The story so far:
There are 16,651 guitar pickers in Nashville and, every mother's son of 'em is damned good. So, when I was asked to go on tour with Willie Nelson because his regular player was sick, I was amazed. I was ecstatic. I was....YEEHAW!
Willie not the youngest guy around and he hadn't written any new songs for awhile. Not to demean the guy, but that meant I wasn't familiar with his music as I was, say, Keith Urban or Kenny Chesney. I dug up some old albums and started learning all of his songs.
The first rehearsal was a complete disaster. I discovered, much to my dismay that Willie never plays his songs live, the way he played them on the recordings. Not only that, I was to discover that he never played his songs live the same way twice!
Talk about a nightmare. I was constantly jumping around trying to find my way into and out of a song while the rest of the band was groovin'. I felt...inadequate. I figured I should probably give up playing guitar. I was a nervous wreck. I dreaded every show. It never occured to me that no one had said anything about my bad playing. It had to be bad, didn't it? I knew it. Why didn't these old guys, who'd been playing this music since before my dad was a twinkle in granddad's eye know it?
Well, they did. After the fifth show, Willie himself took me into a corner of the dance hall we were playing in.
"You seem to be strugglin', son. You need to relax. Don't worry about what your doing so much. Just stay in the key and you'll be fine."
"Uh, well, sure Willie, but...."
He laughed, lit up a joint and passed it to me. "Here, this'll help, I bet." He winked at me and walked off, saying over his shoulder, "Stage time in ten minutes. See ya there!"