It may be the most apropos interview ever featured on One by Willie. Wade Bowen is one of the biggest stars on the Texas country/red dirt scene, the 2023 winner of Texas Regional Radio’s T3R awards for male vocalist of the year, songwriter of the year, and single of the year—for his dancehall floor–filler, “Honky Tonk Roll.” And the focus song he chose to discuss was Willie’s original road anthem, “Me and Paul,” a 1971 chronicle of life on tour with his erstwhile partner in crime, drummer Paul English.

Given Willie’s founding-father status, as Wade rightly and readily acknowledges, of the touring circuit where Wade made his name and earns a living, the song was a perfect pick. And then, to make matters even more perfect, Wade Zoomed his side of the conversation from the lounge area of his tour bus—which had broken down somewhere in Iowa on his way to a gig.

(Read a transcript of this episode below.)

This week, singer-songwriter Wade Bowen does indeed get into what he loves about “Me and Paul,” relating how the song’s scenes resemble, a little too closely at times, moments from his own life on the road, before going on to describe how true poets like Willie, Robert Earl Keen, and Guy Clark inspire and inform his own writing, and how listening to Willie records with his dad when he was a kid made him a fan for life.

We’ve created an Apple Music playlist for this series that we’ll add to with each episode we publish. And if you like the show, please subscribe and drop us a rating on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

One by Willie is produced and engineered by Brian Standefer, with audio editing by Aisling Ayers and production by Patrick Michels. Our executive producer is Megan Creydt. Graphic design is by Emily Kimbro and Victoria Millner.


John Spong (voice-over): Hey there, I’m John Spong with Texas Monthly magazine, and this is One by Willie, a podcast in which I talk each week to one notable Willie Nelson fan about one Willie song that they really love. The show is brought to you by Still Austin craft whiskey.

This week, Texas country–slash–red dirt singer, songwriter, and big star Wade Bowen will talk to us about Willie’s 1971 song chronicling life as a road warrior–touring musician, “Me and Paul.” Now, Wade’s up front about the fact that he grew up in the nineties on mainstream radio country—and artists like Alabama, George Strait, and Garth Brooks—and that as a kid, he’d always thought of Willie as his dad’s music. Well, “Me and Paul” is one of the songs that disabused him of that notion and made Willie into one of his single biggest influences. Wade will describe all that, as well as tip his hat to Willie and the other poets—people like Robert Earl Keen and Guy Clark—who built the Texas country scene where he now makes his living.

Oh, but one other thing: “Me and Paul” was Willie’s first recorded ode to life on the road, right? Well, if you hear a weird hum in the background while Wade and I talk, that’s because he Zoomed in from his tour bus, which was broke down somewhere in Iowa on his way to a gig. If there’s a more fitting context to talk about “Me and Paul,” it hasn’t occurred to me yet.

So let’s do it.

[Willie Nelson singing “Me and Paul”]

John Spong: There we go. Wade Bowen, what’s so cool about the song, the Willie song, “Me and Paul?”

Wade Bowen: “Me and Paul” . . . lots of things about “Me and Paul,” actually. Willie Nelson, for me, in general has just been such a huge influence. And when you talk about influence, for me, it’s different from somebody . . . being an artist myself and a songwriter, we have a lot of people that we listen to, right? We have a lot of people that we listen to on a daily basis. A lot of people, I’ve grown up listening to their music, but then you talk about someone that influences your music, and that’s someone that’s different, someone that actually inspires your writing, inspires the way you play shows, inspires the way that you—inspires everything you do.

And we’ve been lucky over the years to be a part of the Willie family, to be around them and be around their stages, everything from his writing to his singing to his playing. And then just being around him on stage and the way he carries his . . . lets everybody hang out on stage. And all of that stuff has just been so influential in my life and in my career.

So, going back to as a kid, from my dad being a huge fan of his [and] introducing me to his music, when you asked me to pick one of his songs, let me tell you, that was not easy for me. I could have chosen many of his songs, but I chose “Me and Paul” just because I love the humor in it. I think, to me, it defines his personality, how funny he is, and the personality of him and Paul together and their adventures together just make such a . . . I love how he can take humor in a song and make it actually clever and actually commercial enough to be a hit. It’s very universal and amazing he can do that.

John Spong: Well, and it’s interesting because, yeah, and it’s about his best friend. To the five people who might hear this who don’t know precisely who Paul is already, it’s Paul English, his drummer, his bookkeeper, kind of the muscle, the money collector at night’s end, who liked to run around in all black, with a long black cape lined in red satin, and his nickname was the Devil . . . because that’s what he looked like doing all that. And that’s the two of them. In this song. It is the stuff they’ve been through together. It’s kind of wonderful that way.

Wade Bowen: Yeah. And there was a man named Ben Dorcy, who was a friend of ours, Ben Dorcy. We all called him Lovey. He was on the road with Willie for a long time, and he called himself the first roadie, as we all called him. And Lovey passed away a few years ago. He was 92. And he actually went on the road with us quite a bit. And my buddy, Randy Rogers, he went out on the road with him, and Kevin Fowler, a bunch of us Texas guys took him out after he kind of got off the road with Willie, and we kind of took him under our wing. He was just one of those guys that we knew that if he got off the road, he wouldn’t last much longer, so we kind of kept him going and took him out with us until he passed.

And so, when he passed away, they asked me to be a pallbearer at his funeral. And Paul was actually a pallbearer with me. It was honorary. His son actually helped carry the casket. But yeah, I was a pallbearer with Paul, so it was pretty cool. That’s kind of another reason I wanted to talk about this song as well. So, it is universal. Plus, I have a drunk alter ego and I call him “Paul,” so there’s another reason . . . there’s another reason to choose this song. We don’t need to get into that. Let’s talk about Willie, not . . .

John Spong: That is the perfect spot to spin the song. Let’s go on the road with Willie and Paul, will you do that with me?

Wade Bowen: I would. I love it.

[Willie Nelson singing “Me and Paul”]

John Spong: Mmm.

Wade Bowen: It is crazy, a song . . . we’re listening to it in a different light right now. It is . . . when you listen to it in a different light, a song that you’ve heard a million times, it’s fun to listen to it like this. It’s just, what a great song. I mean, what a great song. I think there’s just not a whole lot of people anymore writing like that, writing songs like that, writing about just what’s going on around you, just what’s happening. Just things that are . . . just grabbing stuff just happening around you, anymore. And I’m guilty of that too. I mean, it is just a timeless thing that so many of those guys around that era just did so well. Just writing about their lives and putting it into great melodies. And they were so good at that. We don’t do that enough, and I’m guilty of it as well. It’s just so, so great. Wow. Such a great. . . . So what’s your favorite line? I assume you want to hear my favorite line?

John Spong: Yeah. Well, I got a couple, because it’s like, one, well, the language in it is kind of formal. I mean, to me it’s like a Tom T. Hall song, almost.

Wade Bowen: Oh, yeah. Very much. Yeah.

John Spong: And the language, it’s like a . . . country, especially up until that point, until Kristofferson, and Tom T. Hall, and Mickey Newbury, and some others, the language was very plainspoken. Not to critique that one little bit. But with this: “After taking several readings, I’m surprised to find my mind still fairly sound.” That’s elevated a little bit. “We received our education in the cities of the nation.” I was thinking about, because I know you’re a Guy Clark fan, it reminds me a little of the way I’ve always thought of Guy’s song, “Heartbroke,” because the language in that song, where he says, “We all have feelings that need a softer touch . . . the human condition continues as such.” That’s like, that’s not typical country music songwriting from once upon a time. So all of that stuff gets me. But then I guess to maybe actually answer your question, my favorite line is, “I guess Buffalo ain’t geared for me and Paul.” I love the word “geared” right there, and he just takes it from that . . .

Wade Bowen: I love it.

John Spong: . . . elevated language to such common, just the way folks talk. It’s just wonderful. But your favorite line?

Wade Bowen: I love it. My favorite line has always been, “If you’re staying in a motel room there and leave, just don’t leave nothing in your clothes.” That always made me laugh so hard, because I’ve stayed at so many of those places. And I’ve always, especially early in my career, you think, man, I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I have laughed at that line, and thought of that line, as I’m checking into a hotel room and going, “Oh man, Willie, I get it. I understand.”

John Spong: That’s right.

Wade Bowen: I love that line.

John Spong: Well, that’s the thing. It does, it feels like a Tom T. Hall song, but there weren’t a whole lot of Tom T. Hall songs about smoking dope and getting hammered.

Wade Bowen: Yeah, for sure. I never thought about that. That’s very much a Tom T. Hall song. That’s a great, great way to put it. Yeah, what a great song. Wow. It’s fun to listen to it in this light. Yeah. Thanks for playing that. It’s really cool.

John Spong: Oh yeah. And it’s also interesting that when you talk about how he’s pulling from his own life. I think his songs up to this point, like the heartbreak songs . . . they would be from his own life, but it’d be more generalized. And there is something here that’s wonderful about, I mean, this is like a day in the life. This song has reporting in it, more or less, but that’s kind of your point. It makes me think of your song, “Before the Walls Were Blue.” That was a very personal, with very specific details, [song] about something that matters to you.

Wade Bowen: Yeah. I think I’ve always tried to be as open-diary as possible with my writing. I think it’s important. It’s important for me, I would say. I guess it’s not important for everybody, and I don’t think that it has to be, I don’t think every artist needs to unveil all their deepest, darkest secrets in order to be great. But I think that’s something that was really important to me. And I think that was important to lot of my heroes, like Guy Clark, from listening to his stuff and listening to everything he talked about that was really important to him. So I just kind of felt, “Okay, well, if it’s important to him, I guess I better dive deep.”

And I don’t know, I just always feel like, for me, writing-wise, if I’m not going as deep as I can, then I’m not doing the song enough justice. And so, I feel like even with this song, the song sounds simple. And you brought it up, you said it sounds simple. But I think that’s kind of the genius part of it is if you can make it . . . the simplicity of the melody and the simplicity of the song is actually really hard to do because you feel, as a writer, you’re being cheesy, and you feel as a writer you’re not being clever, and you’re not being good enough. So it’s hard to write these kinds of songs. And so you have to fight yourself on these things and convince yourself that it’s good. Does that make sense?

John Spong: Yeah.

Wade Bowen: And I love the simplicity of it. That’s actually the genius part of it. It’s beautiful.

[Willie Nelson singing “Me and Paul”]

John Spong: And so, do you know the album it’s on well, Yesterday’s Wine?

Wade Bowen: No. I listened to more of it from the Wanted! The Outlaws record, from my dad. My dad wore that record out. It’s kind of crazy. Growing up, my influences as a kid were all over the place because I had two older sisters. I had a sister that was twelve years older than me, and I had a sister that was nine years older than me. And then I had my mom and my dad. And my mom listened to—so my two older sisters were all in on eighties and nineties country, mainstream commercial stuff. So they were constantly dragging me to all that stuff, Alabama and Vince Gill and George Strait and Garth Brooks, and all that stuff. And then my mom was huge on Elvis and the Eagles and all that stuff, as well. And then my dad was all in on Willie Nelson and Waylon and Guy Clark. And so you have this crazy flood of influences all over the place, right?

As a kid, I mean, I’m six years old with those influences all throughout the house and getting in the truck or the car with all of them was just like, “Who am I supposed to be listening to here?” And I just remember Willie. . . . So, I guess the point of bringing that up is when I actually got a little bit older and started diving into songwriting, that’s when I really dove into Guy Clark and the Willie side of things, and really developed my appreciation for my dad, who can’t clap in rhythm, or can’t sing a note—at all. And Robert Earl Keen became a huge influence. My dad showed me him, and that’s when I really dove into it, to a lot of his stuff. And I kind of went back and had more appreciation for what my dad was trying to play for me.

And so, yeah, that’s my dad. He was the influence of all this stuff and just loved . . . wore the Outlaws record out, wore Shotgun Willie, that record, out. He loved that. I just remember those records growing up, for sure.

John Spong: Okay. Yeah, that’s it. Because I’ve read or I’ve seen you in interviews say for a long time, because you are . . . I’m about ten years older than you, so I’m listening to nothing but radio country through the eighties. And Willie’s on it, then. But it’s still, it’s not the seventies stuff, it’s different. But I’d heard you say that when you’re growing up, for an appreciable amount of time, you thought of Willie as your dad’s music. And so that wasn’t going to necessarily be your bag when you’re a kid or a teenager or whatever.

Wade Bowen: No, yeah, I didn’t think much of it. Because my sisters and my mom were dragging me to the concerts. It wasn’t my dad. And so they were dragging me to all the eighties concerts, all the nineties country concerts. I mean, think about the nineties, country music was massive. All that stuff was just so huge at the time. And so that’s the stuff they were taking me to see and go. And that’s such an influential time for anybody, when you’re thinking about that age of thirteen years old to nineteen. That’s the prime time for any person in their lives when they’re going to really hit that, that’s what they’re going to take for them the rest of their lives.

And so I was pretty lucky to have all of them kind of playing me different kinds of music, and I was pretty willing to soak it all up. My dad just wasn’t, he wasn’t really—I wouldn’t say my dad’s super passionate about music. He’s a golf guy, he’s dragging me around to golf courses. But then when I got into college, when I started to really start diving into writing, was when it clicked with me, it was like, “Wait, no, no, these guys are the writers. I want to go over here and listen to more. . . . What are they really writing about? What’s going on?” And so I really dove into it a lot. 

John Spong: Well, it’s interesting because in the late eighties, that was kind of lean for Willie. If he was on the radio, it was listening to one of the golden oldies stations or classic country station. Because there was a period there, late eighties to early nineties, where there weren’t any hits. And then he has this resurrection in the early nineties—that’s almost like a rock thing. He just kind of transcended everything at that point. But it’s interesting, because I’ve heard you talk about how it was all mainstream country, it was radio country, until you get to Lubbock, and you went to see Robert Earl Keen when you were at Tech, and it was like, “Oh, wow, this is poetry. And this is a guy that’s doing it in Texas, too.” And you’ve talked about that as being really formative. And it’s interesting to me, because Willie is one of the rare artists that’s kind of got a foot in both camps. He’s a mainstream radio star and a poet.

Wade Bowen: Yeah. I guess I never thought of it that way. I never looked at Willie as a mainstream star to me. Because he is. But I just always thought of Willie as just Willie. Willie, he just does it all. It’s like, Willie fits in hip-hop. He fits in everything. He’s just the ultimate everything guy. I mean, I don’t know. Willie is mainstream, he’s definitely a poet, and he’s all of those things. And so I just think he’s influenced me in every part of that for sure. And so, yeah, I had the mainstream thing growing up, and then I saw Robert Earl, who literally did change my life. I mean, as far as what I was going to do, he changed my whole direction, I would say.

I tell everybody, I literally thought I was going to have to move to Nashville. I just didn’t know anything different. I didn’t know there was another path in country music. I was an eighteen-year-old kid who, the only thing I’d ever heard in my life for country music was—I thought I was going to have to move to Nashville and be a songwriter. And I didn’t even know you could get paid to write songs. I didn’t know any of that stuff. I thought I was just going to have to move out there and write and work on songs and wait my turn, waiting tables and do all that stuff and wait my turn. And that’s all I’d had ever heard.

And then I saw Robert Earl, in concert, in Lubbock, when I was in school, and I was like, “What? I’m going to go do that. That’s exactly what I want to go do, right now.” And I literally went out and found some friends and started a band literally in my garage, a garage band, and started playing. I mean, immediately. I was like, “That’s what I want to go do. I don’t want to go sit around and wait. I’m going to go start writing songs right now and do that.” And then later on I found out . . . someone called me from Nashville, my friend Alicia, she’s actually managing me now, which is hilariously ironic. But she called me and said, “Hey, did you know that you can get paid to write songs? And I want to sign you to a publishing deal.” And I was like, “What? No, I didn’t know you can make money writing songs.” We were clueless.

And I think I heard those stories too, from Bruce Robison and Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell and all those guys. None of us knew that stuff growing up. And I’m sure there’s probably some seventeen-year-old kid that’s going to be listening or watching this, that’s going to hear this for the first time too, and go, “What? I didn’t know you could get paid to write songs.” It’s the beauty of it. So anyway, back to Willie. . . . Yeah, he influences all of that too, as well, for me. Because with that transition of it all, I started really diving into the songwriting process at that time too, because I just started buckling down and diving into the poets, of why they wrote what they wrote, and [if] I wanted to be a songwriter better, how do I craft this stuff and how do I get better? And he was a huge part of that.

[Willie Nelson singing “Me and Paul”]

John Spong: And so, when you figure that out with Willie, when he kind of goes from being a voice you hear on the radio in the truck, or in the golf cart with your dad, and you realize that there’s art there, where do you go? I mean, what were some of the songs? And do you deconstruct them? How do you study, or have you studied . . . I don’t want to be presumptuous, how do you study a Willie song? Or have you?

Wade Bowen: Well, I think with any songs I listened to just how he put them together with the simple intros, and verses, and choruses, and the lyrics. How he’s rhyming the schemes differently. If he’s putting bridges, how he’s putting the choruses together. If he’s starting with a chorus, why is he starting with this chorus? Just all those things. Back then, I was so clueless on it at all. 

And of course with Willie, there was so much guitar work as well, which I still, to this day, I’m not a great guitar player. So there was a lot of that, like, “Oh man, that’s way too complicated for my dumb ass.” But there was “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.” I loved that, because I just loved how he constantly did the walk-ups. He kind of chose differently, he didn’t do it all the time, it was like, “Why is he doing that in different spots?”

Well, the Red Headed Stranger album, actually, I dove into that because I was obsessed with why he would do a concept record. Like, why would he put together a concept record and why did he want to? And I loved how he did little bits and pieces, short segments, “Time of the Preacher,” I was like, “Man, that’s my favorite melody on the entire record.” I wanted him to do the whole song, [singing] “The time of the preacher,” Like, “Man, that’s the prettiest melody on the whole record.” But I just love the fact that he put the whole album together and then, with the movie and everything . . . it’s just like, I mean, I can’t imagine having that much time and thought to put in. I think about doing a whole concept record now, and I’m like, I don’t think I have the capacity to even try that. But I dove into that record heavily, because I thought it was just absolutely brilliant. When he walks in and shoots ’em in the bed, I’m like, “Oh my gosh. Yes. So good.”

John Spong: Well, it’s weird because—I do not say this to diminish that album in any way—but it’s practically a covers album. So many of the songs are things he didn’t write, but he had come up with this story he wanted to tell based on a couple of songs. And so he stitches it together, writes a couple of his own, and creates this singular, unprecedented thing for country music.

Wade Bowen: And I mean, it’s crazy to just, yeah, and the freedom of that time, to actually do it and pull it off and to be so mainstream successful too. People try to compare, or not people—some people talk about what we are doing in Texas nowadays, with running around, playing shows and everything, and they go, “Oh, it’s Willie and Waylon Day.” And I’m like, “No, those guys were selling millions and millions of records having number one hits. These things were massive, massive, commercially successful hits. This is nothing compared to what was going on then.” And I think people forget, I mean, how successful this stuff was. It wasn’t just country music. It was massively popular. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Wanted! The Outlaws record, wasn’t that the first ever platinum-selling record—

John Spong: Country album? Oh, yeah. And “Luckenbach, Texas” was a top-ten pop hit, for Waylon and Willie together, and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” I think went to twenty-one—

Wade Bowen: That was number one. Yeah.

John Spong: Yeah, that hadn’t happened—

Wade Bowen: It was massively commercial-successful stuff, which is, I think people forget that too, that it wasn’t just popular. It was huge. And that stuff is crazy to think about. Nowadays, especially with the streaming services and everything, there’s a song put out and then people forget it and move on to the next one very quickly. I mean, we’re talking about [a] concept album that people just . . . was a mainstream success. That’s pretty amazing. 

John Spong: So, it ties in with that. If I can . . . so grateful for you coming on to talk about all this stuff. If I can give one thing back, you gotta find Yesterday’s Wine, the album that this is on. Because it’s a concept record from four years before Red Headed Stranger, and it has got to be the weirdest country album ever made. It’s beautiful to listen to, but it’s 1971, and just . . . when I did one of these with Willie’s daughter Amy, she talked about how her dad mentioned the album Yesterday’s Wine when she was a kid, or not that long ago, even. She said she didn’t know it. And he was like, “Sweetheart, that’s my most important album.” And that’s Willie’s take.

Wade Bowen: Really?

John Spong: And so the deal was really, yeah, Nashville hadn’t worked out. He had come back to Texas and he had all this doubts and all this . . . it just wasn’t working. “Why doesn’t anybody like me? Why aren’t my records selling? Why can’t I accomplish what I’m trying to? Am I not as good as I’m trying to be? What do I do?” And he was asking all these questions, but then he turned them all into prayers, kind of. And hymns. And it all comes back to his faith. So his faith in God gives him faith in himself. So it is this concept record about how God is sending imperfect man to walk the earth, and Willie is imperfect man doing it.

Wade Bowen: I’m broke down in Nebraska, and I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon listening to this record. [Editor’s note: In a follow-up, Bowen said they’d actually broken down in Iowa.] Thank you, you gave me something to do. I mean, I’m serious. Thank you very much, because I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon listening from top to bottom. I appreciate it.

John Spong: It is intense and it is wonderful.

Wade Bowen: Yeah, thank you.

John Spong: And what those session musicians must have thought in Nashville when he came in and said, “Let’s do this.” But all that said, the music is beautiful. There’s no reason not to listen to it. It’s just great. 

[Willie Nelson singing “Let Me Be a Man”]

John Spong: When you were talking about the Texas scene, I was thinking about that a lot, because I’ve heard you say that one of the great things about Texas and the Texas music scene is that you can make a living playing here. And there aren’t other states like that. And the fact is, that’s what Willie did. When he left Nashville, “S—, I’m going home.” The scene was there, and it’s kind of cool because for all the influence he’s had, that was the scene making Willie possible, and not the other way around.

Wade Bowen: Right. Well, yeah, it’s crazy if you think about it. What he started, I mean, I would say that he’s created what’s going on now. I would think it’s fair to say that he was that group of guys at that time period, right? Him and Jerry Jeff and those guys. I mean, I wasn’t around. I’m sure there was more to it, maybe. I don’t know. The stories I’ve heard was, Armadillo Headquarters was the reason we’re doing what we do, correct? I mean—

John Spong: Well, yes and no. Because yeah, that’s a great way to split the hair, honestly. Because the singer-songwriter element of it and all that, and what you do, yeah. There is the idea too though, that Asleep at the Wheel moved to Austin because they weren’t going to be able to get gigs as a Western swing band but one night every other month in San Francisco. But in Texas, they were going to be able to go someplace every weekend. And so there was that love of Texas music. But I like the way you split it. Because the poetry part of it, that goes directly to Murphey and Jerry Jeff and Willie and B. W. Stevenson and Willis Alan Ramsey, what those guys were doing in Austin and the rest of the state in the seventies. You’re right.

Wade Bowen: Yeah. Well, and my point is, we’re still doing it, which is crazy. But I’ve just thought about this a lot during COVID, when we got shut down, because our minds were all over the place. “What’s going to happen? What’s going to happen on the other side of this?” And I was just telling people, I was like, “What’s scary to me is that we’ve been in a scene that’s been playing a part of . . . we’re the only place really in the world that’s had a music scene for over fifty years, and we’ve been able to play and survive playing a scene that we can stay here and literally never leave.”

I mean, I’m playing up here in Nebraska and Kansas and Iowa and stuff this week, because I want to, and I love playing up here, and I play all over the world because I want to. But we could just stay in Texas and make a great living. That is a true statement. And that is something that nobody else in the world has. It is a legit music scene, and we’ve had it for over fifty, well, I guess it’d be over fifty years now. And that is a crazy thought, right? I mean, if you think about that, that is a crazy statement. And that goes back to Willie. I mean, not giving him the single credit, like you said, but he’s obviously a huge, massive, massive part of that. And I hope he understands how we feel about that. I mean, I’m getting to do an interview with you, right now . . . I’m getting to make a living, right now because he’s a huge, massive part of that, and I hope he understands how cool that is.

John Spong: I was even going to say, I just know from getting to meet people in Willie World that he does listen to these every now and then, and I wondered if you want to throw anything out to him, and that was a good one.

Wade Bowen: Well, I’d say thank you, Willie. I mean, it means the world. I love playing music, and I don’t know where I would be. I don’t know if I would’ve . . . if I hadn’t seen Robert Earl and I would’ve gone to Nashville, and I don’t know if I would’ve ever been good enough to do the major label thing, or I did have a major record deal for about ten minutes, and it was fun. But regardless, I love my life and love what I get to do, and thanks for showing us the way and giving us a chance to have this wonderful, wonderful life to playing music. It’s been a great . . .

John Spong: That’s cool.

Wade Bowen: . . . great, great life, man.

John Spong: Yeah.

Wade Bowen: Thanks for showing us the way.

John Spong: You’ve got two boys: Brock and Bruce?

Wade Bowen: Yep.

John Spong: Do they think Willie is their dad’s music?

Wade Bowen: Well, my oldest son, he doesn’t listen to country at all, so I don’t know where I lost him. He’s a great kid, but he listens to what he thinks is more advanced music, so I’ll have to get him to come around someday. My younger one, he listens to it all. So he’s all in on country music. But he hasn’t quite turned the corner on the Willie train yet, so I’ll have to get him. He’ll do the same as I did when he starts diving into the writing side of stuff. He’s a drummer right now, so—

John Spong: He can be forgiven a lot.

Wade Bowen: Actually, I need to get him on the “Me and Paul” train. That’s what I need to get him, to show him this song and be like, “Hey, maybe this will change your mind.”

[Willie Nelson singing “Me and Paul”]

John Spong (voice-over): All right, Willie fans. That was Wade Bowen talking about “Me and Paul.” A huge thanks to him for coming on the show, a big thanks to our sponsor, Still Austin craft whiskey, and a big thanks to you for tuning in. If you dig the show, please subscribe, maybe tell a couple friends, and visit our page at Apple Podcasts and give us some stars. Oh, and please also check out our One by Willie playlist at Apple Music.

Be sure to tune in next week to hear Willie’s first born, daughter Lana Nelson, talk about the song “Red Headed Stranger,” and the way that her dad’s career-changing—and industry-changing!—1975 version of it was the first time she thought a song on one of his records sounded the way he’d sung it to her as a little girl at bedtime.

We’ll see you guys next week.