Two Country Music Legends in Carthage, Meeting Fans and Remembering the Past. - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/29/03 - Carthage

Two Country Music Legends in Carthage, Meeting Fans and Remembering the Past.

East Texas is known for it's lakes, it's trees, and it's roses.  But, it also has some of the most loyal country music fans in the world.

And for two legends of country, East Texas is where they honor their own. Willie Nelson and Ray Price visited the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage Tuesday, and says East Texas has meant a lot to their careers.

"There are a lot of places almost as pretty as East Texas, but it's too cold." says Ray Price.

It's the place where the fan's love never cools. Willie and Ray meet the most loyal, young and old. They're here as the Hall of Fame honors Tex Ritter.

"I'm happy to see this, it's really going to be nice," Price says.

All this as Willie gets a little older, turning 70 Tuesday.

"Roger Miller always said I was about 20 minutes ahead of my time, so I'm 70 years and 20 minutes right now," Willie says.

But for both these legends, things never really change.  Ray was born in East Texas, and some of Willie's fondest memories are here, playing Longview's Rio Palm Isle.

"That's one of the most fun places to play, and I've played for I don't know how many years now, and I've always liked to go to Rio."

Willie trimmed trees in Tyler, Gladewater, Kilgore. But remembers those towns now for different reasons.

"In Tyler, if you wanted a beer, you had to go to Kilgore or Gladewater to get it, so we all took off." Reporter: "Things haven't changed."  Willie: "Things haven't changed? You mean they still do that in Tyler? I'll be damned."

Willie and Ray will keep traveling, and the fans here make it all worth the while.

"When you travel as much as I have, there's really a difference," Ray says.

Willie responds, "You have to go a long way to find any more hard-core people than this part of the world."

And when they pass back through, a new generation will say "thanks."

The Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage will be inducting three new members in August. They are Johnny Bush, Lefty Frizzell, and Willie Nelson's friend... Kris Kristofferson.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.

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