Well damn: Willie Nelson, 84, is ill once again, and has cancelled his current tour


Stopped in mid-concert. He had to cancel another tour earlier this summer, so I fear the worst. His daughter Paula, on Sirius XM, said today that it's just the flu, but I worry. We've lost some of the best of the outlaw country stars the past few years, from Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, to Roy Clark, and it's getting downright depressing: I'm not hearing many great replacements, while mainstream country music has returned to the wasteland it was in the 70s. 

So maybe back to Beethoven — his Violin Concerto in D Major was my entry into classical music long, long ago (thank you, brother Anthony) and still sustains me. But no Willie? Unthinkable.

Here's Beethoven, then Willie and his daughters singing "Have you ever seen the rain?" The adoring looks he gives his girls throughout, and then the moment (3:00 in) when he hugs them and leaves the stage is, at least for this father, a real tear-jerker.

Beethoven: Try the larghetto, beginning at 25:08 — it was what turned a then-17-year-old philistine into a dumb kid who could appreciate at least one of the finer things in life.