Waylon and Johnny are dead. Kris is still into music but has a form of dementia as he approaches eighty. And Willie . . . is just Willie. At eighty-three, he’s still on the road making music with his friends.
But tonight, compliments of PBS, I saw these four country singers in a concert filmed in 1990 when all four were at the top of their games. In addition to solo careers and careers with some of their wives, these iconic country singers (Nelson, Jennings, Cash, and Kristofferson), rebels all, collaborated as The Highwaymen. They performed around the country; they participated in LiveAid; they recorded albums together. Mostly they just played music.
There were no strobe lights back then. No screens behind the band showing distracting images. No scripted pitter-patter. Just four men who enjoyed each other’s company as they took turns singing and picking.
Time slipped away as I watched this footage of over twenty-five years ago. It returned me to where I was in 1990: taking Willie’s “Always On My Mind” to heart, helping children leave home, knowing I would divorce my husband and follow.
It was an hour and a half of memory lane with no capital letters, but with sweet thoughts about that music and, yes, even that time in my life.