always attend the free concerts that Willie gave at Comanche Park in San Antonio, TX. Willie was dressed in a suit and tie and had short hair. He always made time for his many fans. He signed autographs and posed for pictures. He was so approachable back then and oh so easy to talk to. It was always a pleasure to see him and he always remembered many of his fans by name. What a privilege it was for all of us who knew Willie when he was first starting out. It’s been wonderful to follow his career and see all of the kind, wonderful things he has done throughout his career for so many people. The great music he has given to us will be enjoyed by millions for decades to come.

    The kindness he has shown Tatum and her family has certainly earned Willie Nelson extraordinary jewels in His Heavenly Crown. WAY TO GO WILLIE!!! I trust that all who read this will keep Tatum Lee in their daily prayers. Prayer changes things and this little Angel is long overdue for her miracle blessings. Let’s band together and prayer for her speedy recovery. She is so courageous and a great inspiration to all. God Bless You both, Tatum Lee and Willie Nelson.

  57. Frank Richardson July 15, 2014 at 5:11 AM

    Thanks, Willie, from all the folks who’re disabled with problems ranging from physical to emotional. My problem’s emotional, dating back to Vietnam’s horrors, but I’ve managed to make it into old age, now 71. During my toughest times I have thought about those times during my broadcast career that I’ve been blessed with the chance to interview you and all seems ok for a while. Your reach is far, from Tatum Lee to people such as I. We all thank you…deeply…

  58. Sone Toivo “Sonny” Havnå-Nelson July 15, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    Hi. Reading this story brought tears to the eyes and a great big grin to the lips of this 31 year old man. It brought back so many memories and emotions from my own past. I was born and still live with the congenital(pre-birth existing) spinal anomaly/abnormality Spina Bifida Myelemeningocele and have had to go through more major operations and fights with blood poisoning than I honestly care to remember. I remember growing up and having to go through major neurological and orthopedic operations regularly and some of the things that helped me the most through the usually pretty **** painful post-op and rehabilitation periods that could last from weeks to months at a time as well as helped me through my life in-between hospitalizations was Willie’s music, personality and everything else I could find out about him. I still have the first cassette that I got with examples of his music. It was a Highwaymen cassette and it had two of his songs on it that he sang, Texas and Two Stories Wide. It’s a wonder that casette still works. I listened to many times a day for years. I still take it out and listen to it now again even though I’ve got most of Willie’s CD’s by now. Back in 1996 I was a 13 year old kid wiho was known by people that knew me as a hard guy to get to shut up. In may of that year Willie came to Norway and I got my dad to help me get a couple tickets to go see Willie and the family live in a town a couple hours away from that itty-bitty bible belt I’d been born and raised in as one of the very few non-baptized and non-religious kids. Anyway, I remember talking my dad into going over there pretty early in the day. To this day, I’m not sure why I did it, but I was used to being late and there was no way in **** that I was going to be late to my first Willie Nelson concert. We drove to where the show was going to be and parked in the parking lot. Then we went into the place and just looked around and saw the crew setting stuff up for the gig that wasn’t going to start until around 8pm that night and at the time we were there it was around noon so there were quite a few more hours until showtime so my dad suggested that we go and get ourselves something to eat so we went downtown and looked around for a place to get ourselves some food, but a lot of places seemed to be closed and the town looked to be pretty much deserted. In one of the pedestrian streets we were walking down when my dad suddenly looked up and asked me, “Sone, do you know that guy?”, as he gestured to a man in black jeans, sneakers and a black hoodie over his head with two braids jumping around on his chest as he came jogging down the street. Before I knew what hit me, my dad asked the jogger as he came closer, but was still on the other side of the street, “Mr. Nelson?”. Willie heard my dad, stopped, looked at me and smiled. Before I knew it we were deep in a conversation that was just like were two old friends or familymembers. I remember the feeling that filled me when I saw him smile at me for the first time. I knew there’d been something missing in my life, but I’d never been able to put my finger on it. At that moment I knew it though. I was home. I’d found my spiritual family and everything was going to be ok from that point on. Remember that I said that I was known for having a hard time shutting up? Well, for the first few minutes my dad had to talk because I was grinning too much to be able to talk. I don’t know how long we stood there, but finally Willie had to leave because he had to get to the soundcheck in time. Before he left my dad and I though, he asked for my name. I gave him my name and he told me to just tell the people at the venue my name when we came back from getting ourselves a bite to eat. When we left to go do our different things my wheelchair felt like it was made of air and my chronic back, neck and joint pains had all but disappeared. I had the biggest grin imaginable. The hours between then and until we got to the gig slowly went by much too slowly for my taste, but finally it was almost showtime and we showed up at the venue and I mentioned my name to the people that worked there and I was given a sticker to put on my clothes that read: “Willie Nelson – Guest”. They also provided my dad and I with the best places in the entire venue, close to the entrance to the backstage area. Just like every Willie Nelson & Family show I’ve ever been to, the whole thing was amazing and I, of course, enjoyed it from start to finish. By the time the show ended me and my dad were ushered backstage where I got to meet the entire crew, band family and of course Willie. He was the one that gave me the nickname Sonny that first time that we met each other on that street earlier that day. My real name, Sone, means the same. I don’t know how long we stayed backstage talking and laughing and just basically having a great time, but eventually Willie and the rest had to leave to get to their next gig. However, before he left he personally invited me to come see him and his family the next time they came to Norway and if I ever came to the US. We also exchanged contact details. We contacted each other a few times after that until I had to have my back broken in three places and had to have 1,32lbs of surgical implanted in my back all along my spine to attempt to straighten out a pretty serious scoliosis that threatened to crush my left lung. In the months after that operations I didn’t seem to get any better and blood poisoning caused by a post-op yellow staph infection was pretty soon diagnosed. The problem was that if the steel was removed, my entire back would collapse and threaten my life so I didn’t really have no other choice than to tough it out until my back’d healed enough for the steel to be able to be removed without risking that my back would collapse on itself and really crush my lungs. I can honestly say that I never would’ve gotten through it if hadn’t been for the emotional and spiritual support that I got through e-mails and letters that I exchanged with Willie and his family through the two years it took for my back to heal enoug for the surgeons to be able to open my back again and remove the steel without risking that my back would collapse on itself again. I had the steel scaffolding all along my spine for two years from 1996 to 1999. By the Willie and the family came on a Norwegian tour in the summer of 1998 the doctors seemed to don’t understand how I was able to tough it out. I was as white as a sheet and skinnier than I’d ever been in my entire life. I was basically just skin and bones. I knew that I had to make it to meet Willie and the family again so even though I could barely sit upright I got my dad to drive to the hotel where I knew they’d be staying for the day. By the time we got there the hotel lobby was filled with reporters and local celebrities, all looking to shake hands with and have their picture taken with Willie. Believe it or not, neither me or my dad like to be the center of attention so we took a couple seats in the back of the lobby away from the reporters and local celebrities and just sat there talking and waiting for the bus to arrive. Finally it did and then Willie came into the lobby. I remember how he came in, scanned the lobby, saw me, gave me the biggest smile and made a bee line right past the reporters and local celebrities standing at the ready with their smiles and hands already outstretched, straight for me and gave me one of the biggest and one of the most healing hugs I had had until that day. That simple gesture, a big smile followed by a great hug had more healing and strengthening power than all the drugs the docs had given me at that point and it gave me the strength to endure. Willie and I talked for a while and then he excused himself because he had to talk with the reporters and local celebritie before he went up to his room to relax a little, but he asked us to just wait a little while and then we’d go over to where the gig was going to be together. A little while later he came back down and then my dad, Willie and I went over to where the gig was where the rest of the crew and band and family was at. I spent the entire day there together with them all and I knew and was also told by several of them, including Willie himself, that I was a part of their family. Even though I was weak and probably looked like a ghost, I was able to be there and their love, concern and positive, caring and loving energy filled me with the strength I needed. Not only to get through the day, but also to get through one of the toughest periods of my life that would come a few months later when a junkie killed my eldest first cousin who was more like a great big brother to me than a first cousin. After my eldest first cousin had been murdered my health took a turn for the worst and I ended up in the E.R where the docs had to do emergency surgery without any anaesthetics and cut a small hole in my lower back so that the infection that was ravaging my body and almost killing me at the time and had done so for about a year and a half would have a way to disappear out of my body. That’s why I lived with an open wound on my lower back for about six months until my back had healed enough for the surgeons to be able to do their job removing the steel scaffolding along my spine. I can honestly say that hadn’t I’d gotten that hug from Willie and a bunch of hugs from other of his family members that day in july, 1998 and the regular e-mails from the road, I would not be here to write this story today. I know that I am blessed by the powers that be by getting to know Willie and his family and being taken in as one of their own. I know neither words or deeds will ever come even close to describing the love and gratefulness that I feel towards Willie and the rest of my American family. They were the ones that taught me that you can have more than one family. Of course there’s the biological family that we’re all born into, then there’s the family that takes care of you, whether they be biological/adoptive/foster family and then finally, there’s that family or group of people that become like family that you know that you belong to, but there’s just no scientific or legal way of determining how you’re related to them. The last kind of family is how I know I belong to the Nelson family. They were the ones that suggested pretty early on that I try and change my last name legally and right before New Years Eve 2013 I was finally granted my wish after trying to do it several times. Anyway, each and every time Willie’s come to Norway I’ve been able to meet him and his family and when I went to the US in December 2003 I was fortunate to be able to spend about a couple weeks with them, including on a small tour to Nashville, Tennessee and Biloxi, Mississippi. Being able to know that there’s a group of people on the other side of the planet thinking about you, wishing you all the best and sending you continuous healing and strengthening energy and love is pretty awesome to be honest with you all. If it wasn’t for my American family, I know, hands down, that I wouldn’t be here and able to breathe, write this story and enjoy my life, tough as it may be from time to time, but hey, if you don’t have any problems from time to time, you’re most probably dead. I hope you’ve been able to keep up with this story/comment so far and that I honestly haven’t written anything wrong. Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this completely true story that is continuously evolving. If you want to know more about me or ask me any questions then please feel free to contact me. Sincerely Sone Toivo “Sonny” Havnå-Nelson

  59. carol belcher July 15, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    No child should have to endure this, I thought I had problems being paralyzed in car accident at 52 by someone with no insurance then losing a leg to sepsis, but none of that compares to the tests this child must endure. May God bless her and keep her as pain free as possible.

  60. CLIFFORD (SPIDER) HELM July 15, 2014 at 9:24 AM


  61. And this is why I will always love you, Willie!!

  62. We have to cherish our youth and elderly, here we see how those vulnerable souls can find comfort in soulful music. Great story.

  63. That little angle met a bigger angel. Although the bigger angel isn’t as pretty as the little angel, the big angel has a huge heart of gold.
    Prayers and best wishes to both.

  64. Raul Roy Davila July 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Willie just being Willie – I met him when he worked for Dr Ben and Mona Parker at KBOP Radio in Plesanton Texas. Willie is The Son of America……

  65. God Bless Willie and Tatum Lee!

  66. Just one more reason to love Willie !!!!! Such a wonderful man !

  67. that was a wonderful thing that happened for tatum.

  68. You’re a beautiful human being Willie! You certainly made little Tatum smile 🙂

  69. Dear Mr. Nelson: Tatum is absolutely an adorable child that has impeccable taste is music. She is a little heart breaker, and I will be sure to keep her in my prayers, that her operation is a huge success, and she continues to do well…. Willie is an Angel himself, and this is a great story of inspiration, for other lil girls, that have similar problems.. My hat’s off to Tatum. May God-Bless.

    Kind Regards/ Robert L. Brown

  70. that is so sweet.. <3

  71. C.R. Willie Wurm July 16, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    Way to go Willie! God bless little Tatum Lee!!

  72. Miquel Cullop July 16, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Willie this is why I love you and your music its all from the heart!

  73. It was so very nice of Willie Nelson to have some pictures of him and Tatum Lee and also sign her guitar. I think that Willie made Tatum’s day.

  74. sandra beckner July 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    I knew he would do something like this he is great. I love him and his music it is on all time in my car

  75. Awesome story!! Way to go Willie!


  76. Alvaro de Almeida Filho July 18, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Mr.Nelson you the best!!!!!!! I love you…..Country music is my life,my life is country music.
    I m Braziliam…I come from in Rio de Janeiro.Tank you forever….I love yuors songs.

    By By……………………………….

  77. Saúl cid Gutiérrez July 18, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Wonderful can to help, God bless You Willie and Lee family


  79. Freda Bolding July 20, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    You are such a strong young lady and God Loves you and Willie. I am so glad to know someone as young as you can find the love and beauty in Willie as I have for so many years. Your eyes are just as beautiful as his. He does color outside the lines every now and again but that is alright with me. My prayers are up for you and your family in your endeavor to face your next surgery with courage. Flo

  80. Martha littlefield September 22, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    When god gave us the privaledge to hear willie sing on TV as a child it was like hearing an angel enter the room. Now that aged angel heals hearts and souls. May you have joy in your life always and your family also god bless you Mr. Willie Nelson always !

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